Monday, October 17, 2005

A Place of Sanctuary

That is what Zion means and that is what Zion is. I mean look at that scenery above. How can you not feel awe in a place like that! Our camping trip was wonderful, despite two of the expected families not making it and our getting rained on Saturday night. Our missing members were not there due to chicken pox and head colds. Bummer! The rain might have dampened our gear, but not our spirits.

We left around 10:30 am on Friday and with one stop for lunch and a time zone change, we arrived at 3pm. One family was already there and the other showed up shortly after. We all set up our tents and stuff while the kids ran around the site and explored. They were all eager to go hiking, so once we had it all set up, we decided to head down to the river to explore. It was a relatively short walk through the campground to the river and we found a spot with a sandy beach to check out the river from. They call it a river, but it was more like a creek. E brought her net and tried her hand at catching critters with it. She only caught a water bug, but had fun nonetheless. A's "boyfriend" found her a stone that was shaped like a heart (she is holding it in the picture to the left). Later E found another heart-shaped rock. Several of the little kids got wet playing in the cold water and the sun was going down, so we headed back to camp to get dinner.

We all had a bite to eat and the kids ran around playing while the parents chatted. My girls had not wanted to go without our reading time, so we brought Harry along with us. I offered to read to the whole group of kids and they all gathered around to listen. It did not matter that it was the fourth book in a series and we were halfway into it. They all enjoyed it anyway.

Saturday dawned bright and beautiful. After breakfast, everyone but one mom and her baby, headed up the hill behind our site for a little hike. We climbed up a trail that led us up on top of a small ridge. The views from the top were spectacular! As you can see from this picture of the kids on the right! A could have climbed all day. She wanted to keep going UP, but we grownups were not prepared to go that far away or to climb that intensely. So, we headed back down, taking a different route to satisfy the kids need to explore. Lunch was had, the kids ran around, parents chatted and we decided to go to the park museum. This required a walk to the buses that take you up and down the canyon, and a ride to the museum. There was a movie that covers the history, geologically and socially, of the canyon that we wanted to see. It was a very small museum and the kids were done in about five minutes, so they went outside to play until the next movie started. I think the kids all enjoyed the movie. It was quite good. But, A took the cake. She kept saying over and over, "That was so cool!" It had lots of shots of the wildlife of the park and so I assumed that was what she enjoyed most, but she said it was the scenes of how the rocks were formed and eroded that she thought was coolest. Made her rockhound Mama proud!

We took the bus back to the campsite and hung out for a bit. The moms drove into town to get ice and check out the shops. While we were gone, it started to rain. When we got back, the guys had the kids in the tents because it was coming down pretty hard. There were thunderheads all around and we got the brunt of a few of them for the rest of the night. One family, who had slept in their van, and therefore had no tent to take down, decided to go home. It was just the mom with three kids and I don't blame her! The rest of us made the best of it. We hung out in our tents and enjoyed our families until we got hungry enough to venture out to see about dinner. It actually stopped raining enough for us to light a fire in the grill and cook some brats and hot dogs. I swear that was the best brat I have ever had! The kids all piled into the other family's van to watch Sharkboy and Lavagirl, which they had brought on DVD. The mom and I sat in the front seats and talked, while C and the dad sat at the "fire" and talked and roasted marshmallows until an early bedtime for all.

Even though it rained off and on all night, by morning it was sunny and nice. That was a great relief, since we had to pack up and check out. We all pitched in to make a nice pancake breakfast and then packed it all up. The kids played nicely while we got that done. We said our goodbyes and headed home. The girls wanted to stop at one of the shops in town to buy rocks, so we did. E got a rose quartz heart with her own money and A got a shark tooth fossil and a dolphin carved of Arizona gold stone with hers. I also got a couple cool rocks, a chunk of aragonite, from who knows where, and a cut and polished cube of rhyolite, which was native.

We got home about 3pm and had a very nice afternoon and evening together, unpacking and relaxing. In the mail was a movie from Netflix, Because of Winn Dixie, so we watched that together. That was a sweet ending to a sweet weekend!

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