Long post with lost of Zion pictures: I can’t say enough how much I love this place and I can’t stop taking pictures when I get there!
Our love for the national parks runs deep – but there is an extra special place in our heart for Zion because we spent several summers working there while we were in college. I know that park well. We drove through that park so many times over the course of three summers; day and night. I know each turn, what landmark is around the next bend and trails that weave throughout. The minute I drive into the park, there is this nostalgia that swallows me up. I love Zion.
And that love and appreciation is being passed on to our kids. We spent a whole day in the park last week and it was surprisingly enjoyable. I say surprisingly because with 5 kids in tow most experiences are unpredictable and exhausting. But this day was nothing but rewarding.
The weather was beautiful. We’re used to Zion in the summer with it’s scorching hot sun – but October brought cooler weather which made hiking more enjoyable. We parked at the visitors center and took the shuttle (or the train as Cannon excitedly called it) up the canyon to the very last stop. With Briggs in the chest carrier and Cannon in the backpack carrier we hiked up to the Narrows. The colors and texture of that canyon are captivating. I couldn’t put my camera down.
Once we reached the end of the riverwalk, the kids ran around, skipped rocks and played games. With Briggs sleeping on my chest, I continued to slowly move around as to not disturb him. I watched people, listened to their conversations and engaged in conversations with many people. There was a peace in that canyon that I wanted to bottle up and treasure.
We hiked back out, got back on the shuttle, returned to our car and drove through the park and through one of the tunnels. We parked, got back out and situated and hiked canyon overlook. This was a little more difficult than riverwalk because it wasn’t a paved trail. In fact, its trail was made up of boulders, steep and narrow areas, bridges and such. Bennett did a great job, but the .5 mile hike took some time and we slowly maneuvered the trail. But the view was totally worth it. The kids felt they were on top of the world. If you’re afraid of heights this might not be the hike for you!
You want to know what I learned from this day? We don’t have to wait until the kids get older to have adventures. Will it be easier when they can walk themselves? Absolutely. But we don’t have to wait.
You want to know what else I learned? A lot of people think 5 kids is crazy! Mind blowing. In fact, I wish I could’ve recorded all the comments people made to us and about us when they thought we were out of ear shot. Here’s just a few:
On the trail: Did you see they had 4 kids? No, they had 5! She had one strapped to her chest as well. That’s nuts.
On the shuttle: You don’t think those are all their kids do you? Well, they’re sitting by them, who else would their parents be.
On the trail as we were hiking in a line with one kid, then Steve, then two kids, then me: One, two, three, four. Are you the mom? Yes. Wow you are the mom! Wait, there’s number 5!
On the trail: Wow, you are a brave family!
While the kids were skipping rocks in the narrows, a couple from the Ukraine approached me. “Are those all your kids?” Yes. “Wow. Can I take a picture of you with your baby to show our kids back home?” Sure. “They will be shocked to see a family of your age doing stuff like this. They have this mindset that they can’t do anything because they have kids but you’re proving them wrong, I love it.”
On the trail: Good job mom and dad!
On the trail: Did you see all those kids? They were even carrying two of them.
We had a good chuckle after every comment. Evidently 5 kids is mind blowing to most people. And even more crazy that we would take them hiking for the day! But they were champs. Every single one of them made it an enjoyable experience. And the biggest success indicator is they all want to go back. And I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to make that happen. If you haven’t explored Zion, you are missing out!