Our planned Beatty family camping trip fell through the cracks this year, much to everyone's disappointment. But Matt being who he is was able to whip up another to accommodate every single person in the family and wash away the old "it's too far!", "i don't have enough money!", "i can't get enough time off work!", and so on. He shortened and moved it closer to a place where he doesn't need a map to know where we're going..... our own backyard - southern Utah!!! (thanks be to Adie and her infectious enthusiasm for wanting to come here, and helping set the itinerary.)
We started off in Snow Canyon State Park. And much to everyone's surprise and delight it was not a million degrees when we woke to the desert sun.
My little mountain goats climbed up to the pioneer names, I think being so high up was starting to sink in with Bell.
While I was all the way down there - a little freaky.
We roamed the very surreal petrified sand dunes. And though it was all fun and no work the sun was now shining at full force which just seemed to zap any energy we had. Everyone was beet red.
In our heat-delirious state we decided to concur and select what seemed at the time like the hottest hike of all time. Up the remains of an old volcano, covered in black lava rock.
making our way around the rim
Orion was quite disappointed to find that there was no fiery hot lava bubbling away in the center of the cinder cone.
blistering hot Ade and Bella at the top!
Our next stop - the cool, wet, Virgin River in Zion National Park. I don't think any of us have ever looked so forward to water before. We were lusting for it and eyeing it the whole drive in.
The sweet water woke us right up and brought us back to life.
The sun may have had lasting effects on these three though.
and then they decided to make a puzzle
Our trip in Zion seemed to center around water. Emily and Joey, at Weeping Rock. You can't tell but there were boatloads of people. So to kiss the crowds goodbye we went to our friends' "secret swimming hole."
a cool hidden green gem all to ourselves
Heather and I taking flight for a moment
As soon as the first person jumped in Bella knew she wanted to also. Problem was, she was also very afraid. We all encouraged her but she didn't budge. And then she cried. So I told her to forget it and move on already. She refused and when we least expected it she yelled "I'm going!" and ran and jumped!!!
which also caused this guy to big brother up
Chillin and living the dream.... until the "secret swimming hole" became not so secret. But it was a marvelous thing to have for a while.
youngest to ...
... oldest. We had an awesome time. But awesome or not, it was time to move along.
We moved on to Red Canyon on our way in to Bryce. This was the first place where we were able to get a double site. We celebrated by preparing loads of food and a game of trivia (thanks of course to Heather and her love of trivia, and Jarom provided the amazing information from his National Geographic Kids magazines)!!
cute couples unite!! Em and Joey
Heather and Darin
Mikie and Amber
girls at Fairyland Point
starting our first hike in Bryce Canyon National Park
The earth's first artist - the earth itself. Orange and blue complement and contrast each other equally.
Down we go, through Wall Street
making sure we don't leave Papa in the dust
feeling so small, at the bottom looking up at these huge defiant Douglas firs stretching up out of the abyss
I want to keep a little orange dust in my pocket, doesn't it look so magical?
feeling like we entered a Dr. Seuss book
And all the way back at the top, you just can't get enough of the view.
We had two nights at a double site in Kodachrome Basin State Park. We came in with the full moon.
another desert (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument) and another swimming hole - Lower Calf Creek Falls
thank you heaven, I have been blessed
The hike in was ever so hot and long. But we stayed and played long enough to be able to enjoy the hike back, naming flowers and finding old Indian ruins and rock art.
A lonely side trail to the hard-to-reach (and hard-to-find) Hundred Hands pictograph panel. Quite a sight. I wish I knew the story behind it ...
Our last day was mostly driving, but before hitting the road we went out, WAY out to Grosvenor Arch in the middle of the monument.
Everyone followed us home, where hot showers and real beds awaited. Darin was sweet enough to play the Wii with the kids, and they didn't mind that he was half asleep.
Can't wait till we are all together again. To see what other adventures we can dream up.