Monday, March 11, 2013

Ultimate Road Trip Day 7: Zion

Come to Zion, come to Zion,
And within her walls rejoice.

This was the most amazing day.  There are no words for the breathtaking vistas, views, canyons, rock formations, and arches in Zion National Park.  I took about 200 pictures today, and they are all perfect, even the ones taken from the car window.  I couldn't stop shooting.  

We stayed at Zion Lodge, which is the only non-camping accommodations inside the park itself.  It was dark when we checked in, so imagine my gasp when I opened the blinds this morning to see this:

We had breakfast in the main lodge's restaurant, then started out our day at the Visitor's Center.  What this actually means is, Ed and the girls gathered maps and information, and read the stuff in the Visitor's Center while I hit the gift shop, and made some savvy purchases.  A sun hat for Poppy, a monocular, a stack of postcards, National Parks DVD set, and three of these thermometer/compass keychains for the girls.

 Best purchases ever, by the way.  The girls checked our direction and temperature all day, and just loved their souvenirs.  

By now it was late morning so we headed to our first hike: Canyon Overlook.  Up the switchbacks, through the Mt. Carmel tunnel, and up the trailhead we went. 


And here was the view at the top:
Worth every step.

Now something to know about our girls is that they love rocks.  They love to collect them, throw them, and most of all climb them.  They are basically never happier than when climbing on big rocks.  Luckily we were able to do a ton of bouldering today.

We had lunch back at the lodge, then, to take advantage of the few hours of sunlight on the green, Ed played chase with the girls while I investigated the lodge gift shop.  Totally different stuff than the Visitor's Center and I had to check it out.  I was very conservative, and only got a few gifts, plus a super nice Tilley hat for Ed. 

In the afternoon we headed out to another hike - easier but longer: Riverwalk.  It followed the Virgin River  up this astounding narrow but high canyon, ending at a rocky sandbar, where, you guessed it, we threw rocks into the water.  They could have done it for hours.


We threw rocks for a long time, but eventually made our way back to the car, with lots and lots of rock climbing on the way.  I had to decide early in the day to not care what happened to their clothes.

We went into Springdale for dinner, a hoppin' joint called Oscar's Cafe.  The kids' menu offerings on the trip are getting tiresome, but we're doing what we can to get some variety and fresh food into them.  We had promised dessert - I forget now what the bribe was for - oh yeah, to get Ginger to go the distance on that last hike - so we walked down the street for ice cream cones.  On the way back I told the girls about a Food Network show I'd seen about a Haagen Dazs ice cream flavor competition, and we all made up flavors.  Hazel: triple fudge with vanilla and caramel swirls.  Ginger: baby ice cream called Bungaroo Cream - banana ice cream with different colored gummy candies in baby shapes like pacifiers and bottles.  Me: Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie ice cream - vanilla pudding ice cream with pieces of pastry crust, a thick fudge swirl, and tiny pieces of fresh banana; must be served with whipped cream.  It was a fun conversation.

We got back, bathed the girls, and they fell asleep very quickly.  It's been kind of fun running them ragged. I will say, they were adequately appreciative of the adventure today.  Many times they, especially Ginger, exclaimed how beautiful it all was, and thank you, thank you for this wonderful trip

This should have been the most exhausting day for me, too, on my feet hiking almost all day without much down time.  I found it strange that I was actually not as tired at 10 p.m. as I have been other days, and this was the first day in five or so that I haven't had a headache.  All day as I soaked in the views, I thought, being here is good for the soul.  I think it's been good for everything.

Daily Report
Miles: N/A
No surprise bag, not a travel day
High Point: Hazel & Ginger - everything.  Poppy - rock climbing.  Ed - Canyon Overlook hike.  Kari - Riverwalk hike.
Low Point: When we thought we'd lost Poppy.  We were on our way back on the Riverwalk, and Ed was rock climbing with the big girls.  I thought Poppy was with him on the other side, but he came around and asked where she was.  We looked all around, then up and down the trail in both directions, calling her name.  I ran along the trail and found her, around a bend, walking precariously along a stone wall, teetering with a 12-foot drop behind her, and smiling at me.  Luckily she lost her balance in favor of the trail, and I scooped her up and rocked her until my heart slowed down.  The look on my face had scared her, so she started to cry, and we just rocked and rocked. 
And for fun, here are just a few more pictures:


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