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Ahhh…. Hiking and climbing in the hot sun.  The perfect nightcap to three days in Disneyland.  …Right?

We climbed back into the car for the first time in four days right after walking out of the gate at Disneyland.  We planned on getting as far as we could before Nathan and I pooped out.  We made it out of California (a relief after battling CA drivers and their cars on the way to LA), past Las Vegas (but not after my most uncomfortable moment as a parent while shamefully dragging my kids through a casino as quickly as humanly possible) and into Utah.  For as much as Disneyland was for the kids (read: me), the trip back was for Nathan.

Which is as much as a consolation prize as that sounds.

Never in our lives have we lived in a place that is in such close proximity to so many National Parks; and good ones at that.   We have more than a handful of them on our list, and this trip was slated to check off two; Zion National Park being one of them.  You probably have seen pictures of it before; its famed Narrows are amazingly breathtaking and out-of-this-world gorgeous.  Or so I’ve heard.

We have every intention of hiking The Narrows once the kids get a bit bigger; and Angels Landing is on Nathan’s docket.  But for now, when the kids are small, we tend to stick to the easier and less dangerous trails.  This trip marked a milestone; where I had the realization that Finn really needs to be walking the whole time.  We have a backpack that he’s been viewing much of our hiking trips from.  I know he is perfectly able-bodied to walk, but our reasons for using it this far into his young life are pretty selfish.


Sure, it is nice to teach your kid to behave and listen on the trail.  But it is NICER to be able to strap him in and enjoy it for yourself.  He’s too big for it; I know.  And I’m hell-bent on him not riding in it any longer.  Go ahead and judge.  There are some things I just don’t care if people think I’m parenting incorrectly… And the backpack is one of those things.  But the time has come.  Now it is just about getting Nathan on board as well…

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We hiked the Emerald Pools trail up to the middle pools.  It was pretty well-traveled (which was a bit of a bummer), but once we settled in for a snack next to one of the pools, it was all forgotten.  Most folks turned back at the lower pools and we had relative peace and quiet while we noshed on Pop Tarts.


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After we got into areas where Nathan could contain his overprotective side, we were nearly back to the Zion National Park Lodge.


We checked out the tadpoles in the stream… (While balancing on one leg)

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Just in front of the Lodge, an enormous tree shades an even bigger lawn.  All of us were starving and we headed inside to have our first sit-down meal of our entire trip.  Naturally, we smelled (and ate) like livestock.  But everyone was happy.


Alice had a hard time containing her excitement; it was the first time where both kids had room to run and play without either of their parents trying to keep them from getting lost in a crowd or plummeting to their deaths.  All four of us were pretty happy, come to think about it.

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After having absolutely nothing to do but run and scream for nearly an hour, we packed up the kids and headed back to the visitors center.  After getting a couple of little souvenirs, we headed back to the car.  The moment I realized I probably should have drunk more water was when I caught myself waving to a dog in an RV…  Which I immediately realized was only a sticker of a dog.  One of my prouder moments.

After driving through to the other end of the park, we wisely decided to crash at a hotel for the night.  One with hot showers, soft beds and an endless supply of drinking water.

Next stop…  Arches National Park.