Monday, June 15, 2015

#10natlparksorbust 2015 {Part 2}

#10natlparksorbust {Part 1}  here

With full tummies compliments of Cafe Diablo, we began our trek to our cabin nestled between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.  How can you go wrong with the setting between two such amazing places?  

It was a great location and a quiet place to come home to after long days out.

This bakery was an anchor of the little village and a great place to get a treat-- or two.

Okay so another canyon--- and we haven’t even made it to the Grand Canyon.  I cannot explain it but EVERY place just made us stand and gawk.  I mean, I wondered at each stop would the Grand Canyon be “grand” and “amazing” enough to wow us like all of these did.  EVERY place held its own.

Yeah.  I know.

I was always glad when these pictures were OVER.  “Just walk slowly back towards me, darlin’. Slowly.”

Looking down into the canyon, the lure of going down in it won out and down we went.  Every step down I thought of every step UP.

It was beautiful from the bottom.

While Jeff and Brighton rode bikes in the park {We didn’t carry bikes on a bike rack ALL the way out there, looking like cool cycling people, and NOT ride bikes.} Julia and I rode around to see more of the park.

Julia and I found some pretty aspen trees while we waited.

We picked B up so Jeff could ride longer.  We mapped a trail and took off-- for a little too long.  {Sorry, Jeff!}

Again, you can tell these were taken late in the day.  Our time was short so we tried to make the most of it.  But we also found out if you stay late, you see things like this.

Since we stayed MUCH later than we had anticipated, we were ravenous for food.  We literally had downed our sandwiches by like 10:30 am and then lived off granola the rest of the day.  We saw this, screeched our tires into the parking lot and inhaled burgers and fries-- despite our cool bike rack, our Chacos and B’s Patagonia hat.  We are carnivores, not granola heads.

The massiveness of this place was the most impressive.

We all spent A LOT of time doing this.  Everywhere we went. {Like Jeff’s monogrammed back pack?}

Zion has a nice lodge-- no picture-- with rooms to rent, shops and restaurants-- and an ice cream shop.  {Notice his Jr. Ranger BADGES- plural.}

We got a kick out of this sign.  People who “know these parts” won’t be quite as amused but the combination fascinated us.  

We were able to pace ourselves a little better at Zion.   Jeff planned to stay here 2 days because he had heard so many great things about it.  GREAT PLAN.  We spent the first day exploring and seeing the park and then after a little research, we were able to decide what we wanted to do the next day.

We decided to climb Angel’s Landing.  A little information on it:

The Angels Landing Trail is one of the most famous and thrilling hikes in the national park system. Zion's pride and joy runs along a narrow rock fin with dizzying drop-offs on both sides. The trail culminates at a lofty perch, boasting magnificent views in every direction. Rarely is such an intimidating path so frequented by hikers. One would think that this narrow ridge with deep chasms on each of its flanks would allure only the most intrepid of hikers. Climbers scale its big wall; hikers pull themselves up by chains and sightseers stand in awe at its stunning nobility. The towering monolith is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Southwest.

Distance- 5 miles
Elevation Gain- 1488 ft
Peak- 5785 ft

-From Zion’s website

This should make you laugh-- or at least smile.  Doesn’t this look fun?!?!?  But we did this a lot.  It was HOT and UPHILL.  However, we were determined.  Well, at least 3 of us were.  {one not pictured}

Brighton will go down in the Sanders’ Family History books saying this was the dumbest thing we ever did.  Maybe he’s right but it was thrilling and SUCH A GREAT MEMORY.

Possibly angels?  Brighton is a camel.  Even since he was a toddler.  Sometimes when I’d awaken him in the morning, he’d be limp like an impatien in the afternoon sun but with a cup of water, he’d spring back to life.  Well, we didn’t take enough water --- for HIM.  He guzzled his 2 bottles in the first 15 minutes.  After announcing how thirsty he was every time a group walked by AND praying out loud that Jesus would provide him with some water, these two stopped and gave him all the water he wanted.  Seriously.  Angels.

Here we are maybe half way up, having a family pow wow of "are we going to the top?”  Or maybe the pow wow of convincing one of the team it would be worth it?  Or maybe bribing took place?  NBA 2K15? {Notice the Jr. Ranger Badge.  Just one today.}

The bribe worked and here’s the top.

The way down was just as adventurous and the scenery seemed new from a different angle.

Brighton “scooted” down as much as he could.  He was a different kid coming down having accomplished something that had scared him so much.

His shorts were different too--worn down to his undies.  Jeff’s got caught on one of the chains so they were a pair.

One last look at Zion......

Zion -- CHECK

Conversation-- Young man, “Can we take a picture of your car?”
Me, “Sure.  Can I make a picture of you making a picture of my car?”

We started at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED-- even with seeing some gargantuan canyons.

We knew then why it was called “Grand”.

The North Rim was our favorite.  There is a large and lovely lodge built out of stone-- looking just like you might imagine it- on the canyon with a massive porch with Adirondack chairs all around.  I could have stayed all afternoon just taking all of that in.  So instead of the toe/leg picture with the beach in the distance, Julia and I made this shot.

You get a glimpse of the lodge in this picture.  What a setting!

Brighton got right to work on his Junior Ranger Badge. ; )

We took a mule ride around the canyon -- just our speed.

But it was a LITTLE nerve wracking on a MULE this close to the canyon.

Our camp site on the North Rim

Jeff was in charge of dinner and it was DE-LISH.

You can see in the background where the canyon drops off.  I would NOT stay here if I were prone to sleep walking.

Happy Day.

View from the camp site.

It’s just big y’all.

The South Rim

Pretty phenomenal

We “rode the rim” seeing views that threatened to stop us every few feet.

This guy even smiled for the camera.

 Our campsite wasn’t near as picturesque on the South Rim but the kids were pretty cute.

B is buried under all that somewhere.  And “Longie” looks like he has had the longest night ever.  He’s just had it.

Sleeping on the ground in tents is NOT for lightweights.  Jeff and I are lightweights.  Since this was our second night of camping, we slept fantastic since we were so exhausted from not sleeping the first night.

S’mores for breakfast.  Made perfect sense to me.

Just call me Mountain Momma.

Park number 9--- Didn’t need much time here but I am glad at least I know what petrified wood is.

Close up-- looks like wax

Notice the Junior Ranger badge.  AND his Angel’s Landing shirt.

The historic Route 66 once ran through this park.

Julia was intrigued by the petroglyphs in a couple of other parks so Jeff saw this and surprised her with one more stop.

10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Woooohooooo!!!!

This place was hard to photograph.  It was interesting going DOWN instead of UP to see these amazing caverns.  It’s just mind boggling-- all of this beauty UNDER the earth’s surface.

More Junior Ranger “work” I liked.

Loved this nest.  It’s still the little things....

Checking off the last box.

S’mores for breakfast, noises from the Chinese man, “Is there something behind us?”, Jeff’s scorpion bite, hiking Angel’s Landing, watching a movie in the tent, finding ALL but one of the 50 STATES’ license plates, Brighton praying for water,  Julia being made for hiking, meeting man from the Briarlake area, thinking we could not take another step, listening to the “come back from the dead” story from a rodeo clown from Texas, the incredible weather, finding that my iPhone had slid off the console into my coffee, buying rice immediately and needing it for drying out the kids’ phone less than 5 hours later, riding the rim of the Grand Canyon, the squirrel eating B’s sandwich, Jeff not being able to hold his Air Heads, the way a mattress felt after 2 nights of camping, meeting the niece of my first grade teacher at the Petrified Forest, Julia and Brighton NOT ONCE complaining about getting out to make the picture by the sign, meeting so many kind people and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in America.

We won’t forget this trip.  I am not sure we will ever top this one.  Oh, we may go to more exotic places and even see more beautiful things-- but the ages of our kids, their excitement, the adventure of seeing everything for the first time together.... it was just a great trip.  Thanks, Jeff, for planning something special.  Where to next?!?!


Alyssa said...

Absolutely incredible! So grateful you finished posting part 2 of this great adventure!

Emily said...

Cannot believe that I am just now reading all of this. Favorite quote was about you all not being granola heads. HA! Also, there's some stories here that I haven't yet heard! Will have to make a date to tell stories soon...