If you've got the time, here's a tour of our ten-day vacation:
1. Stop One: Las Vegas. The highlight was the waterslide in the hotel pool. Otherwise, we sure were glad to get out of that town! What we saw was like a giant cheesey strip mall filled with cigarette smoke and trashy bad habits.
2. Second stop: Grand Canyon. We picked up the RV in the late afternoon, drove four hours, and reached our campsite in the dark. It was a little stressful driving the RV for the first time, already late on our schedule, in the dark on curvy mountain roads, but the next day made it all worth while. Magnificent!
3. Third stop: Bryce Canyon. We only had one day on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, but since Wyatt wasn't ready yet to ride a mule down into the canyon, I think we got a good introduction. So the next day we drove a couple of hours to Bryce Canyon and, after a fair show of resistence from Wyatt, we hike the Navajo Loop where Wyatt easily hiked his parents into the ground and we all had a great time.
4. Before we left, the forecast was for a week of rain. We'd already committed ourselves to the trip so this was disappointing. Turned out, however, that it rained mostly at night and we only had one day where the weather kept us from seeing all that we might have. This was today, our Bryce Canyon Blues. We still had a great time though.
5. On our way to our next stop, before leaving Bryce Canyon behind, we decided to do the Mossy Cave Trail in a different part of the park. Sure glad we did! What a beautiful start to our day! Then we got on the road, which continued to be breathtaking. We saw Bison on a ranch and met some pretty ponies too.
6. Final Stop: Zion National Park. Breathtaking views of folding strata of scored red rock on the lead up to the tunnel at the East entrance. Up on one wall, we spied big horn sheep and got out of the RV for an extended encounter. Once through the tunnel we continued to oggle the stunning natural beauty, making our way down the canyon to the Visitor Center. Then Wyatt and I capped our afternoon by sharing the Virgin River with a great blue heron. The heron fished, Wyatt played, and I filmed. Notice how clear the water is. A big storm would roll through that evening and for the rest of our stay the river ran caffe au lait.
7. Last two days before our final drive home: Zion's colors are magnificent in the fresh light after a massive storm. The virgin river runs a high murky milk chocolate and everywhere luminous green leaves are back lit against red rock and deep blue sky. We start out to hike for the Emeral Pools the first day, but a landslide has closed the trail after the first pool. instead we head toward Angel's Landing with no intention of actually completing the strenuous hike. We turn back before we get to the first switch back, but still enjoy the elevation and looking down into the river canyon from above. Our final day, we've been saying to hike the Narrows, but signs and audio recordings all over the park warn against flash floods and fatalities and we've just experienced the first rain, a major storm, of the season. Still, Friday the weather is good, which means the hike up the Narrows should be safe, but Thursday night I was feeling very torn. I didn't want to be foolish with the life of my eight-year-old boy. We decided to visit an outfitter to make sure we had the right equipment. Turns out the outfitters, probably for good reason, are great at scaring visitors about the perils of the narrows. I imagine this is also a good way to rent a lot of safety equipment. A 20 minute video followed by questions and answers convinced us, however, not to rent any equipment at all, but rather to give up all thought of the hike. But then, but then, but then... we did the mostly paved River Walk that leads to the start of the Narrows, and when we got there, there were so many people headed off on the hike that Wyatt really wanted to do it. And after all, it looked a lot let scary than the outfitter had made it sound. Ingrid couldn't do it without good shoes because of her knees, but I stripped down to my boxer shorts and decided to sacrifice my only pair of shoes to a good river soak. Fortunately, we had river shoes for Wyatt and people returning from the hike were leaving well chosen walking sticks by the trail for others to use. We each chose and stick and off we went. It turned out to be a wonderful time, adventurous, but never feeling dangerous. Wyatt bubbled over with happiness and pride. We went for a good long hike, but turned around at a responsible point because Mommy would be worrying if we were gone to long. It was the perfect finale for our RV adventure through the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon. We felt very blessed!
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