Between having three young children and my love of poetry, it is not a great surprise that Dr. Seuss has secured a prominent position on my daughters' book shelf. "Oh the places you'll go!" is a family favorite. I thought it would be fun this month to focus on the places we have been fortunate enough to travel to this year as well as on the mini adventures we have had close to home.
"Oh, the places you'll go!" is the last book penned by Theodor Geisel better known as Dr. Seuss (1904-1991). The book tells of a generic "you" who goes out into the world and experienced both ups and downs but is encouraged along the way and reminded he could move mountains.
When we visited 2 of our great nation's national parks over Spring break this year, we did not move any mountains, but we were in awe of their natural beauty.
Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon provided magnificent backdrops for our spring adventure. We were a bit ambitious in our choice to rent a cabin in Duck Creek, using it as our "home base" then driving each day to a different location for a new adventure. We made it out to two of our four planned destinations deciding to use our remaining time building tepees, playing in the dirt and hiking trails close to the cabin.
With three children, one of which hikes in her Osprey back pack weighing in at thirty pounds, our family was limited regarding the number of trails we could attempt to tackle however we were still able to find ways to enjoy breathtaking views in both parks.
Zion was breathtaking with its red, pink and cream sandstone cliffs that reach high to touch a very blue sky. The Zion "Park Shuttle" is a fantastic way to get a full overview of the park. The shuttle will take you through a 6-mile loop including nine stops. We rode the 90-minute loop and enjoyed many amazing sights. The shuttle drivers are very knowledgeable and give a narrated tour along the loop route. If you are lucky, you will see deer feeding, squirrels scurrying and rock climbers climbing as they dangle from great heights of the canyon walls.
On a previous trip I tackled Angel's landing, but for our family, the Emerald Pool trail was perfectly paced. There are three pools along this 3 mile round trip trail. First, you will reach the lower pool then the middle and lastly the upper. Waterfalls and water runoff add to the fun and add to the breathtaking views of Zion Canyon. The girls enjoyed the water spray on their heads and faces as we passed the waterfalls, the enjoyed the challenge of the hike and the added treat of finding little frogs to watch in the middle pool. The baby enjoyed a little mid-hike nap, and except a lost Polly pocket, the hike was a glowing success.
The presence of the hoodoos is in part what makes Bryce Canyon so unique. A stop at the visitors center will allow you to view a short film to help you better understand the process by which Bryce Canyon was formed. A hoodoo is a column of weathered rock. Usually, these rock formations consist of soft rock below topped with a harder rock that over time protects the column from the elements because the harder rock does not erode as easily. The two primary erosion methods are the freeze/thaw cycles and the acidic rain. In winter, when the snow falls, it makes its way into the cracks of the rock and as the freeze/thaw cycle occurs through the winter and spring season, the cracks in the rock where the snow made its home, become bigger. The rain is acidic which is another factor in eroding the soft rock which is the second process that has helped shape these breathtaking pinnacles.
The Queens Garden Trail starts at Sunrise Point, from there you descend 320 feet to the trail's dead end. This hike is the least difficult path available to visitors as they enter the canyon from the rim. On this trail, you will see many hoodoos, which many feels represent garden like features. The name of the trail comes from a hoodoo located at the trail's end that resembles the profile of Queen Victoria who appears to be overseeing the hoodoo garden around her.
With each adventure, our family gets stronger as a unit having navigated the challenges of being tired or hungry or cranky as we travel together. Although we had a wonderful week away, it is always nice to return home. I love my brood so much and look forward to all of life's daily adventures at home as well as the occasional opportunity to get away to enjoy some of our planet's great beauty.