Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hiking our national treasures

Our Utah vacation started at Canyonlands National Park. We got out of the hotel early to avoid the hottest part of the day. At home it was 40 and raining. In Moab it was sunny with a predicted 105 degree high.

Canyonlands was gorgeous. We hiked several trails and participated in a ranger talk. The National Park Service has a wonderful program called Junior Rangers. Our girls were at the top age for Junior Rangers, but they participated at Canyonlands, Arches and Zion National Parks.

I really wanted to participate in some ranger talks. These are beautiful, massive spaces. There is so much to learn and so little time. The ranger talks provided an overview on an interesting topic. While the girls weren't always interested, a ranger talk was required to complete the Junior Ranger program.

At Canyonlands we also viewed a scientific mystery at Upheaval Dome. The beauty of this hike was at the end, where a sign explained that scientists aren't quite certain what created the interesting formation. One theory was that a meteor hit the ground. Another theory was that a salt upheaval created the formation. It sparked interesting conversations with the girls and captured their imaginations.

Arches had its own beauty with large rock formations rising out of the desert. Our hikes there were fairly short as most lead to and from different rock formation. One hike lead us to Turret Arch, which required some climbing along with the hiking. The blond twin took this opportunity to do some rock climbing. She took the most difficult path, scaling the rocks like a pro. She was exhilarated by the chance to be a daredevil.

We also saw our first petroglyphs at Arches. These ancient rock art drawings were really interesting. We talked about how ancient people used petroglyphs to communicate. We compared the drawing to road signs. Later we saw more petroglyphs on a cliff just outside the back side of Canyonland.

We all agree Zion was our favorite, but we all had different reasons. Daddy couldn't stop taking photos. Every view could have been a postcard. We hiked the Emerald Pool trail to find frogs hiding among the rocks. We splashed in the Narrows.
Bryce Canyon stunned with the hoodoos. We hiked the Rim Trail and Bristol Cone Loop, our highest trail. The brunette twin was a little dizzy on the loop between her allergies and the altitude.

When you plan a trip like hiking our national treasures, you worry that the actual parks won't live up to the hype. We spent every day in awe of the beauty Mother Nature created. No matter where we were, our travels lived up to the hype.

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