Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trips: Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion

Get ready, darlings, this post is long. 


What is there to say about the Grand Canyon that hasn’t already been said?

Or more to the point, what can you possibly say about this canyon that will give the reader a proper idea of how vast, deep, and utterly astonishing this geologic marvel really is?

It’s indescribable.


This was my first time at the canyon and I’m still struggling to find a way to sum it up. Perhaps this is best: go visit for yourself. And while you’re at it, be sure to spend time in Bryce and Zion too, ‘cause they’re equally awesome.


Yes, we put Ben on a leash. Yes, we got funny looks. And yes, it was totally worth the peace of mind.



We also stopped at the nearby drive-through Bearizona for a bit o’ wildlife viewing.




And then it was time for Page, Arizona. 

What’s in Page, you ask? Well, not much. It’s what’s outside of Page that is astonishing. 



Specifically, Lower Antelope Slot Canyon.


I think this just might have to be our Christmas card. 




The light in the canyon is incredible. These pictures are completely unedited. 




A bit of dexterity is required as there are some steep ladders to ascend/descend to access the canyon.


And, it should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyway: this is flash flood country and it is a very real threat. The Navajo Nation (who owns the land) keeps pretty close tabs on the property following a flood that claimed the lives of 11 hikers in 1997. Wherever you go, be aware and be safe, especially with kids in tow.

The other cool geologic feature outside of Page is Horseshoe Bend, a spot where the Colorado Rivers winds its way through Glen Canyon.



Getting a good shot is difficult, given the massive area and 1,000 foot cliffs cloaking the river below.


The wide angle lens makes it look like we’re right on the edge. 



Not the case; we were pretty far back. No place to let the kiddies out for a romp, however.



The Grand Canyon was enormous, Horseshoe Bend was a little freaky, Antelope Canyon was magical, and Bryce was our favorite:

Welcome to Hoodoo Country!






Don’t stand under one of these babies during an earthquake.




Hike down the Queen’s Garden Trail. The highlight of our time in Bryce. Not to be missed. 






Or better yet, do it on horseback! (see below)



Hoodoo tunnel. Not an ideal size for the tall folk of the family. 








Coming back up Wall Street: One hell of a climb. Nine switchbacks are visible; there are probably twice that many total.






Hey! Probably the only picture we have of everyone looking at the camera. It’s a festivus miracle!




A good hike for the smalls: Willis Slot Canyon, outside of Bryce.









Zion was chaotic and busy but unique in a completely different way than Bryce.


We spent our last full day hiking “The Narrows”, a walk through a canyon carved by the Virgin River as it heads south to join the mighty Colorado.




The water levels are pretty low currently which was good and bad. The famed Emerald Pools were practically dry (below) yet the hike up through the Narrows was nice and shallow. Always a plus when you’re carry the wee ones. I don’t think Emma would have taken kindly to a river swim.








Little Em doesn’t appear in many of the pictures...rest assured, our little gal is always present, usually chewing on the backpack straps (teething stinks!) or snoozing away the miles. She’s a great travel companion. 


Preparing for our walk up the river.



tap, tap. Is this thing on?


Check out our sexy water shoes and neoprene booties. Also, a walking stick was a must for navigating the deeper pools. 

It’s also pretty cool in the canyon: note the warm clothes that the kiddies are sporting. 






Typical. We hike into an amazing spot and both kids are asleep.



Lovely picture, except for the fact that the photographer’s mits are in the shot.




Ben got his cowboy on and did a little bareback riding.


Giddyup!!


And there you have it, my dears. Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion, all wrapped up. 



Happy exploring, 

Sonja

PS:

I’ve gotten a few questions on the backpack carriers we use for the kids. Links to Emma’s are here and Ben’s is here. We love them both and have used them extensively on the trails. 

The Beco is wonderful for babies. We start them out in front facing us and then move them to the back at about six months. 

Ben’s Deuter is nice because it can be adjusted for short and tall parents, which allows Chris and I to switch wearers. Although since Ben is 35+ pounds, Chris wears it all the time now. :)