The night before we departed, JAK had a big event - the final step in his journey to become an Eagle Scout - his board of review. After a 45 minute review with the board, we were allowed into the room to be there as the board congratulated him on passing and officially signing his approval.
The next evening, we departed Indy at 7:30pm, arriving in Las Vegas International around 9pm PT. It was a 4 hour drive from there to our cabin in Hatch, UT. We luckily hit the grocery store at 11:55pm and had 5 minutes to grab enough food for the next day. We arrived at the cabin around 1am MT. Dad was the only one awake and tried to get our boarder crossing picture from Nevada to Arizona to Utah, but darkness won and he wasn't about to slow down.
The next morning, Mom and Dad awoke shortly after sunrise. Within an hour, Mom had learn to cast a fly rod, and landed her first 2 rainbow trout in the Sevier River located just off our back porch! Dad also landed his first trout in a river!
Bryce National Park was the first stop, a short 30 minute drive away.
The consensus was that we would do the 8 mile Fairyland Land loop trail, but a game-time decision was made based on the short night sleep and 8000ft elevation change, that a happier family would result if we did the popular, and significantly shorter 3 mile Navajo and Queens Garden trails.
The hoodoos of the park reminded us of our time in Canada!
On the way out, it was obvious we made the right decision to save the Fairlyland loop for a future visit as everyone was happy with our shorter distance but we did swing in to check out what we'd missed!
That evening after we cooked up one of our trout for an appetizer, a couple of visitors appeared across the river. The owner had a feed bucket out the back door and encouraged visitors to bring feed. We only had bruised apple to offer. We cut it up and put it in the bucket as mom and young mule deer buck watched us from across the way. Soon enough she came across to our side.
The next day we arose at 4am to do the 1:25 hour drive to Zion National. We'd been given sage advice to get on the very first shuttle of the day so we could enjoy The Narrows hike before the masses arrived.
Just to give you an idea of how valuable this advice was, in the above picture you can see maybe 60 people in the line for the shuttle....and below is what it looked like when we returned at noon with 600 people waiting to get on the shuttle!!
After you depart the shuttle (it's the last stop in the canyon), you hike up the river on a paved trail for 1 mile. At the end of the trail, there are is a sign and steps to get down to the river. Katie looked to her right and thought there was a "fake" deer....suddenly it moved! She turned to Dad and said "DAD THERE IS A DEER!" Dad turn and actually jumped, having now noticed the large buck staring at us from 15 feet away!
The Narrows hike was one of the all-time family favorites. On the way in, we had almost the entire river/trail to ourselves and the water was crystal clear and cool.
JAK and Anna decided to explore a deeper pool!
We traveled around 2 miles upriver. When we arrived at Wall Street, the sun was coming up and lighting up part of the canyon.
We headed into a inlet to find a hidden waterfall. Unfortunately, while attempting to claim the 7' rock you see JAK on in this picture, Anna slipped on a wet log, and took a complete dive (gracefully) back into the icy water! She quickly ducked the camera, but we captured the expression on Mommy's face and her attempt to hide a mix of smile and shock from the icy cold water!
We headed back down river and enjoyed lunch on a rock while the droves of hikers started to ascend upriver (which helped Dad get into one of his first pictures of the trip;).
JAK decided he would join Anna with cold, wet clothes, and tried to pull a "Dr. Howard" by dunking himself and pretending he'd hit a deep hole in the river;)
We headed back to our cabin in Hatch. Anna and Daddy decided to go exploring and ended up hiking through BLM land across from the river.
Later, Katie and Mom joined for another evening hike. In all, we did 10 miles on our second day!
The next morning was Father's day and Daddy's gift to was be able to teach the girls how to cast a fly rod. Anna caught her first trout on a spinning rod after hiking upriver!
Then we headed back into Zion for "Canyoneering" with the Zion Adventure Company!!
The first part involved a 'team building' free climb up a rock ledge.
Then we had to walk around a point (this time with a safety strap) but it was a long ways down!
We decided out guide Kylee had us do the first two challenges to determine which route to recommend on the remainder of the trip (does the Dad cry or not?). Dad "passed" so Kylee invited us to do the next three repelling adventures ranging from 30' to 60'.
And after "canyon bowling" we did a "down climb" that made Dad decide not too eat too much bacon if he wants to go Canyoneering again!
On the way back, there was a little excitement when a shirt that had blown off it's resting place on Kylee's, was caught in the brake! Polyester spinning at 60mph will turn back into liquid sludge! But everything worked out and Canyoneering was the kids favorite part of the trip.
The next morning was our last in Hatch. Dad woke up and worked up river landing another nice rainbow and meeting a friend Michael.
We departed for Las Vegas, making a stop in St. George for a few hours while Dad did some work.
We checked into the Bellagio with just enough time to check out the pool and get to dinner at Margaritaville.
Then it was off to Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil
Followed by a walking tour of the nearby hotels and the fountain show.
The next AM we had breakfast at a place call the Egg[blank], visited the M&M and Coke shops and then hung by the pool.
And with a 7:30pm flight, we had just enough time to checkout at 3pm and head to Hoover Damn. It was 105 when we arrived. As we rushed down to peer over the edge, we there was a silent pause as we noticed....there was no water flowing! On the way to the damn, Mom had been reading out the history of the damn and that 100 men had died during it's construction.
Anna broke the silence "Wow, that's definitely isn't worth 100 people dying!"
We headed to the airport, arriving home just after 3am and out were the door by 9am the next day for tennis, work and more summer fun. Until next year, keep exploring!!
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