Friday, May 15, 2009

Our 2009 Rockin' Awesome Vacation...Days 3 & 4

I figured since day 4 didn't hold much in the way of exciting times I'd tie these last two together.

Our little one sure had a rough night heading into day 3. She began coughing and coughing so much she made herself throw up. At the same time she was still so exhausted. Once I got her cleaned up and headed over to clean up the bed she just laid down on the floor and went back to sleep – all the while still coughing. My hubby came in and gave her a priesthood blessing. Something in the blessing told me I needed to turn off the air conditioner. It still took another two hours or so, but she finally settled down enough to go to sleep, which of course means I also slept.

In the morning we were all so excited to head out. All the little shops and towns we saw along the drive were unbelievably tempting to me (it’s probably a really good thing the car was full of kids who wanted to go see Zion’s, and not the shops, lol). One of these years I’d love to go back and spend a few days enjoying it all with my hubbs.

The first thing we did when we got to the beginning of the tour route was get the kids t-shirts, which they all wanted to put on directly. We also made sure to take a bathroom stop. I didn’t mention it up ‘till now, but J has a really nervous bladder (yes, the teen-to-be will one day thank me SO much for adding this). If there was a bathroom nearby, you can bet he had to go. We also picked up some new disposable cameras for the kids, as they’d used up their previous ones. I wanted to have a heart attack when I saw how much those dumb cameras were, but thought that might put a damper on the vacation. So I didn’t.

One of the craziest things I never expected to see was crawling all over the ground/benches. Little fuzzy caterpillars were everywhere. I mean that literally. And their colors varied as well, from purple to red to brown to yellow and green. They were so prevalent too many of them could be found on the bottoms of tramping shoes. Even stepping with care, I’m sure our own family came away with more souvenirs than we’d planned.

The shuttle buses all traveled the same route, making up to seven different stops. We could get out at whatever stop we wanted, spend however much time we wanted there, and then wait for the next shuttle bus to come along. It’s such a marvelous way to go, especially when one thinks about how much those buses save the local environment.

Our first stop was at the museum. We watched a short movie on the history of Zion’s, looked a little at some of the displays, then headed back to the shuttle. From there we hit up my absolute favorite sight of the entire trip: The Court of the Patriarchs. The three peaks, which I’ll point out in the next post, were named after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were absolutely breathtaking. I could have spent an awful lot of time simply gazing at them.

Next we went to the Lodge stop. There were a few things available here. Riding horses was an immediate “Yes!” for the kids…until we found out how much one horse would cost to rent for an hour. Yikes! So instead we headed out to one of the hikes offered. Along the path there are the three Emerald Pools. The lowest pool was the shortest distance, so we opted for that one. Hubby wanted to go further, but I figured we might want the kids to make their way out of the canyon not being carried on our backs. Still, the lower pool was a little over half a mile in, and was totally worth it. Beyond beautiful. I’ll show a few pics of that as well.

As we headed back to the lodge M heard a Mockingbird, and began whistling to it. SO FANTASTIC! It would whistle the exact thing back. We had so much fun listening to M play with it for a few minutes.

We went to the lodge for lunch…which I’m sorry to say I don’t recommend. It was overpriced considering how much food we got, and the service was horrible. Not until later did we find out there was a little outdoor grill we could have gone to instead. Still, the food was good and we all felt restored afterward.

By this point the kids were ready to head back to the hotel. Wimps! Nah, just kids. My hubby knew how much I wanted to get to (what I thought was) the top, however, so we dragged them along. This meant we didn’t take the next several stops, choosing instead to go straight to the last one.

This took us on a very long walk - the kids words, not mine. I think by the time we made it back we’d gone another two miles. For hubby and I this wasn’t too big a deal, but our poor kids were beyond exhausted. It was worth the effort, even though it didn’t end where I thought it would. My kids were seriously awesome! Especially M and J, who walked the entire distance. Of course it took Daddy pushing and encouraging all of us. I kept thinking, “My kids are going to get sunstroke!” Of course they didn’t, and we did get to dip our feet in the incredibly cold water of the Virgin River at the end of the hike (going in. Then we had to hike back out).

We were all so grateful to climb back into the shuttle bus and head back home. The bus was extremely crowded, and we’d had to separate a bit to find seats. I was so pleased when both M and J gave up their seats to an older couple who’d climbed aboard without even having to be asked. Such a Proud Parent moment! Along the route back we even got to see some rock climbers – I believe I got at least one picture of that.

Our littlest fell asleep within minutes of getting in the car. I thought for sure she’d wake up when we got back to the motel, but no. She slept for another three hours! I thought for certain she’d never sleep that night. Daddy took the kids out to swim for a while, then we got some dinner, some dessert, and chilled the rest of the night. Actually, J and M – even as tired as they were – did a bit of homework as well. Like I said, awesome kids!

We all slept soundly that night, and decided the next morning it was simply time to come home. Actually, Daddy and I decided it was time to come home after listening to the kids bicker for an hour. M wasn’t too thrilled about it and pouted for quite a long time until we thought of something to do that cheered her right up: we’d go to the Olive Garden for dinner! Food works on everyone in this household.

The trip home went a lot faster than I thought it would. I guess it makes sense when one doesn’t make a billion stops along the way. We did go through quite a rainstorm along the way. I almost had to pull off the road for a few minutes. Not fun.

In no time at all we found ourselves back in our house, everything put away, and so happy to be there. Yep, even M found out coming home a day early can be a good thing.

Like I said, this was a rockin’ awesome vacation!


Debbie D said...

Sounds breathtaking. What troopers you have. I wouldn't dare attempt such a hike (they'd probably end up carrying ME out) Ha, ha.
So happy you were able to get away and make some memories :)

Burwell's Bits said...

What a fun trip. Your kids will remember the fun parts forever and forget all about the bickering. I am so glad you and B.D. got to take the family and get away for a few days. It really recharges the batteries. I love the pics, they are beautiful.