Finally getting on the road was Super fun! (Well, for most of us, I think it was a little stressful for Philip, navigating this beast down the road..
Woohoo! THIS is the way to travel!
One of the stuffed bears given to Moriah and I from Road Bear =)
Our handsome driver!
Making lunch in the RV for the first time was really fun. =)
At one point, we looked back, and Caleb was napping like this!!
I even got to take a "stretched out" nap on the couch as we drove!
These next two pictures just show how everything looks "tilted" on one part of the trip! Philip said it was sort of disorienting to be driving while seeing everything at that angle..
That afternoon we arrived at our second National Park... ZION!
Family photo with the RV =)
The kids spotted this deer not far from our site and Keenan came back to get the camera.
I love this shot he got! (Look how Huge the ears on it are!!)
First dinner was chili and fritos!
After dinner we did a three mile hike called the Watchman Trail.
Heading out after it had cooled off
Philip and I about half way up
A Zipper lizard
Love this shot of my peeps
Looking back on the trail
There was a Ton of this prickly pear cactus along the way
(Notice the heart-shaped one!)
At the top just after sunset
Keenan had hurt his leg, so waited while we went to the very end of the trail
Love this cutie!
Pretty picture as the sun was going down
Keenan found this Huge spider (tarantula?) while he was waiting for us
It got dark quickly after that, so thankfully, Philip had brought headlamps and flashlights because we wouldn't have found our way down without them!
On the way back to our site, we stopped at a "ranger talk" (this was one of the activities the kids needed to earn their Junior Ranger badge at Zion) and learned a lot of cool things about Elk, Roadrunners, Cougars and Owls. * I forgot to mention it, but they also earned Junior Ranger badges at Death Valley National Park.
Sunday morning Keenan saw another deer and got this shot.
Doesn't he look skinny? :(
After a hot breakfast, we headed to the shuttle and started our day of hiking. We did three hikes that day: Emerald Pools Trail connected to the Kayenta Trail, Weeping Rock Trail, and the Riverside Walk with part of the Narrows at the end.
The Emerald Pools trail had three pools a lower, middle and upper that we reached as we climbed higher and higher. So amazing to see pools of water in such a dry place!
A water fall filling the lower pool
The middle pool
At the upper pool, the walls shot straight up soo high!
Snack and break time in the shade!
Family shot by the pool
Selfie showing the high walls
One of the Many squirrels hanging around, begging for handouts
(it was actually kind of sad how many of the squirrels were fat from eating so much people food)
Headed to the Kayenta trail
Beautiful Zion Canyon!!
Looking the other way
Thumbs up from the littlest hiker
We had lunch at a beautiful spot with bathrooms, picnic table, shade and a cool breeze! We met a sweet older couple (who we later found out were Peter and Lynne) and chatted over lunch. We later got on the same shuttle as them...
Caleb and his friend, Lynne
After lunch we did a short, steep hike to Weeping Rock.
Whew! Enjoying the shade and cool at the top!
If you look closely, you can see the water dripping down behind us
We saw these two deer (the second is in the background by the fallen log) as we were on our way to the shuttle
Next we hiked the Riverside Trail... so beautiful as it follows the river into the canyon...
The trail eventually gets to a place called the Narrows... where the canyon narrows and is mostly filled by the river, with only small patches of land here and there along it... meaning if you want to continue, you have to hike through the water! We took off our socks and hiking boots, tied them onto our packs, donned flip flops or water shoes... and waded in!
It. Was. So. COLD!!!
The first time we crossed, it was such a shock, and I actually found the cold quite painful, and could not reach the other side soon enough! The bottom is quite rocky and uneven, so it makes it a precarious journey, trying not to fall!
On dry land after two crossings. We could have kept going and going, but we opted to head back at this point... it was a great experience, but we really needed better gear to go further.
(We passed our friends, Peter and Lynne coming back as we were heading into the narrows)
Looking farther into the Narrows
Heading back out
(Keenan was soaked to the waist, and Caleb had actually fallen down by this point)
Look how fast the water is flowing!!
Family shot between crossings (I love this one!)
Rinsing shoes, drying feet and putting boots back on at the end
(At this point, Moriah and I headed back while the boys were still getting ready, since Moriah needed to go to the bathroom so badly. The boys saw Peter and Lynne again on the trail, and then Moriah and I saw them at the trail head while we were waiting!) =)
Caleb taking a nap on the shuttle on the way back after (after completing 6-7 miles of hiking!)
Philip and Keenan stopped at the museum, so Moriah took this picture of me carrying Caleb before the three of us trekked back to the RV.
We had our first showers in the RV that night, had dinner, then played Mexican train before bed.
The kid's spacious and comfy sleeping arrangements
Monday morning as Philip got the RV ready to pull out, the kids and I headed to the Visitor's Center to hand in their completed handbooks and get their badges.
On the way, Keenan snapped this shot of Moriah and I <3 p="">
With the Junior Ranger handbooks
Ranger Kelly checking over their books
(Depending on their ages, there are different assignments they have to complete as they travel around the parks, learn facts and see different kinds of wildlife... it's pretty cool actually!)
Taking the Junior Ranger pledge
(This means they promise to protect National parks, help keep wild animals wild, pick up trash, stay on marked trails, "leave no trace", and visit and learn about more National parks)
The Zion badge was wooden (unlike the plastic one from Death Valley) and was really nice!
Goodbye, Beautiful Zion!3>