Marching to Zion
“Beautiful, beautiful Zion…” I’m having a hard time knowing where to even start with Zion National Park because I just loved it so much. We only had a day and 1/2 to explore there and man I wish we would have planned for longer. I know I say this about all the parks but Zion is truly amazing. All the orange rock structures and canyons are gorgeous. I could look at them for days…Maybe weeks…Possibly forever. The park has quickly risen to one of the top 5 most visited parks in the nation and it didn’t take us long to see why. Zion isn’t near as large as many of the other national parks and has a pretty quick bus system to get you around so you can see a good amount of the park fairly quickly. A bonus for our time in Zion is that it was around 70 degrees with the sun shinning both days. Ahhh, gloriousness.
Evan took on the steep hike to Angels Landing on Saturday afternoon a few hours after we arrived and enjoyed views that are truly unmatched. I would have loved to have seen that overlook and had that reward but at some points in the hike it’s only 10 or so feet wide with cliffs on both sides. On the bus ride to the drop-off to Angels Landing there is an alert reminding you that it is not a hike for kids, people who aren’t great with depth perception or folks who aren’t sure footed. They also don’t forget to mention the fatalities that have happened at Angels Landing and how they would prefer you not becoming another one of them. Needless to say, that meant 4/5 Lanier's were out for that hike. Phoenix was relieved. Luckily, our campsite was just outside the park entrance and had an incredible view itself so Evan walked home after his hike and we all enjoyed a supper picnic without missing any red rock scenery.
On Sunday we all applied ample amounts of sunscreen and hopped on the Zion bus ready for a full park day. *Fun Fact: Kyrie will talk to anyone and everyone and you can bet she’ll pick out the most unique person in a crowd and strike up a conversation. Bus rides are her jam. Thanks to her outgoing nature the kids now know the ins and outs of the tattoo process, how long it takes to have them cover your full body and how all the needles work/feel on each part of said body. As a bonus they even know what to do to make sure your tattoos heal properly and keep their color. Tattoo Education Course 101 is complete. No one can say we aren’t getting these kids an education out here! With our new knowledge stored for later in life, we took a stroll up the Lower Emerald Pools trail and then went farther into the park for The Narrows.
The Narrows is a hike where the trail isn’t dirt but rather the creek between the canyon walls. It is really pretty. It was also really crowded. Sometimes it’s weird being in the middle of nowhere with so many people but also really cool to see how many people are out enjoying creation. To properly hike The Narrows in its full capacity you need unique water waders and boots. Evan, however, wore shorts and Solomons because rented gear isn’t gonna stop him. While Evan ventured farther into The Narrows than our cold bones could take, the kids and I enjoyed a creekside view, shallow water splashing and a little sand playing action. I hope we can go back with a babysitter or on a kid-free trip at some point and hike The Narrows in its fullness together with the proper gear.
If you ask Gray and Kyrie what they think about The Narrows they’ll be quick to tell you about all the squirrels they saw and when they use some huge unbelievable number just know that they aren’t lying. There were squirrels EVERYWHERE people. Of all the woodland creatures, these guys have it figured out. They know where the picnics happen and they are ready to duel for them. We kept shooing this one particular varmint away during our snack time but he was relentless. Once we were done with our food and had packed away all of our trash, we zipped up our bags and assumed our squirrel wrangling was over. Wrong. While the kids and I were playing we were alerted to the fact that the squirrel was successfully working the zipper on our bags. Impressive little varmint. We resorted to playing in the creek with bags attached on my back and baby attached on my front. An hour or so later we watched that same furry critter take a banana off a girls lap and go to town on it. Relentless.
After another round of assignments that lead to another pair of shiny Junior Ranger badges and a great meal with one of my favorite campsite views to date, we got ready for bed and for our next destinations (we’ve got several parks we’re gearing up to hit in fast fashion over the next few days). Before bed we got to spend a little time with the Ryans. They are a super sweet couple from Idaho who are now on the road full time in their Airstream. They shared Airstream knowledge with us and played with the big kids and held Phoenix. They are awesome photographers and adventurous souls that we truly hope we get to cross paths with again. I know it sounds cheesy but one thing we love about traveling in an Airstream is the way it connects you to other people. It is a lot of fun having a common bond that gives you an in to learn about people and their adventures.
Bonus Material: Location after location we encounter humongous rocks that stand high and mighty over everything else. Their strength is something you can’t deny. One of Kyrie’s favorite songs right now is “My Feet Are On The Rock” by I Am They. She asks Evan to play it frequently and it’s been the song in our heads and on our hearts a lot lately as we witness these giants. When fire burns up trees and grass and everything else in the forest, the rocks stand. When sand and dirt roll away, the rock pillars remain. As so, my God is the same. Never wavering. The more I grip on to Christ the rock, the stronger I am as well. My feet are on the rock.