Jun 30, 2015

Uniquely Utah

We have never before been to Utah.  We were pleasantly surprised by the unique beauty of the land. I expected a desert terrain and ecosystem.  There was plenty of that but it also had beautiful mountains and lush greenery.  We spent the week with our dear friends, the Thompsons.  We've sort of been following them around the country and wherever they move, we come visit.  They can't shake us off that easy.  Friendships like theirs don't come around very often.  When you find something that valuable you treasure it.  This is our way of treasuring them.  We spent a full, glorious week with this special family exploring all Utah has to offer.

There was Wes.  This adorable toddler kept us in stitches the whole time.

We went to Park City where the 2002 Olympics were held.  They had
a fantastic ropes course that the kids all enjoyed.

Even Chloe put her American Ninja Warrior skills to the test.

At the end of the ropes course you had to zip-line your way back down.

Neither of my kids seemed to mind.

We had quite a lot of picnics - which we love.

These pictures show the changing landscape as we drove
from Salt Lake City 5 hours south to Zion National Park.

The variety of the landscape and the beauty held me in awe.

I never before saw such beauty in the desert ecosystem.

Our final destination.  We had never heard of this amazing place.
It is only 2 hours north of the Grand Canyon and 2 hours east of Las Vegas. 

The Paiute Indians called it Land of the Straight-Up Rock

After our drive we did this short, little, seemingly unknown hike. 

It brought us to this amazing place!

We like to call this "Cliff Jumping."  It was by far one of our most favorite 
activities.  We came here twice and both times it seemed like we were the only ones here.

These cliffs and rocks were a good 15-20 feet high and very steep.  It was so scary jumping
off but the thrill far exceeded the fear.  And it was an awesome reprieve from the 108 degree heat.

The breath-taking views continued to humble us day after day.

Even cacti look beautiful when the lighting is just right.

The Best Hike Ever! This is The Narrows.  The entire hike is through the Virgin River.
We thought hypothermia was going to set in after making our first crossing.  But apparently
we got used to it because we hiked a total of 6 miles in the River and 2 on land getting to and from it.

A perfect little out-cropping in the mountains to hold our gang.

More Narrows.  You are surrounded by sheer cliffs the entire hike. 

Chloe and Esther, new besties, walked hand in hand the entire way back.

Our view during our picnic lunch.  Don't worry, we were under shade.
Bennett feared meeting scorpions and/or rattlesnakes the entire time.
Thankfully, they never crossed our path.

On our last day we hiked the Emerald Pools Trail.

It was only a 269 foot change in elevation, but it was very steep!
And VERY HOT!  I never thought I'd be hiking in 105 degree weather.

But the views were spectacular.

We made it to the Emerald Pond but it looked more like a puddle.
So it didn't quite make it into the picture.

Goodbye Zion.  We can't wait to see you again!

At the condo we rented, each night we played fierce games of Nertz.
We even taught the kids how to play.

You know I had to throw in at least one sunset picture.

And it wouldn't be a vacation if Bennett didn't get to play basketball.
This particular day it was 109 out.  The boys immediately jumped right into the pool.

We toured Temple Square with Wes.

Lucy, Esther and Chloe seemed to bond immediately and enjoy the same
gift of friendship that we share with their parents.

Bennett and Isaac.  This is one cool 5 year old.  

Every single night ended this way - Nertz.  It's our thing.



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