Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Break in Zion

This year we returned to a fab spring break tradition - Spring Break in Zion National Park!

April is the perfect time to visit Zion. It's still cool at night, summer crowds haven't arrived, and days are warm enough for biking up the canyon and wading in the river.

Everything lined up for the perfect Zion Spring Break this year.  Great weather, fun new Rainy improvements and gadgets including the solar panel Steve is demonstrating in the above photo, and kids who were ready to go adventuring.  Even when we weren't ready to go romping, they were more than capable of making their own (very noisy, very rowdy) fun.

Sam and Ben fight over who gets to chop kindling... which is kind of cool and kind of terrifying since they're fighting over a hatchet
No better dinner than chili dogs on a fire!
And in WanYing's case there is also no messier dinner than chili dogs on a fire
Ever since seeing the Blue Man Group Ben has been practicing marshmallow stuffing.  It's repulsive and so far he starts gagging at 7.  The Blue Man did 36.  He still has some serious ground to close before they will honor Ben's Blue Man application.
6 in the camper is starting to get tight but it's still doable!

During the day we spent our time biking and hiking around the park enjoying warm sun and Zion's amazing scenery.  The boys were rightfully very proud of their 16 miles of canyon riding.

We hit all of our favorite Zion spots - Weeping Rock, Temple of Sinawava, and the gift shop.  And there's simply no better way to enjoy the canyon than by bike.

The kids were thrilled with the sight and sound of the park's turkeys
Wading in the Virgin River
And down we go!  The balance got a little tricky when WanYing insisted on leaning to the side to better feel the wind in her face.
Sam was such a super biker
Here come Ben, Daddy, and Sasha!
Almost home - going down was definitely the fun part
Come on, you know the sight of this beautiful open road makes you want to jump on your bike and ride

On Day 2 the boys decided it was time to conquer Angels Landing. Longtime Morningstar Happening readers will remember that 3 years ago I attempted to take Sam up Angels Landing and thoroughly and totally finked out. It scared the bejesus out of me and my conscious mind could not convince my fear cortex that my child wasn't going to plummet to a horrible death.

So, yeah, it's kind of a scary trail.  This year, fortunately, we had the girls and of course the girls are too little for Angels Landing so, gosh darn it, I had to stay behind to take care of them while the guys took on the trail.

And they did magnificently.

Gee, I can't imagine why this trail is terrifying to Mommy
Ta dah!  They have arrived!
Seriously, it really is an amazing view and I'm sure it's worth the completely terrifying hike.
Hello down there!
And down, down, down they go again
Fear not, they all arrived back at the campground safe and sound

And while the guys were off risking life and limb, we girls were applying ourselves to our studies and successfully completed the full Junior Ranger curriculum, complete with informative ranger talk and, of course, obligatory badges.

The swearing in

And before leaving Zion we had to finish off our trip with our very favorite hike - The Overlook Trail.

As soon as we parked, the kids had to stretch their climbing legs.  After all, they had been in the van for a full 20 minutes.
Our favorite part of the hike - and this time we saw 10 long horn sheep from the suspended walkway!
We made it!
I swear, the only way we can get a semi-good photo of Ben is when he photobombs
Great company + great view = great hike

And Ben goes leaping back home.  So ends a wonderful spring break in one of our very favorite places.

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