Our Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park Family Vacation-Day 3

Today our plans were to hike to the 3 Emerald Pools and also do the Narrows. However, nothing happens until after a hearty breakfast just like yesterday. Again, we filled our stomachs with wonderful food while being surrounded by beautiful mountains and then boarded the shuttle back into the park.

Our first hike was the Emerald Pools. The trail head is located right across the street from the Zion Lodge in Zion National Park.  IMG_2017

We started out across a bridge and immediately noticed a horse corral and riders crossing the Virgin River. I have always wanted to try horseback riding but there are not enough allergy medications in the world for this to ever be possible, so I watched from the bridge with envy. IMG_2024This trail starts out paved and is well maintained until you reach the first Emerald Pool. There is a nice waterfall and a great little area where you pass behind and enjoy a sprinkle from above while doing so…..very refreshing.  IMG_2044 It was a great photography place and a nice area to cool off before heading up to the next two pools.  IMG_2049  IMG_2052 After getting all the shots my son wanted here we headed up the trail to Pool #2. The trail at this point was no longer paved and got a bit more rugged but tolerable. It took only a few minutes to reach pool two and we were happily surprised to find water in this one along with some tadpoles. This is the dry season so we were not sure what to expect at each pool.

IMG_2066

After a short time here, we headed back up higher to the last pool. This is where the trail became more like rock scrambling that hiking. It completely turned to a sand trail with boulders to maneuver up and over. This was right up to my expectations, one of my favorite things to do is rock scramble….and I loved it! This stretch offered very little shade and was hot and dusty but exciting all at the same time. After a while we crossed over a hill of boulders and were rewarded with the last pool and a nice large area of shade to rest.

IMG_2074

IMG_2078Our son took some pictures, we all sat on the big boulders to cool down a bit and this is also where we shared a trail snack before heading back on the same trail.

IMG_2080

Upon reaching the trail head we again boarded the free park shuttle and headed toward our next trail which was the Narrows hike.

IMG_2086

This is probably the most populated trail in the park in our opinion….and I will admit, not my favorite for this one reason. However, if this is your first time I would say it’s a must see and worth dealing with the crowd. This is a completely paved trail until you reach the rivers edge. There are rental places near the visitors center to rent water shoes and hiking poles to help you through the river up into the Narrows or you can do what many do and walk right in with their hiking boots/shoes. (We brought our kayaking shoes from home) When you reach the rivers edge there is a spot to change and put your personal belongings into dry bags/ziploks etc which you must also provide yourself. IMG_2089After you are all settled you walk down the steps into the river. Hiking poles, large sticks, and trekking poles are all a good idea….it is a river and there are many rocks.  IMG_2087

You start out down river and eventually make a turn into the Narrows passage….this is where the crowd is typically enormous as it was on our day here. I actually skipped this river walk this time around, last time it was not my favorite adventure. My boys were gone about and hour and we then made our way back to the shuttle bus for our return trip to the city shuttle which then returned us to our hotel.

Again, this was a very nice day, with temps over 100 degrees which meant we were in need of showers yet again before dinner. We ate tonight at a restaurant that had some amazing appetizers.

IMG_2313

IMG_2311

And since it was vacation we ended the night again pool side with views of the mountains in the background.

IMG_2014

Have you ever visited Zion National Park?

What was your favorite hike?

Do you have specific questions regarding the park or the area? Feel free to email me and I will be happy to answer them if I can.

Advertisements

A Speed Bump I Was Not Prepared For

I finally feel as if I am back on the right track again…..thankfully. As you all know we have been training for our desert trip coming up here shortly. Everything was going very good until I heard the dreaded POP and immediately it hurt to breathe more than I could have ever imagined.

Let’s back up a bit. Over Christmas break I was pretty excited about all the workouts I would get in without having to tend to my normal work routine, wife routine, mom routine, and so on. Obviously, we had a few family gatherings to attend with the holiday’s and all, but in between all that, I was seriously going to concentrate on exercise. We were at the gym and just finishing up our workout when I extended that last repetition and something popped. The look on my face must have said it all because my husband knew immediately something was wrong. He then replaced all the weights that we had out and we headed to the locker rooms. The pain was almost unbearable but it was my breathing that had me so concerned. Every breath I took was like someone stabbing me. After a few hours, a very gentle back massage, and an emergency phone call to my chiropractor to see if he could fit me in the next morning, I decided to the best thing to do was to just hold still and try not to breathe more than necessary.

The very next morning I met with my chiropractor and he knew immediately what I did. He told me I had a dislocated rib and that is why it hurts to breathe. Well then, I was shocked that this could even happen much less that he suggested that I let him try to put it back where it belongs!!!! Panic was my immediate thought. I can’t breathe without it hurting much less have him press on me without feeling like I may crack in half!!! So I sucked it up, laid on the adjustment table and he did his thing. I thought I was going to pass out, but when he got it to move it was immediate relief. Tragedy averted. I was able to move, breathe and only had soreness in my back for a few more days, but nothing severe. The big question I had was, will this happen again??? He said it could, to take it easy and not over do it……ha….apparently he does not know what we do for fun as a family:) I said ok and left thinking to myself, in a few weeks I am going to be rock scrambling in the Mojave Desert…..I hope that qualifies as taking it easy!

Then, just as the pain from all this was subsiding my husband decided to share his respiratory illness with me. So that made for four really bad days of sinus pain and headaches that ultimately made me best friends with my couch.

Today however I feel completely back on track. I had two great workouts last week and spent this past weekend in the gym both days.

 

Conquering My Fears

Conquering my fears is not something that normally I loose sleep over. However, for the past few weeks I have had this thought on my mind and I am not sure how to deal with it.

I have shared with with you all that we have a warm climate vacation planned for mid winter. We have started training and I know we will be physically ready to hike and try our hand at class III rock scrambling. Physically failing is not my issue, it’s mental. Ever since our last hike of the year at Devil’s Lake State Park here in WI where my family witnessed a gentleman fall from a bluff, I just can’t seem to forget that moment. And now, we are singed up to rock scramble with no ropes to the top of a mountain and I don’t know if my mind is going to allow this to happen.

I know my physical limitations and don’t usually push myself much further. Mentally is a whole different story. When we climbed Angel’s Landing in Utah, if I would have known what was ahead the entire hike up to the ridge, I know I would have had issues of panic. Thankfully, I did not know what was going to be asked of me and somehow I accomplished this. However, to this day I am still amazed with myself. I will admit, however, that I could have never accomplished this daring stunt without the support from our guides on this trip. I 100% trusted them with my life and that is not something I EVER do!

I already know that I will never forget what we witnessed here in WI and I know it will forever affect the way we hike at this park in the future. I always knew it could happen, I also know it could happen anywhere else we hike. It just scares me to know that even cautious, trained, physically fit individuals can make mistakes and one wrong move can forever change your life. I am not sure I am ready to risk this quite yet. I am not done living…. but at the same time, extreme activities are what make me feel alive. So what shall I do?

Do we cancel this hike/scramble and pick a different safer route?

Do we talk with our guide, explain our fear and see what he suggests?

Do I just suck it up and conquer my fear of falling?

 

 

Training Plan For Desert Hiking/RockScrambling

We have come up with a training plan for our winter warm weather getaway we have planned. We will be desert hiking and rock scrambling in the fabulous Mojave Desert. I truly believe this is exactly what the doctor would have prescribed for my health and well being if I would have asked for there advice on how to survive another WI winter.

A little over a year ago I surprised my husband with an anniversary trip to Zion National Park for three days of intense hiking with significant elevation. We had only three weeks of training for this trip since I am such a wonderful wife and decide to do these types of vacations on a whim:-) We were sent the training recommendations and were religious about getting it accomplished before we left. I will admit, it was not easy, we busted our butts every night and every weekend but we did it. We arrived in gorgeous Utah and never regretted the work we did to make our vacation something we will never forget. Which brings us to this vacation training plan and a much longer time frame to prepare for this adventure.

Here is what our plan looks like:

Monday: 60 minutes of cardio (machine of choice) and upper/lower body weights

Tuesday: 30 minutes cardio (machine of choice) and 3-4 mile walk

Wednesday: 60 minutes cardio (machine of choice) and upper/lower body weights

Thursday: 30 minutes cardio (machine of choice) and 3-4 mile walk

Friday: 60 minutes yoga

Saturday: Aqua Zumba class in the morning and 30 minutes cardio (machine of choice) in afternoon

Sunday:off

Keep in mind this is only a plan and we could and may change it up depending on life. However, we were very dedicated last time and stuck to it very well and plan to also be dedicated this time and stick as close as possible to this one.

Some people call us crazy that we(I) plan these vacations where we need to prepare this drastically for weeks before leaving. I just call it instant happiness. Leaving home with many inches of snow on the ground for sunshine and warmth plus arriving in great shape to do something beyond my comfort zone is exactly how I wish I could live life every single day.

Here’s to sore muscles, exhaustion and pure happiness;-)

 

 

Currently….

Life just seems to be passing by so quickly these days that I often find myself wishing I could freeze time. Clearly that is not possible so let’s take a look at my life as it is currently.

Currently I am looking forward to doing a weekend of “glamping” again with my husband and son at one of our favorite parks. We started out the Spring season with this same trip and ironically we are ending with the same trip.

IMG_4473

Currently I am reading my latest issue of Backer Magazine which has way to much winter gear for my liking in it. Although, I still find the articles interesting to read, I have no reason to see the outcome of winter gear that was field tested and the results. I will never be a winter backpacker;-(

Currently I am eating lots of fall veggies. I can’t get enough zucchini and squash. And plans are in the near future for some pumpkin muffins. YUMMMM

IMG_1809

Currently I am watching the new season of Grey’s Anatomy. This is literally the only television program I watch every week. I am not a big fan of the new time slot but so far I am adjusting to it as well as possible.

Currently I am trying to figure out what to do with my professional life. It’s all coming together nicely but I just wish I had a crystal ball to see what the future will tell me. Don’t we all?

Currently making me happy is that my husband has been stopping in to have lunch together everyday this week so far. This is quite the treat since he is usually at work way too far from home on normal days.

Currently I am planning our training schedule for our upcoming vacation. We will be hiking in the Mojave Desert and rock scrambling. We were given what to work on, what skills would be helpful and the mileage we will be hiking from our guides. Now we just need to prepare for this adventure.

Currently I am thinking about our upcoming 21st. anniversary. Should we do something, should we hang out and be lazy, should we buy gifts this year, should we……oh who knows? We will figure it out eventually.

DSC_0117_edited-1

Currently I am excited about a class I signed up to take in our area. I will be attending aqua zumba for 6 weeks and can’t wait to see how much fun it’s going to be.

Do you have anything on your mind you care to share? Tell me what’s up with you currently.