Our Zion and Bryce Canyon Family Vacation-Day 4 and 5

Today we all woke up pretty stiff and sore everywhere. Our plans for today was our first trip to Bryce Canyon National Park and a 3.5 mile moderate hike of the Navajo Loop, Queens Garden Trail, and Wall Street. Although, first we had to drive to Bryce Canyon NP which was through the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel.

IMG_2402This is a tunnel that literally cuts straight through the mountain side and is patrolled at both ends by park rangers. IT’S AMAZING!!!! You have to drive it if you are visiting the area. IMG_2118 Even if you are not hikers and are just visiting the park, this is a must see 6 mile drive. The views are absolutely stunning and I actually saw my first mountain goat…actually lets make that GOATS!!! A dream come true for me:) IMG_2358 You will pass many little pullouts where you can pull over and capture popular sights like the checkerboard mesa,  IMG_2400 wildlife right next to the side of the road, IMG_2121and some breath taking views.

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Eventually we did arrive at Bryce Canyon NP about mid morning and luckily found a parking space available near the trail head. Bryce also offers a shuttle service that is free and information is available all throughout the town.

We started our hike on the rim and made our way down into the canyon. Bryce and Zion are two completely different parks to say the least.  IMG_2263 Zion is all elevation climbing where Bryce was hiking into a canyon and back out of the canyon. The colors were so amazing that if I did not know better I would have thought I was hiking through a painting in a art gallery. It was unbelievable!  IMG_2270  IMG_2212  IMG_2198

This hike was not strenuous until reaching the switchbacks back up out of the canyon floor. These were intense, short, elevation paths that led you up and out pretty quickly.  IMG_2254 After exiting the canyon we decided to do the scenic drive through some of the pullouts throughout the park. These also were amazing and just a few steps out of our car.  IMG_2284

Again, another very successful day which ended with a drive back, showers, and dinner all before more pool time.

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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.

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

This week has brought many things to an end. Instead of three doctor appointments a week my husband had one and next week none:) As for physical therapy, we have decided that we can purchase and do everything at home to save a ton of time and do more often to get even more benefit for his condition. All his physicians agreed, so our big order of therapy supplies should arrive Monday. And the last test results we were waiting for finally came back mid week and they were wonderful. Which in our eyes meant we could all take a breath and relax a little. It has been a trying, emotional three weeks but I can honestly say, we do see a little light at the end of this tunnel.

Now onto much happier events…..do you remember that vacation we were suppose to be training for? It is happening in a few short weeks and our goal is to hike for four days straight with our longest hike being 8 miles. I am extremely happy to say we are still planning to go on this vacation. As for the 8 mile hike, time will tell. We have talked with all his physicians and they all say he can and should try and make it happen. Although, we have been walking at home throughout this ordeal and he is only able to make it about 2 1/2 -3 miles until he starts to feel pain and numbness. Which is when all the professionals say he needs to stop and rest. I have him convinced that he should also use hiking poles this time and to my surprise he agreed. So my old poles have been taken apart, cleaned up, and are ready for use. They still had particles of the virgin river in them from our last big hiking trip.

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As for training, this was very short lived. I have been still getting daily exercise but not nearly what I was hoping to get in preparation for this trip. You all know my husbands activity level has been lessened greatly and our son also was set back with a back issue in the past few weeks.Thankfully, I still feel I can accomplish this hike without a problem. I am hoping that we can somehow accomplish it as a family, but if not, we plan do do the best we can with what we have. Our vacation is planned for a gorgeous, amazing place and I have no doubt regardless of how far we hike, it will still be a wonderful, enjoyable time.

Speaking of hiking, recently we ventured out for a short hike after work one night. As usual, we were walking along and came across a snake crossing the trail. Now normally, when we hike we walk side by side as many people probably do. While he is looking into the sky at birds, bugs, and keeping an eye out for wildlife, I am scanning the trail for these slithery reptiles. I always seem to find them first and he can normally tell by the immediate stop and few steps backwards(and a scream) what lies ahead. Although, now, I have learned where they normally are hiding and slither out of while on the trail so we have taken a new approach to these slithery reptiles. Snakes never seem to come from the side of the trail. They are almost always laying in the middle where greenery has grown through or right out in the open sunning themselves which makes them easy to spot from a distance. It’s the greenery that has me a nervous wreck, so now I make my husband (whom is not deathly afraid of snakes, unlike me) walk a bit ahead of me right through the middle of this greenery.

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I then follow behind at a safe distance giving the snakes time to slither across to the trail edge and into the woods/grass. It does not make seeing them any more pleasant but at least the fear of them slithering over my boot into the woods/grass is not constantly in the back of mind. God forbid, a snake ever slither over my boot, I would not have the power to walk off the trail by myself. I have a strong heart and great blood pressure, but this may send me into cardiac arrest.

That’s all I have for you all this week. I miss blogging about our kayaking trips, disc golf courses we visit and all that fun stuff. Although, right now our lives are pretty limited to walking, biking, swimming and physical therapy. I try and keep him company through all of this to hopefully make it less daunting for him.

TENS Therapy while spending time together

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So even though it’s quite life consuming, we are still having fun and enjoying just being together. We are finding ways to make the most of what we have to work with at the moment.

Have a Great Weekend!

 

 

Our 20th Anniversary Vacation-Zion National Park- Day 3

Bright and early I got up, did some yoga and filled our packs with the required water for the day. We went down to meet everyone for breakfast in the lodge and sat out back on the patio overlooking the mountains in the distance. I could eat breakfast every day and never get tired of this view.

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At 7:45 am we all loaded into the van and headed for our first trail head. Weeping Rock and Echo Canyon was our destination.

We started up a small hill and made our first stop at Weeping Rock, just a short hike from where we parked (1 mile round trip). This is a ledge that constantly has rain water from hundreds of years ago dripping from it. It’s very refreshing.

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After this, it was off to Echo Canyon. This is a pretty good hike with some good elevation involved. It was mostly shaded at this time of day, which was a good thing, otherwise it would have been much more difficult.

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We saw all kinds of critters here that we don’t have where we live.

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Upon arriving at the canyon, I was amazed. The walls and the depth were just unbelievable.

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We walked about a half mile past the end of the canyon to get a glimpse from above, down into the canyon and this was just breathtaking. Everywhere we looked there were mountains and mountains, and not a single one looked the same. Our guides were very good about making us stop for rest, water and snack breaks along the way.

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Then it was back into the canyon to find some shade and gather for lunch. Our two guides carried enough lunch for 11 people on their backs. This was quite impressive to us. We found a nice little sandy area where they prepared the lunch assortment.

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After lunch Megan applied some first aid to a few blisters on one of the hikers

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while Brian had some fun playing in some quick sand he found.

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Then we headed back to the trail head to make our way to the Virgin River to hike the Narrows.

We refilled our water bottles at this point and headed down another trail one mile to the Virgin River. Upon arriving at the river, we all changed into water shoes and put our hiking boots into our packs.(Hoping that none of us fell in and soaked our packs!) We entered the river and hiked a mile or so down river in the Narrows.

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It was pretty cold, with a lot of rocks but all soon forgotten with the beauty of our surroundings.

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We reached a small swimming hole and a few of us took a quick swim, and then all headed back to change back into hiking boots and hike the mile back out.

This was our biggest day of hiking making it a total of about 10 miles.

We were all tired and hungry. So, back to the lodge for showers and meet up for dinner, which was at the Bit and Spur.

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On this night, we all ate, drank and laughed. It was a superb ending to our day.

As we headed out to the van, Megan and Brian (our guides) asked us to all head back to our rooms and grab a jacket and meet in 10 minutes in the lobby of our lodge for a surprise. So we all arrived shortly back in the lobby and were handed campfire sticks and were lead out back on the property of the lodge to find Brian building a makeshift campfire. The making for smores were all passed out, and again an apology from the guides for not being able to give us all the full camp experience we had all planned for on this trip.

Even the owner of the lodge joined us for his first smores ever. He is from Spain and had never even heard of them, but he was soon hooked on the chocolate gooey dessert. We all shared our favorite moment of the trip so far, again were briefed on the plan for the next day and were all in our rooms and sleeping by 11pm.

One more day to go with the most mentally and physically challenging day to share with you. A moment I will never forget!!!!