Sunday, December 22, 2019

within the familiar - so why?



Why did I stop writing?

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The last 20 months have been quite full and yet it all just seemed to fly by. I never truly made any real choices or set any goals.... it all just happened. 
Maybe that was the real problem! I did not fully participate, I just let it happen around me. I need to do better moving forward.

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During these last 20 months:

2 Rosie birthdays have passed.
2 summers filled with markets for rose:joe every weekend (June - Sept) meaning lots of prep and sewing to make that happen. And that has been quite enjoyable!
I was actually in 3 separate gallery shows! 
We had 3 POD visits to Horseneck Beach, countless trips to P-town and the Cape, as well as a few weeks on Pine Island last January.
I taught for a full semester at the University of Rhode Island and designed a show for them.
I had one solo trip to Merida.
We continued to work on the Airstream, added a deck to the back of Ty and Amy’s home, and I did
lots of gardening including adding a large veggie garden and 7 yards of new mulched areas.

And, lest I forget, the last 6+ months of pain and discomfort in my right hip and leg that has rendered me to adopt a “Granpappy Amos” gait! Not pretty. Finally that distraction is - slowly - getting resolved as I work my way through chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, xrays, cortisone shots, physical therapy and anything else I can do to get better! Not giving up on this one!! 

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So, all in all, it has been a jam packed, busy, family filled last 20 months! And it’s all been fun and terrific - but I missed the opportunity to reflect upon it all. I do have the photos to go back and reflect upon - catching all those perfect Rosie moments of discovery and joy, but for my own self I do feel that I need to take back control; set goals and fulfill them.... for me.

❤️



Saturday, November 16, 2019

within the familiar - a promise of sorts




you never know what you are looking for ..... until you say it out loud!

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I don’t know where the time went or why I stopped writing. I didn't make a conscious decision to stop, but..... I just realized that it’s been 20 months since I last made an entry!

This realization actually comes at a very important time; a time that I am finding myself at odds, unsettled, and once again feeling like I need to wrest control - set some goals again. And the best way forward (for me) is to take the time to observe each moment, look to the future, wrestle with my own limitations and strengths and write about all of it. 

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So as we ease into the closing of 2019 I am setting my first goal for 2020: 
To commit to write more in this blog - to be present and to reflect.


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Thursday, March 29, 2018

in the POD - following the sun!

finding a spot in the sun
Pine Island, FL

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As we headed south out of SW Colorado we quickly came to the conclusion that what we really needed was some sunshine before returning to the cold and SNOW that was still blanketing New England.
We called Claudia and Kim and begged for a spot in their yard! 
Driving 8-10 hours a day with bedtime truck stops in Albuquerque, NM, Fort Smith, AR, and Midway, FL we arrived on Pine Island on a perfect 78 degree afternoon. 
☀️

Just as we had hoped!!


 a much needed refreshing cocktail in the sun!

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We pretty much just vegged out that first day and a half - catching up on sleep and getting over the stress of the long driving hours in the POD. Our hosts fed us, along with quite a few other visitors from Minnesota and Arkansas! This "campground" is getting very busy!

bike ride and the colors of the morning

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Eventually we returned to form and shared in all the kitchen duties - including making dinners for 8-10 of pizza, ribs, and clam chowder. It is always a group effort at Camp Larson/Rossi and this time was no exception - with a few more willing hands added to the mix. We got to know some new friends, Kim and James (from Fayetteville, AR), who were also camping in the yard! It is so much fun meeting new people that you immediately connect with.


Sunday boating through the mangroves

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it was a perfect day for dolphins!

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The weather was absolutely perfect while we were there - mid 70's to mid 80's during the day and cool at night for sleeping. Being back on the island warmed us and refreshed us but by the end of the week we felt like we needed to move on. We were both ready to be home ... and yet we were still a bit wary of the weather we might be facing.

3 sets of manatee moms and pups visiting the dock

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So we decided to make a few more stops in Florida and check out some other state parks.
Kissimmee Prairie Reserve State Park is 54,000 acres protecting the largest remaining stretch of Florida dry prairie. Just north west of Lake Okeechobee it is home to a number of endangered birds and offers one of the darkest night skies in Florida. The park has over 100 miles of hiking, biking and horse trails to explore.


 Kissimmee Prairie Reserve State Park

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We stayed in the horse camping area which was separated from the main campground, had larger and more shaded camp spots, was more remote and included a paddock for those trailering their horse. Basically it was a perfect campground! Although, sadly,  there were no horses present while we were there .......

 Kissimmee Prairie Reserve State Park

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This park is really remote - probably an hour drive to the closest anything! And once you enter the park it is a 5 mile drive to the ranger station and campground. The sweeping grasslands that surrounded us were beautiful and it was soooooo quiet. We were so glad that we had made this choice  and we're already planning to prepare ourselves with a few good books for next winter's visit here.


Hiking trails
 Kissimmee Prairie Reserve State Park

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Hiking trails
 Kissimmee Prairie Reserve State Park

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Our next stop was Tomoka State Park located on the Tomoka River estuary and basin in Ormond Beach, FL. Known for its canoeing, fishing and bird watching the park is only a few miles from the barrier island, Ormond Beach with its restaurants, shopping and other visitor sights.


Tomoka State Park
Ormond Beach, FL

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 This was another great find for us! There were close to 100 camping spots in this park but it felt so much smaller and each site was nestled in among the hardwood hammock that graced the entire park.  Down along the river, the park store offers canoe, kayak and paddle board rentals as well as local draft beer! This was the first state park we have ever been in that actually sold beer - and it was on draft! Definitely a keeper!

 Campground at Tomoka State Park
Ormond Beach, FL

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 Campground at Tomoka State Park
Ormond Beach, FL

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We have been thoroughly enjoying all this sunshine - but it is now time to head home.
We're ready.
And we miss Rosie!

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Road Trip '18 - Roundup

@ 3 months on the road
26 nights in campgrounds
38 nights in friends' driveways/yards
14 nights in truck stops
9 nights in a hotel (due to illness) or condos (family vacation time)

8 National Parks
Temperature range: 3 degrees - 80 degrees
@ 12,000 miles




Friday, March 16, 2018

in the POD - on top of a mesa

click on and look close - there is a village in there!
Mesa Verde National Park

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After the family left we decided to visit Mesa Verde National Park in SW Colorado. The drive was easy thru Indian reservations on high mountain plains. We passed thru Navajo, Hopi and Ute territory and encountered red clay hoodoos that looked like giant hand formed sculptures - standing tall like sentinels of the desert. We passed towering mesas of stone with alluvial skirts flowing out beneath them. The southwest is so beautiful  and varied and so difficult to describe. I adore the vastness and the palette. It affects me at my core. It is similar, for me, in scope, as to sitting at the front windows of Windmill Lane and looking out over the bay. To look at the vastness of the earth spread out before you. Moving, changing with the light and going on forever. 

Mesa Verde National Park was created in 1906 to preserve the architectural heritage of the ancient Pueblo people. And it was women who engaged in the campaign to inform the public and members of Congress about the need to preserve the cliff dwellings and protect this rich cultural heritage. Lucy Peabody and Virginia McClurg were the voices and Mary Tileston Hemenway, a Boston socialite, gave the money to begin preservation efforts. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act creating Mesa Verde as a national park.

heading up a mesa
Mesa Verde National Park

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We drove to the top of a mesa!
I had always thought that mesa tops were flat, dead ... like something ended there.
Hell no! 
We climbed another 2,000' and there was an entirely new ecosystem there.... a new world that actually looked down on the high prairie below. It blew my mind.   What was it like living up here in the mesa? Entire communities lived and flourished here for over 700 years and then in the late 1200's they left - and no one is exactly sure why. But their legacy remains and it is incredible.

       
click on and look close - there is a village in there!
Mesa Verde National Park

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The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde are astonishing. We only got to look at them from afar but they are, none the less, exquisite to look at. How did they do it? Create each brick within the cleave of the cliff? Bring it in? There are many "villages" scattered on the two mesas within the park and many archeological sites that are still being examined. 

Between April and October one can purchase ranger guided tours into the some of the cliff dwellings - which might have been interesting in terms of scale - but I did like seeing them from afar and imagining. But the most important thing is that each and every one of these sites, including the remains of numerous earlier pit houses that have been discovered are being preserved. 

This is our National Park system!

This is what keeps us connected to our SHARED heritage!
Please do not let anyone take this away from future generations.

This is important!


colors of the high desert
Mesa Verde National Park

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

in the POD - family adventure part 3

Navajo Point looking down on the Colorado River
Grand Canyon National Park

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Part 3 - Grand Canyon National Park

Desert View Watchtower
Grand Canyon National Park

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It was around 4 pm when we arrived at the east entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. This 22 mile stretch along the eastern rim can only be reached by car as none of the park shuttle busses service this area. Our first stop was at Desert View and Navajo Point - at 7,461’ it is the highest viewpoint in the park. Both of these spots offer amazing views of the canyon and one of the only full views of the Colorado River below! Desert View Watchtower is a circular 4 story stone building designed by the architect Mary Colter who also created and designed many other buildings in the park. Completed in 1932, the tower was designed to resemble early Pueblo watchtowers. There are 2 large balcony patios and the top interior floor provides 360 degree views of the canyon. Inside the walls are decorated with murals by Fred Kabootie and Fred Greer. 
Needless to say, it was a beautiful visual introduction to the canyon! 


Rim Trail
Grand Canyon National Park

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We settled into our room/camp within the park - Tyler, Amy and Rosemarie were staying at the Yavapai Lodge while Tim and I were at the Village Campground - happy to be back in the POD. After the initial shock of realizing that we had absolutely no way to communicate with each other - FYI, the Grand Canyon does not have that much in the way of WIFI!!!! - Tim and I proceeded to head to the kids’ hotel room to make dinner plans the old fashion way - in person. Dinner was a grave disappointment as the cafeteria style “restaurant” in the hotel was both lackluster and overpriced for what it was. At least they had craft beers and Rosie had a good time! 
*note - there are 2 other actual restaurants within the park; one at El Tovar which is upscale, white table cloth and probably not a good choice for a 2 year old and one at Bright Angel, a shuttle ride from where we were.


just exploring....
Grand Canyon National Park

The park did have a market with a good selection of fresh and prepared foods as well as beer, wine, and liquor. And the market had the ONLY free WIFI connection in the entire park.  We vowed we would make our own meals for the rest of our stay. 

Rim Trail
Grand Canyon National Park

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The kids picked us up at the campground around 8:30 the next morning and we plotted our day. We began at Yavapai Point and Geology Museum. The museum gave us a general overview of the canyon’s formation and there was a scale model of the canyon. Most importantly Rosie got to touch a lot of rocks. We proceeded to walk the rim trail heading west from there taking in all the spectacular views. Geology exhibits and a time line are posted along the trail, helping to point out specific formations and geologic events. Rosemarie continued to be a trooper; hiking and finding benches to sit on and rocks to look at. 


Rosemarie deciding that crawling was the new hiking!
Grand Canyon National Park

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By the time we hit the main Village area it was lunch/rest time and we took the shuttle back. This was arguably Rosie’s favorite part of the Grand Canyon … riding “the school bus”. 

another bench, another snack
El Tovar, Grand Canyon National Park

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After lunch we headed back out to walk the rim to the east of the Geology Museum. And, once again, Rosie fell asleep during the short car ride. This time Ty stayed with her and napped. At the end of the day the weather began to turn on us. Clouds arrived and the rains came. 

When the weather is cooperating picnic lunches and dinners around the POD work out just fine - but the weather now added a new wrinkle to the logistics! 4 adults and a 2 year old in a 19’x 6’ space that has approximately 25 sq ft of actual floor area….. crazy. And yet - we did it! Skirt steak tostadas for Tim and Tyler and salmon tostadas for Amy and I. Rosemarie dined on chick peas, cucumber, cheese and whatever she asked to try from our plates. Sometimes you just have to roll with it and the best is achieved.


Geologic layers
Grand Canyon National Park

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The Grand Canyon is spectacular; over 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. Its colors are as varied as the geologic forces that shaped it. Two billion years of colliding, drifting, and the relentless forces of nature have created a masterpiece. 


Our second full day in the park turned out to be a very cloudy one - on a number of fronts. There were clouds hanging low over and down into the canyon; beautiful in their own way and as they shifted small vistas would suddenly be exposed. Peek-a-boo. And Tyler was concerned that the impending New England snow storm would, once again, impact their flight. We shuttled back to the Village area and using El Tovar’s grand, yet rustic lobby as his base Tyler began rearranging flights. Damn. They would now need to fly home early the next morning in order to beat the snow storm - missing another full day in the park. 
Deep breath.


Rim Trail in clouds
Grand Canyon National Park


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We visited the Hopi House, another of Mary Colter’s designs, which is a gallery of Native American art and souvenirs and continued west on the rim trail from the Village stopping at Old Studio and the lookout point there, visited the Train Depot so Rosie could have up close and personal time with “Thomas” (which she was thrilled with).

After lunch Ty, Amy and the baby went back to do the part of the trail he had missed. They returned there again after dinner when the fog and clouds cleared - and were able to watch a spectacular sunset! 

Our final dinner in the POD that night was Green Chili Shakshuka - needless to say we got the tight quarters worked out by this point. It was sad knowing that our vacation with them was over but also knowing that we all had such a good time. As we sat there eating and talking Rosie looked up from her mac and cheese and said simply…. “Rosie, so happy.”

It was a perfect ending.


Rosemarie at El Tovar
Grand Canyon National Park

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

in the POD - family adventure part 2

family on the trail
Bryce Canyon

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Part 2 - Bryce Canyon National Park

and when a toddler decides she needs to sit.....
Bryce Canyon

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Bryce was the quietest of all the parks we have ever visited - and one of the most stunning! There was a silence that I felt in my deepest core; the silence of awe inspiring beauty and the silence of contentedness. The silence of watching what time - wind, erosion, and natural elements can do to the geology of an area. The expanses of hoodoos and other weather worn geologic formations was, in no uncertain terms, CRAZY! And seeing it blanketed with snow only emphasized the curves, nooks, and depth of its formation. It was haunting, it was beautiful, it was calming, and it was invigorating…. 

hoodoos forever!
Bryce Canyon

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giving up on a toddler hiking
Bryce Canyon

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We walked the Rim Trail from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point. Not so far but at a 2 year old pace …. Rosie was interested in every rock she found, every snow patch, and every bench - especially the ones that sat precariously close to the edge! We watched the light change on the formations as the day progressed allowing us to see new vistas and hidden canyons. We watched hikers in the canyon far below and traced their paths. The canyons were mesmerizing. 

requisite selfie
Bryce Canyon

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We attempted to walk Tower Bridge Trail which descended into the canyon for a bit, but unfortunately we had to turn around after a mile or so because it got much too muddy and slippery. We were all okay with that. We tried. 

Tower Bridge Trail
Bryce Canyon

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Bryce Canyon

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We headed back to the Home Away rental we had for two nights - for lunch and for some down time. At this point we knew that Rosemarie was not going to nap but “rest time” was an important component we needed to preserve. The 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit was upstairs from the owners’ home. It had a rustic, wide open living/kitchen space which Rosie felt comfortable running around and exploring. The central, large wooden table and benches were a perfect space to share stories and meals. 


more and more hoodoos
Bryce Canyon

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After our mid day respite we headed to Mossy Cave Trail, a Bryce Canyon trail located just outside the official park area. By the time we got there Rosie had fallen asleep in her carseat and Tim decided he would stay with her in the car and nap as well! Ty, Amy and myself continued on and hiked in the mile or so stream side path up to an ice filled cave and a separate path to a half frozen waterfall. It was out first opportunity to view the hoodoos and canyons from below and it was spectacular! 

Mossy Cave Trail
Bryce Canyon

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 Looking up from Mossy Cave Trail
Bryce Canyon

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Ty and Amy on Mossy Cave Trail
Bryce Canyon

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That night we made veggie and tofu yellow curry for dinner and everyone, once agin, settled in for an early bedtime. In the morning we packed up and said our goodbyes to the cows and pigs across the road and headed south on Rt 89 south into Arizona. On the way we stopped at the Orderville Mine Rock Shop for souvenirs and althou Rosie filled a small pouch of polished stones she was actually more enthralled by the tiny stones along the walkways.

Vermillion Cliffs
Arizona

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It was a beautiful drive south thru Kanab, UT and into Arizona along Rt 89A. We skirted the Vermillion Cliffs, spectacularly crimson, and stopped for a picnic lunch at Marble Canyon overlooking the Colorado River. This was the site of Lee’s Ferry, created in the late 1800’s as a ferry service for Mormon settlers crossing the river and heading to Arizona. Now there is the Navajo Bridge - which affords great views of the river below.

Navajo Bridge
Arizona

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Looking down on the Colorado River
Navajo Bridge, Arizona

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We were headed to the Grand Canyon - entering the park through its east entrance along state highway 64.




    




Monday, March 12, 2018

in the POD - family adventure part 1

Riverside Walk
Zion National Park, Utah

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Part 1 - Zion National Park

Our family adventure began ominously and ended a bit earlier than planned (damn New England weather!) - but everything in between was “practically perfect in every way.”

heading to Lower Emerald Pool 
Zion National Park, Utah

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 Mule deer
Zion National Park, Utah

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Rosie saying the mule deer
Zion National Park, Utah

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A nor’easter of rain and snow delayed Tyler, Amy and Rosemarie’s arrival at Zion by 2 days! Tim and I wandered aimlessly around the 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath condo we had rented. There was so much space we kept loosing each other!  We filled our time stocking up on food, reading and taking short driving trips around the area while trying to figure out how to fit 3 days worth of activities into less than 2. 

part of the climb to Upper Emerald Pool
Zion National Park, Utah

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The kids finally arrived at the end of the day on Monday. We cooked dinner, planned out the next 2 days, and got to bed early. After an early breakfast everyone was ready to hit Zion National Park! Zion is the 3rd most visited national park. This majestic canyon can be seen from the 2 lane, approximately 12 mile scenic drive  - but there are lots of trails- from easy to strenuous - that take you deeper into the park. 

starting out
Zion National Park, Utah

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Our first hike of the day was the Lower and Upper Emerald Pool Trails. Lower Emerald Pool takes you under a waterfall with the first of the emerald pools at its base. Upper Emerald Pool Trail continues on from there and ends at the base of a cliff with its namesake pool. The waterfall was partly icy; dripping  and misting us as we skirted under it. Rosie LOVED it! Waterfall became her new favorite word - at least for our time at this park. She listened carefully for the sound of water as we continued our climb. At each spot that we rested she found tiny waterfalls and had to put her hands in every one!
climbing to Upper Emerald Pool
Zion National Park, Utah

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Each of these trails is only just over a mile each. However, while the Lower Trail is paved, it is steep in spots and the Upper Trail was sandy, very rocky, narrow and steep. But the large pool and surrounding boulders at the top of the hike was like a sanctuary. Peaceful. And Rosie spied a squirrel - her first of the trip - and was mesmerized. 

waterfall at Lower Emerald Pool
Zion National Park, Utah

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We were so fortunate to have such terrific weather for our days at Zion. Each morning was chilly starting out, maybe high 40’s and very dry but it warmed up quickly - especially after hiking a few miles! 

After 3 hours of hiking we took a well needed break for a picnic lunch. We had hoped that Rosemarie would take a nap after lunch - but that was NOT happening today. After a few futile attempts we all caved in and just moved on to our next adventure!!

Riverside Walk
Zion National Park, Utah

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The Narrows
Zion National Park, Utah

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Riverside Walk and the Temple of Sinawava was next up. This 2+ mile trail follows the Virgin River along a narrow canyon and led to the start of The Narrows; where one could walk for 9 miles into the slot canyon beyond while wading in as much as 4’ of water. Alas, we chose not to do that with a toddler.
Of course we encountered many more squirrels - which Rosie was on the look out for - and we did see a Mule Deer! This was a beautiful hike; the sound of the rushing river and the red/ochre canyon walls rising up around us was magical. And seeing it together, as a family, made it even more special. 

By this point Rosemarie needed some actual rest time and, surprisingly enough, we did too. 
a worn out hiker!
Zion National Park, Utah

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We went out for a delicious dinner at The Whiptail Grill.  Sitting outside (under some heat lamps) we dined on burrittos, tacos, chili rellanos and a good variety of local brews. We all felt like we deserved our meal tonight! As we ate we watched the surrounding cliffs turn bright red as the sun set. 


dinner out
Zion National Park, Utah

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Our next day began with the Weeping Rock Trail, a short but very steep climb up to a rock alcove with dripping springs. We then headed to the Visitor Center to see the displays, buy postcards, and allow Rosie to say hi and goodbye to all the stuffed animals. After another picnic lunch we would head to the condo we had rented near Bryce Canyon setting up the perfect opportunity for the baby to actually nap in her car seat. 

Weeping Rock
Zion National Park, Utah

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the family at Weeping Rock
Zion National Park, Utah

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Ty and Amy at Weeping Rock
Zion National Park, Utah

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Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, built in the 1920’s, connects Zion Canyon to the east side of the park and out to Rt 89 heading north to Bryce Canyon. The 2 lane road twists and turns its way up and out from the canyon floor. The views are brilliant and scary! At the summit, around 7,000’, there is a 1 mile tunnel through the mountain. It is barely 2 lanes wide, maybe 12’ high and very dark except for the carved out ”windows” every 100 yds or so. Once through the tunnel and down the back side of the mountain the topography changed completely. The lushness of the canyon was replaced by dry desert plains.


Rosie in her favorite seat in the POD
Zion National Park, Utah

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Next stop.....
Bryce Canyon National Park!