10 June 2016

Road Trip to Southern Utah

Our original road trip plans were rather ambitious, but as the reality of "we have a small baby" set in, Eric and I (mostly I) decided to tone things down. We spent a few days in Southern Utah, and everyone had a splendid time.

First we went to Bryce Canyon National Park. It was my first visit, and I was really impressed. Eric had been once before, but he only hiked around the rim. We did a few hikes, and our boys did great. One hiker said, in broken English, that Felix is a future Everest hiker. We loved listening to people speak different languages and then telling our kids to say hello to those people in their native languages. Also, some Asians took pictures of our boys while they were sitting at the picnic table without us. I guess they like blondes. And many Asians were obsessed with Trixie, especially when she was leaning out of the hiking backpack as best she could to see what was going on in front of her.

We hiked the Navajo Loop. It is 1.4 miles total, with the first part being down some switchbacks, and the next part being up some different switchbacks. Our little troopers hiked the whole thing (with many breaks).

Most of the time, Trixie looked like this, and people found her position very amusing:

Ike and Felix are best friends, and I love it. (Though, if you ask them who their best friends are, neither will name his brother. One day they'll recognize that they are more than brothers.)

That night we camped near Bryce Canyon, and it was a perfect camping spot. Everyone did great at camping, except Trixie. She needs more practice.

The next day we returned to Bryce Canyon for more hiking. We hiked the Queens Garden Trail, and I liked it even better than the Navajo Loop. It was slightly longer, and again, our boys did really well.

We ran into Eric's cousin and her family while we were there. The following day they ran into Eric's brother and his family, who also were in Southern Utah for our sister-in-law's family's reunion.

As the weather warmed up (triple digits - we did not luck out with nice weather for this trip. It was blazing hot.), we headed to Cedar Breaks National Monument. It is like Bryce Canyon on steroids. It is a much higher elevation, so it is closed for most of the year, and it is generally inaccessible. There are a couple of trails, but they were still very muddy and snowy, so we just checked out the lookout points and went on our merry way. (Also note that this was the only time during the trip that I wore Trixie in the pack. Eric is a pack mule. That girl is heavy.)

Really though, these boys love each other. And look how blonde they are. It's no wonder the Asians were marveling at them.

After Cedar Breaks, we went to St. George and stayed in a condo. The next day we went to Snow Canyon State Park, which is a pretty cool place. Have I mentioned the heat? It was oppressive. We didn't last long at Snow Canyon before we headed back to our condo for mandated naps before going to see Zootopia.

On Saturday we went to Zion National Park. We had high hopes for an early arrival and a day full of hiking, but our late start and exhausted bodies stymied us. We hiked to the lower Emerald Falls, walked along the River Walk Trail, played in the very cold river, and then called it a day. What should have been a four-hour drive home took us six due to unscheduled potty breaks and ornery children, but we all made it home in one piece.

For the record:
  • The boys had been to Zion before, but neither could remember it.
  • On his last camp out (father and sons camp out with the ward), Felix fell into a Dutch oven and sustained a nasty burn on his leg. On the camp out before that he fell into a cactus, and we had to pick barbs out of his bum by flashlight in the dark. This camping trip was injury-free for him! (My dad says we need to get him a suit of armor to wear while camping, and that's probably true.)
  • Trixie liked to fall asleep with her head sticking out. In the one picture above where she is resting her head on Eric's back (like a normal person would), she was only in that position because I placed her so. Usually when I tried to rearrange her sleeping body to a comfortable position, she would flop right back to the head-sticking-out-to-the-side position.
  • If you ask Ike and Felix about their favorite part of the trip, they will tell you it was the swimming pool at the condo and going to see Zootopia. So, basically, things we could have done at home.
  • I really am pleased with how well my boys hiked, in case you couldn't tell. Nearly two miles (length of the Queens Garden Trail) on steep trails for a scrawny 3.5 year old is pretty impressive.
  • Ike wore a "Don't Mess With Texas" shirt one of the days, and he loved to "trick" people by telling them our family was from Texas. Where in Texas? "Just the normal part."
  • Both boys were totally zonked out during church on Sunday.
  • On the drive home when Felix was incredibly cranky, Eric and I decided to stop and get ice cream. We went to a Burger King, but ice cream was not on the dessert menu, so Eric ordered a couple of shakes, which, Felix was not particularly interested in having. He then declared he wanted crackers (which we had in the car). As Ike and I finished up the shakes, Eric took Felix back to the car to get the more desirable crackers, when he saw a man walking out with a couple of soft-serve ice cream cones. And that was not the most humorously frustrating stop on our drive home, but now you have a better idea of why it took us so long to get home.
  • Okay, I can't reference a more humorous stop and not give more details. Shortly after a bathroom break, Ike declared he needed to go. We tried to make him wait but ultimately had to pull over to a rarely-used exit to let him do his business. While helping him, Eric was attacked by angry bees. While Eric literally ran around the exit ramp swatting at the bees, I stared, baffled, from the car. Ike continued his procedure totally unaware of his father. Somehow everyone was able to re-enter the car un-stung.