This year for Spring Break, we decided to go to Las Vegas, and Zion. We have a considerable amount of family in the area, Noel’s mom is buried there, and we love the desert. We debated whether or not to fly or drive and ended up buying plane tickets. Then as the trip drew near we debated the decision again. (We were flying Southwest so we easily could have cancelled the flights and banked the points for another trip.) After lots of pros and cons lists and compulsive weather checking, we decided to stick with the original plan and fly. (We also wondered, who are we that we are reconsidering our plans just days before a trip?) We flew into Vegas late on a Tuesday night. Annie and Greg (Noel’s cousin and her fiancée) kindly picked us up and housed us for the night. The next day, we picked up our rental car and officially began our trip.
After picking up some supplies, we drove to Springdale, UT. We stayed at the Marriott there thanks to a family connection. (A connection that is totally making us soft by the way. We’ve declared that our next trip will be camping to get us back to our roots.) After a nice swim, we whipped up some microwave dinners and enjoyed them on the patio.
We took the shuttle into Zion National Park early in the morning. Once inside, we got into another line for the park shuttle.
The line was substantial. Noel and I have both been to Zion several times over the years and we still can’t get over how busy the park has become. We definitely have mixed feelings about it.
We went on a lovely hike to Echo Canyon. Even though it was a mid distance hike up steep switchbacks, there was decent traffic. We were lucky to get some pictures without anyone in them.
The trail continued on to Observation point, put we decided to save that for another day when our kids were less likely to fall off a cliff.
Next, we hopped back on the shuttle and headed up to the Narrows. Now that was a HEAVY traffic trail. The first mile is paved and it was like walking in a herd. We decided to be ever so slightly hardcore and head into the river and walk into the slot canyon a bit. Noel and I backpacked the Narrows back in college – it was a memorable experience. I kept thinking about the trip and the piece I wrote about it. In my mind, I began composing the sequel to that story about the time I took my kids into the Narrows and shared its beauty with them and we were all awed into reverent silence.
The reality was a little less poetic. We made it around a few bends before the kids were begging to go back because their feet were cold. We distanced ourselves a little bit from the crowd, but didn’t get to the really cool stuff. Maybe someday I’ll write that sequel.
We did one more short hike after that to Emerald Pools. We were tired of hiking and even more tired of people (getting away from people is usually one of our favorite parts of hiking) so we did it really fast and didn’t take any pictures.
After visiting the cemetery in Kanarraville (where Noel’s mom is buried), we met up with my brother (Spencer) and sister-in-law (Sarah) in Kolob Canyon (the quieter canyon in Zion).
We only did part of a 45 mile trail, but saw some gorgeous views and enjoyed playing in a creek.
We then visited Cedar City to check out Spencer and Sarah’s apartment and get some dinner. Cooper and Spencer played a hilarious couple of rounds of Lego Star Wars video games. (Our kids have very little exposure to video games and it shows.)
After dinner we said our goodbyes and headed back to Vegas.
Greg’s family has a tradition of launching rockets over Easter weekend. We tagged along. Both the kids thought it was really cool, especially since they got to help launch them. (Cooper’s Mad Science class launched a rocket, but they didn’t let the kids anywhere near it or the launch button.)
Back at Annie’s, we dyed eggs and were well-fed by Noel’s aunt, Brenda.
Easter Sunday, the kids did an egg hunt in Annie and Greg’s backyard. We watched General Conference and had a lovely Easter dinner with the family. (Well, lovely until Cooper threw up all over, but you know.)
We visited Noel’s Grandma Virginia in the morning and took her out to lunch, then we did some touristy things. We hit up the Container Park where the kids played in a giant tree house with slides. Then we headed to the strip and checked out the Botanic Gardens and Fountains at the Bellagio. The kids thought the strip was so cool – “Look it’s the Statue of Liberty!” “And a pyramid! (Luckily they were also easily distracted when we needed them to miss objectionable billboards).
This was our last day. We went to Hoover Dam in the morning. It was a somewhat terrifying experience for everyone except me. Apparently, I am the only one not afraid of heights.
We had lunch with John and Brenda then made our last stop: Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden. I actually thought the cactus garden was the best part.
I’m pretty sure the kids thought the chocolate factory was the best part though. We even splurged and bought some 50% off Easter candy.
Then it was time to fly home. It was lovely to spend time in the desert with family (and wear shorts!), but life was waiting. We arrived home around midnight. Everyone was exhausted and happy to be home. (And not so happy that we all had school and work the next morning, but let’s not complain too much since we did get to travel and have all sorts of adventures.)