We all (our friends and our family) packed up all of the necessary goods and headed off.
We drove east.
Through the corner of Arizona.
By green golf courses.
Then into Utah.
Up into mountains.
Past giant red rocks.
And little streams that had made huge pathways through those rocks.
And Joshua trees.
And more rocks.
It was such a beautiful drive. I even took pictures out the car window – a lot of them. (I don’t usually do that.)
We drove into the little town of Rockville and didn’t wonder where they got the name.
Then we drove into Springdale and oohed and aaahed over the cute little shops and thanked God that there was a pizza place there, just outside the park.
We paid our $25 for a week-long park pass and envied our friends who have a year long national park pass. Note: We did not envy their park pass but rather is was the fact that they live so near so many national parks that they have cause to have an annual national parks pass! Oh, the life!
We drove in fully expecting that we would not find any parking in the lot, yet hoping that somehow we might . . . so that we could easily hop on the shuttle and get in some hiking before the day was done.
God smiled on us, and we easily found two spots! The next few minutes were a mass of sun-screen, searches for hats, to-wear-the-jacket-or-not-to-wear-the-jacket discussions, and water-bottle filling.
We set off with water, a few snacks, and children who were ready to get OUT of the car!
At Zion National Park, you cannot drive through the park, so one must get on the shuttles to get around. There was one waiting just for us, so we hopped on, found seats, and away we rode. The narration was actually understandable and really interesting; I wanted to hear more. The main road of the park is in the middle of the canyon and winds right next to the Virgin River. The river is fast and quite pretty. Because it was spring, everything was blooming. When we got out at the very last stop, the Temple of Sinawava, the adventure began.
At this point in the day I was a little leary of the two-mile round trip hike, for I had a four year old that didn’t sleep very long in the van on the way there. It was not long until all my fears were put to rest. We hadn’t walked but a few steps and we saw our very first really-cool-thing of the trip: a deer, close up. Then we turned around to see a huge waterfall and a path that led right to the water’s edge, a perfect spot to throw rocks in the water.
We walked a little and stopped a little and walked a little and stopped a little. We saw wild turkeys and all kinds of cool waterfalls and steams!
Then at the end of it all, the path opened up onto an area where the Virgin River flows right out of the vertical cliffs. There were several hikers emerging from the water; they had just hiked The Narrows. I was a little jealous.
The kids spent a long time running around picking up rocks and saying things like, “Oh, look at THIS cool rock!” before hurtling it overhand into the fast-flowing water. It is good that God made rocks!
Not too long after this we hiked back, rode the shuttle back, then climbed back into our cars, and went back into Springdale.
There we ate pizza. It was good. I ate a lot, and I was glad!
After stuffing ourselves with pizza we drove back through the park. The drive through the park was incredible. There is SO much to look at as you drive! There are huge rocks and huge cliffs and waterfalls everywhere you look. There is a huge, mile-long tunnel that has windows carved into the rock! The kids loved that! There are a ton of switchbacks, so we did have the barf-bags at the ready for our car-sick folk, but no one needed it! On the way to our rental home, we saw approximately a billion deer. And when we pulled into the driveway, we were all pleasantly surprised to find that the place we had scouted out and rented online was indeed worthy!
It was a log cabin with all of the modern amenities a girl could want, including a gorgeous bed in the master bedroom! (I should have taken a picture of that!)
We unpacked for the night, and got the kids in their beds, and then the adults hung out for a while. Our friends shared their game Set with us; I’m not sure if I love them or hate them for that move. I haven’t felt that dumb in a long, long time . . . and yet I want to play more, more, more.
The day was just perfect.
Right up until I found that giant bug in our bedroom as we were getting ready for bed.
Then there was another one – on a pillow this time.
And another one.
And two of my children were sleeping on the floor in that room – ew!
Then another one in the bathroom.
I fell asleep (sort of) snuggled next to my husband, praying that God would rescue me from the bugs, that they would not attack me and/or carry me off in the middle of the night.