Monday, October 8, 2012

Travelogue: Zion National Park, Utah

I've sailed out in the San Francisco Bay,
And I've seen fireworks light up the night.
I've eaten dinner with good friends,
Authentic Mexican, patio dining in the moonlight.
I've spent days skiing sunny powdered peaks,
And hiking up to Zion's where the angels land.
{Angel's Landing, Zion's National Park
Image Source}
I've dropped off cliffs into the crystal blue,
And I've set up tents on golden sand.

But all I need is you, here, falling in my arms
And me, there, subject to your charms
And I don't know if I have ever felt this way before
All I need is you
All I Need is You, Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband

Thursday, October 4, 2012
8:13 am
It's been a busy week at work, made even busier by the fact that I'm taking tomorrow off. We're going to Zion National Park. I have to say, upfront, that I'm an indoors kind of girl. But I'm really looking forward to this. Because our trip falls at a very busy time at work, I had to push my first-of-the-month tasks back a day earlier in order to make this work. This included working last Saturday, which meant I didn't get my regular Saturday chores done. I only did the essentials. I could have used that time to prepare for the trip this weekend, because there hasn't been a spare minute this week to even think of it. Until last night at midnight that is, when I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep.

Sometimes I come up with some really brilliant stuff while I'm supposed to be sleeping but can't. Other times, it's a little bit of madness. Last night I decided that we should have family pictures taken while we are in Zion's. Mr. Bug's youngest brother and his wife dabble around in photography. We were going to have them do family photos a couple of months ago, but Mr. Bug's work schedule wasn't cooperating and we had to cancel. They're going to be at Zion's. We're going to be at Zion's. There won't be any competing work schedules. Why not?

Well, for starters, I'm not sure what LadyBug and Grasshopper will wear. I have a pretty good idea for Mr. Bug and me, but not the Little Bugs. I'd need to go shopping for them. And it would have to be a miracle shopping trip, indeed, where the perfect outfits are hanging on mannequins just inside the front door of the first store I go into, because today is another long work day; perhaps the longest work day of the week, in order to get everything tied up so that I can be absent tomorrow. Aside from the outfits, LadyBug and Grasshopper both need haircuts and I need a touch-up. I've got quite a bit of silver showing at the roots. I wonder if I could pass it off as hair bling and start a new fashion trend? Perhaps not. In any case, I can do our hair. If there were enough time. But what I really wish was that my sister could come down and do all three of us.

It is probably a little unrealistic to try to squeeze in all the prep this would take. Perhaps it would be better to do it a different weekend, when I have more time to get us pulled together.

Right now, I need to get to work. Sigh. I miss my stay-at-home-mom days.


Friday, October 5, 2012
8:31 am
The occasion for our trip to Zion's is Mr. Bug's annual family reunion. I'm always a little anxious to get together with his side of the family. There are some very strong personalities; too many Chieftainesses among the sisters and sisters-in-law trying to lead the tribe {and it's catching on with some of the older grand-daughters} and the men are just content to . . . well, they're just content. Getting a group of 50 {two parents, eight children, eight spouses, and thirty-two grandchildren} to all go in the same direction is pretty much impossible. There have been some squabbles and some hurt feelings. I guess that's what family is, but it takes me a few minutes to relax once we get there. After I've had a few minutes to settle in, I always have a great time and I always feel bad that I did not enthusiastically return the warm greetings we received when we got there. My goal today is to let all my stress go in the car on the way so that I can hit the ground running.

Yesterday was a long and stressful day at work. It was apparent, after I arrived and spent an hour helping someone else with their workload before my own because no one else had the time to train them, that trying to squeeze in the necessary prep for formal family photos was not going to contribute to my overall happiness and that finding another time soon to do them was in the best interest of my mental well-being. I have to go back to work today for a couple of hours. My goal is to get done only the essentials. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that something "urgent" doesn't come up while I'm there because I know I'll have to take care of it. We still have to pack, so I really do need to get in and out quickly.

We really are a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants operation around here :lol:.

We'll pick the Little Bugs up from school and head out. It's a little under four hours, so barring any dawdling {which we are excellent at} we should get there about 7:00 tonight.


4:23 pm
We dawdled. We're finally on the road.


4:25 pm
False start. We have to stop and get gas.


4:32 pm
OK. Now we're on the way. Zion Park ETA: 8:30 pm


9:05 pm
We're here and we're settled in. We're staying just outside of Zion's, near Navajo Lake and Brian Head. One of Mr. Bug's brothers found a lodge that we could rent out in its entirety. There are six rooms each with a double or queen bed and private bathroom, and three sets of suites with a varying number of beds and sleeper couches and each with a bathroom. There is also a large common area and a nice kitchen. 49 of the 50 of us are here, which is amazing. The beds have been supplemented with cots and air mattresses. Some of the kids are sleeping on the floor, but I think we're all comfortable enough. It beats camping by a long shot.

Mr. Bug & I, along with his youngest brother and his wife {the aforementioned photographers} are in charge of breakfast for 49 tomorrow. We're doing French Toast Casserole, so it is time to put that together.


Saturday, October 6
7:46 am
My head hurts, in that old familiar left-side-only way. Seriously? Can I play the it-is-so-not-fair-that-I-have-a-migraine-today card? I've been looking forward to this trip for a while, and I'd planned to take advantage of the outdoors experience. We're hiking The Narrows today. I don't want my day spoiled. Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away.


9:45 am
Breakfast was a big success.

My head still hurts. I'm still ignoring it, but I think hiking The Narrows is out. A smaller group is going on an easier/shorter hike to Cascade Falls, and I'm going to play it safe.


11:10 am
I'm really glad we're staying in a lodge. With beds. And flushing toilets. I've never been a big fan of camping. It's not like I just don't like the idea of camping. I've been {at least once every summer between the ages of 12 and 18 and in the winter a couple of times too} and I actually don't like it. My quarrels with camping are several, the first of which is the lack of indoor plumbing, and the second of which is a lack of indoors. I have allergies, so I'm either stuffy or sneezy or runny. But I think the biggest deterrent for me is the location of the required amount of Nature to make a successful camping trip. The roads to get there are bumpy and winding and usually on an incline. I get motion sick. There wasn't much I could do about it on those camping trips as a teen, except for grin and bear the ride up the canyon. Now, it helps when I can drive, but I still usually arrive feeling queasy and uneasy. I think I equate that unpleasant feeling with camping.

Having said that, I can not deny how beautiful it is here. We're trundling down a dirt road that cuts through a large, green meadow ringed by quakies and pine trees. The colors are amazing.

LadyBug just asked when we were going to get the trail head. It seems that life is mostly about the "hurry up and get there." But the answer came to me that today it's not about getting there. Today is about enjoying the ride. That seemed to satisfy both of us.


12:00 pm
We made it to the falls. It not so much a waterfall as it is a trickle down an incline of mossy rocks. But the trail was easy and the scenery and view are amazing.

One of the things I love best about Mr. Bug is his sense of humor. A short way in along the trail, there was a lookout with two benches. They were woven like chain-link, but made of a sturdier metal. The end of one of them was seriously bent out of shape towards the ground. Someone wondered if a tree had fallen on it. Mr. Bug was certain that it was a bear. One of his greatest {irrational} fears is that we'll all be eaten by bears. I laughed a lot at the commentary he provided for the bear who bent the bench . . . those humans make such puny furniture. Ah well. I'll sit here anyway.

It might be funnier if you were there.

The lookout from the trail head is to Zion Park. The elevation here is 10,000± ft above sea level.

I cobbled together a panoramic view. It is so beautiful.


1:00 pm
We're back from the hike. I can't ignore the headache anymore. I'm checking out for the afternoon.


6:00 pm
I'm slightly annoyed that I don't have anything more interesting to talk about than my head. Nothing is helping. I'm going back to ignoring it.


9:46 pm
Dinner was excellent. There are several different board and card games going on, lots of great conversation and fun cousin interaction. This is my favorite part of getting together.


Sunday, October 7, 2012
9:55 am
When Mr. Bug and I are away from the everyday drone we make an invincible team. Life is somehow easier and we're more in sync. It has been a really relaxing time but now we're packed and ready to go home. I really did not get my fill and we're going to plan something similar soon. Perhaps Yellowstone next. If I can convince Mr. Bug the bears aren't going to eat us.

Everyone is supposed to be on the back porch in 5 minutes for a group photo. It will take at least 30 minutes to get organized.

10:45 am

Four people in attendance missed the photo shoot {and one didn't make it on the trip}, so here are 45 of us. What a handsome group! And three more babies are due between January and May!

11:07 am
We've made our goodbyes and we're headed home now. T-minus 4 hours and counting. Hopefully it will be a quiet, uneventful trip.

1:15 pm
LadyBug is carsick. She timed it nicely with the appearance of a road stop.

3:07 pm
We've been off the twisty, winding roads for two hours now. Maybe she's not carsick. Maybe she has the flu. No rest stop this time. 25 miles 'til home.

6:00 pm
Home again.
The laundry is underway.
We get to sleep in our own beds tonight.

It was nice to get away.


Terry@ a quilting blog said...

Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for sharing your trip and pics (great family shot) to Zion NP (sorry about your migraine).
Zion is my favorite NP of all, in fact we were there last Wednesday with friends and got to see a herd of longhorn sheep, along with all the beautiful scenery!

Lane said...

Elizabeth, thanks for sharing your trip and I loved how you wrote it. I couldn't wait to see what happened next. How is Ladybug? Lane

Shay said...

Whew! What a trip!

I enjoyed all the drama of getting there and every minute you shared with us. Bummer that you had a migraine for some of it.

That's one huge group of people. In my family there are nowhere near that many people!

Paulette said...

I enjoyed reading your travelogue and the gorgeous scenery. I am not a camper, so I agree with you on modern indoor accommodations. I also can relate to your husband's fear of bears. When we went to Glacier NP, I was preoccupied with it myself, but we survived! :)

mom said...

Woah that was a quick trip to a great place! I am glad you had a nice lodge to stay in and beautiful scenery all around you. I wish your pills would work as well for you as mine do for me when I get a migraine. It is such a bummer to work so hard to get a chance to get away and then your reward is a migraine.

Unknown said...

I love, love, love the blog about the trip. The pictures too.