Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Tricks Old Tricks

This isn't news to many, but M loves her some jumpin'. 
A small trampoline has been an instillation in our living room for... 
oh gosh..
it's been there for almost 3 years now. Geez.
But since the addition of a big trampoline to her day care her abilities have grown. 
The "big kids" have been teaching her some tricks.

We've also been taking advantage of our free time together and visiting Sky High, a giant warehouse filled with trampolines, foam pits and dodge ball areas. The website says "Are you ready to bounce off the walls?", when really it should read : "Moms, are your kids bouncing off the walls? Come here instead!"
Anyways, M always has a great time. 

And I'm always pleased with the results.
Ah, the trampoline. The oldest trick in my book .

Monday, June 25, 2012

Navajo Lake

On our last full day in Utah, we decided to stay close to our cabin and visited Navajo Lake. I remember someone saying something about not "hauling this canoe down here for nothing", so I guess we needed an excuse to use it. A lake seemed like a good enough reason!
Cousin Michelle and Paul (Captian Paul to YOU) were brave enough to take M on her first canoe ride.
After she saw the water, no one could keep M from it.

The "launch"

The "I'm ready to go" thumbs up

This is about as far out as they went, at which point M declared that there were no fish  in the lake and therefor they could go back in. 
The canoe trip (that I watched from the banks, nice and dry, thankyouverymuch) was a total success as far as I'm concerned. M actually followed directions and sat in the middle the whole time and no one needed to use their life vests. Everyone made it back for a picnic, where we taught M to spit watermelon seeds.

Earlier in the day we had to say goodbye to our kin from the east. Paul and Aunt Vicki tried to do it in style by writing and performing a song to send them off with. I am demanding that this type of thing happen at every family gathering now. You're welcome.

And with that we started packing our bags for the long drive home!
We woke up early the next day and said our goodbyes. We stopped for coffee and snacks and made it home in about 13 hours including the time it took to rescue the precious "Sleepy Owl" we left in Ely days before. 
It was a great trip and built our confidence that we could do another "family" road trip in the future. 
Even if by "family" we mean Mimi and I and the kids, oh.. 
..and our parents... 
and... lots of snacks, LOTS of snacks..
and wet wipes...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon was about an hour in the other direction, so of course we had to see it!
The rock formations were very different, made of "hoodoos" - columns of rock that looked like stalagmites.

We drove into the park and enjoyed all the sights on the way in.

One of a couple rock tunnels!
 We took the shuttle into the park, as suggested. Some of our group got off at a stop and hiked to our lunch spot. Some of us just enjoyed the shuttle ride and our funny driver.
After a long lunch, we all walked along the sunrise path. It's the last leg of an 11 mile hike, the shortest leg...but the views are spectacular.
Looking over the hoodoos and into Bryce Canyon.
It was the last day with all the family together, and I'm glad we chose to spend it here. Although it's not the most sophisticated analogy, I would have to say that Bryce Canyon seems like someone made Thunder Mountain from Disneyland into a real thing (minus the railroad). Either that or Disneyland really did a good job creating a tiny Bryce Canyon!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Our cabin was about an hour from Zion National Park. 
We stopped at the first outlook to regroup and hear a little about the landscape from our in-house geologist Paul. 
"Checkerboard" hills

Enjoying the view

We had a nice picnic at the visitor's center and then took the shuttle through the park. 
We stopped to do the hike to the lower Emerald Pool, one of three pools. It was a good trail for everyone except M ( and therefor Grandma Nancy) because "someone" got "distracted" at the trail head. By "someone" I mean M, and "distracted" I mean saw children playing in the creek and COULD NOT MOVE ON- had to go in. 

The walk was nice but the day was pretty hot so we were happy to find a small waterfall at the end of the hike. It was a great way to cool off!

The rocks above the pool

The pool below and the rock formations above.

Looking back up the path - Cooling off in the spray from the waterfall
It was thought provoking for some..

A happy family, out hosts - Paul, Johanna and Michelle
They are VERY accommodating!

After an ice cream and touring around the rest of the park, we headed home.
But the views followed us almost the whole way home

Everyone slept well that night, looking forward to Bryce the next day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


On our first whole day in Utah we decided to get out and do something "easy". Cousin Michelle led us on a short hike to Cascade Falls. It's true that it's a short hike (1.2 miles), but at an elevation of close to 9000 ft, it was slow going! M fared a bit better than I, but then she had Grandma to hold her hand all the way there, and Papa Donny to give her short rides on the way back. 

M and Grandma on the way out to the falls.

View of the Dixie Forest
Rock formations off in the distance
Looking at Cascade Falls from the trai

The top of the falls - water shooting from out of the cave .

We made it!

It was a great start to our Utah adventures and whetted our appetite for interesting landscapes! 
Today Cascade Falls, tomorrow Zion!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mountain Slide... smountain slide

Our next leg of the adventure brought us the rest of the way through Nevada and into Utah. 

We stopped in Cedar City and took the chance to pick up some groceries and eat lunch.
We also found some great signs....
Evidently Brian's Head slopes for any season...
 From Cedar City we planned to take a 30 mile highway to our destination, but we found that our road had been closed due to a mountain slide. It had been closed for a couple months and would be closed in the day time for at least another month.
We found an alternate route, much longer but through the Dixie Forest. We were able to stop and take some pictures along the way.

We finally made it to our cabin, called the Bear's Den. It's in a community called Duck Creek Village. It's a ring of cabins and facilities surrounding a marsh and meadow - very picturesque!

Let the relaxation commence! 
The "relaxation" portion of the day didn't last long. In fact it only lasted until more interesting people arrived.
Butterfly catching with Cousin Michelle
It ended up that they did catch some "fish". They were very green, leafy "fish" if you catch my drift. But it was fun.

Tomorrow we will venture out to the surrounding areas.... 
something has to break up the cycle of eating - nap- reading- eating. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Utah, here we come!

We've (Mom, Grandpa Donny, M, Mimi and Reno) embarked on a great trek to Southern Utah!
We're on our way to meet some family and friends for a nice vacation near Zion National Park. Today we started in Ca and made it across HW 50 (aptly named the loneliest highway) and into Nevada. It's amazing how much ISN'T out there.. central Nevada is pretty desolate.

Mom and Donny's car... the only one in sight
 We experienced two traffic delays, they gave us 20 minutes each to get out of the car and "experience the scenery".

Traffic Delay #1, before we had run out of trees. 
The scenery became more and more desolate, but interesting with salt flats and rock formations.

We ended our day in Ely Nevada, a casino fueled ghost town. 
Thanks WNET!
Our next leg is through the rest of Nevada and into Utah. Let's hope it's smooth sailing!