United States of America · 8 Days · 20 Moments · August 2017

Our Family trip to Utah, AZ and Las Vegas

23 August 2017

The end.

22 August 2017

The first rounds happen here! They are out creating the "stories" you see. While Travis was at his meeting, we walked around town a bit. This bus was at our hotel so we chatted with the driver - Neato! Kids swam for an hour and we took off to get Travis, fight a bit more in the car, and get to the airport. Abby finished her whole summer math packet- and mom left it in the rental car. Oy Vey! Another great time with my favorite people - home sweet home now!

21 August 2017

The 8 mile hike and ATV was a little aggressive on Sunday so we sadly had to cancel Bryce to let people sleep and have some time for shopping - tee shirts and a necklace and a more leisurely day. Caught some of the eclipse, but pretty cloudy in southern UT. It was cool to see all the cars pulled over on the road and people on sidewalks with their glasses on, and everyone looking for the same thing. Big events bring people together. I love that. Made our way to Provo for Travis' meeting. We don't recommend Provo unless you have to be here! Kids swam, walked to a cool spot for a delicious dinner and learned about fry sauce- YUMMY! Flying home today after we pick travis up from his meeting. Thinking we should have the kids go with him to meet the potential customer- surely it would make the meeting end faster....

20 August 2017

ATV tour this afternoon into the Zion backcountry and up to Gooseberry Mesa with Zion Off Road Tours. Our guide Jay was fun and gave us a great tour. He shared the history of Flying Monkey Mesa where the USAF has a secure facility. In the 1950's they tested ejection seats for the new supersonic jets. They would launch the seats on a rocket sled off the 1500' cliffs with a test MONKEY strapped into seat, and the nickname Flying Monkey Mesa was born! The kids all found cool pieces of petrified wood to bring home as souvenirs, tried prickly pear cactus fruit and learned about the geology of the area. Yummy dinner at Oscar's with some tired kiddos. Sadly we are leaving Zion tomorrow am!
Morning hike up Observation Point with the boys, to the top of the park. 8 miles and 2150 vertical to 6521', the payoff view was amazing. Saw mule deer on the way up and big horn sheep on the way down. At the summit, incredible 360 views of the entire canyon below, including Angel's Landing. A 'must do' hike in Zion.

19 August 2017

Back in Zion at the Desert Pearl. Kids are ecstatic with the pool, and the view is not bad either!
What did my middle child learn today??? It is NOT funny to pretend to fall at the Grand Canyon...
Drive to the North Rim was filled with great sights. We drove along the Vermillion Cliffs and back over Glen Canyon. Up into the Kaibab National Forest with Aspen and Ponderosa trees and remains of a large wild fire in 2006. Some beautiful meadows, including one with grazing buffalos. The Grand Canyon was incredible, yet another place out here that photographs simply do not do justice to. In some spots the walls are over a mile high. A great lunch at the Canyon Lodge on the rim and then a drive back to Zion. The drive on the winding Zion Carmel highway was spectacular.
The podcast that drew some laughs, groans and gags was A Dry Look at Toilet Paper from Stuff You Should Know. Suffice it to say, count the invention of toilet paper in your blessings...
En route to The Grand Canyon, North Rim. Scenic and if kids weren't fighting, it could be peaceful too! Highlights of the fights include bananas, a dot on the windshield as the answer to 20 questions, and of course, whose leg is taking up too much room on the seats...

18 August 2017

Afternoon raft trip down the Colorado River In Glen Canyon with walls 1000 feet high. We departed just below Glen Canyon Dam after busing down to the river in a 2 mile tunnel inside the canyon wall. The water in the river flows from the very bottom of Lake Powell and is a chilly 47 degrees year round! We drifted down to Horseshoe Bend, a few of us went for a very quick swim, then back up to the dam. Dinner here in Page at Slackers and off to the Grand Canyon tomorrow.
Drove down to Lake Powell AZ for the Lower Antelope slot canyon. These canyons form over millions of years of erosion in the middle of the desert. Crowded for sure, they take 2000 people through a day, but a fun tour through a very unique place. The colors and shapes of the canyons were amazing, very popular with photographers.

17 August 2017

After the Narrows, wrapped up Thursday with short hikes to Weeping Rock and the Emerald Pools. Zion is spectacular!
More from The Narrows today in Zion. Hiked about 2.5 hours in, past Orderville and into Wall Street. Water was chilly and about knee deep in some spots. The canyon gets very narrow, maybe only 20' wide in places and not much sunshine. Glad we went early (first shuttle 6am) as the crowds were really picking up when we returned around noon. Incredible hike and experience. Zion is beautiful.
Up early for The Narrows today at Zion, amazing hike. It is at the far end of the canyon where it becomes the most narrow. About 1 mile hike in to where you step into the chilly river and begin the trek. It's a rocky riverbed, so footwear and a walking stick highly recommended. The walls are very high so limited sunshine and early in the am, the temps are very cool. Austin was worried about getting his shorts wet, so he opted for the "Larry Bird" look in an effort to stay dry!

16 August 2017

Valley of Fire Park, Nevada, en route to Zion. A spontaneous turn off the road that was so, so cool even though it was hot, hot, hot! Valley of Fire derives its name from red sandstone, formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs, 150 million years ago. Worth it.

15 August 2017

Whirlwind 24 hours in Las Vegas. Walked through 5 of the top 10 largest hotels in the world, enjoyed some pool time, and took in some crazy sights and people! The lazy river and wave pool were a blast! Vegas is crazy with or without kids. The first few hours were tricky- hotel booked for wrong date and sold out (Mandalay to MGM- loooong walk in the heat after the flight) And Travis thinking walking was easy as it was all close together... no meltdowns but precarious- then MGM at capacity with the longest hotel hallway EVER. Austin losing his sneakers within hours - good times! Boys did the NYNY roller coaster. We briefly contemplated a photo with the two scantily clad female "police officers" on the street posing for photos - we thought it would make a Christmas card to remember... Off to Zion!
Arrived in Las Vegas...