Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Zion: Day 2

Today we planned to do a loop through Arizona and hit several stops along the way before ending with a stop in Zion. We got up early, which we always do, and were the first ones at the hotel's breakfast bar at 7am. By 7:35 we were on the road.
The view over Hurricane was pretty early in the morning!
We started out heading southeast into Arizona. Our first stop was Pipe Spring National Monument, which is an old Mormon fort built right smack in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at 8:35, just 5 minutes after opening and in time to see a few bunnies hoping around, but only the garbage man was there. He confirmed that they opened at 8:30, but, sadly, it was only 7:30-- we'd crossed the border and were now on Arizona time, which doesn't include daylight savings. So what should we do with an hour in the middle of nowhere?
The boys were thrilled with all the bunnies we saw hopping around.
We decided to drive to Kanab, which was about 20 minutes away because we had made a few contingency plans there. We ended up at a place called Little Hollywood Museum. It was a free site that had a bunch of old movie facades and paraphenalia from movies that had been shot in and around Kanab. If we'd recognized any of the pieces, or actually even seen any of the movies mentioned, it probably would have been a lot cooler, but the boys had a good time looking at the old rundown buildings anyway.
We make fabulous old west stars!
Dax is a pretty good corpse.
Everyone had to take a turn driving the horse!
The boys had a lot of fun exploring this museum even if dad was a little down on it!
After a half hour or so, we turned around and headed back to Pipe Spring. We really enjoyed the tour of the monument, and of course, the kids earned Junior Ranger badges. It was Seth's first official badge, even though he's received a few honorary badges in the past, and he was pretty excited. The monument is a pioneer fort built in the 1870s right over the top of the only major spring in the valley. The fort is two stories high and has thick walls with slots to fire guns in case of an attack. Our guide, a member of the Paiute tribe surprised us by telling us that the Mormons weren't worried about the Indians. Rather they called Pipe Spring "Brigham's Last Bastian" meaning that this was the place he'd run if the federal government chased him from the territory. We enjoy pioneer stuff, so the fort was really cool. They walked us through all the rooms and showed us the telegraph, the refrigeration room (cooled by the spring) as well as bedrooms and the kitchen. Mom got the chance to play the pump organ which was pretty fun. She couldn't believe it still worked, but everyone on the tour insisted that she play. We also saw a lizard hiding on the 2nd floor and Seth had to run back twice and make sure he was there. This fort is extra cool, figuratively and literally, because the lower level is built right into the hillside, so it is nice and cool inside.
You can see how it is built into the mountainside.
It is a fascinating place. The lizard is right below Seth's feet in a hole.
Here's mom trying to figure out the organ.
The grounds near the spring are very pretty.
There are some large cows and a few horses to see.
Seth and Dax really wanted to find the chickens, but we never saw them.
After an hour and a half, we turned around and drove back to Kanab. There was a nice little park that we wanted to have lunch at, so Dad chased the boys around the park while Mom made lunch. Then we spread a blanket out and had a pleasant picnic before heading up the road to our next adventure.

The park was beautiful!

The boys are such good travelers.

Though Dad had been to Pipe Spring about 30 years ago (or at least the Kaibab Reservation) none of us had ever been to Coral Pink Sand Dune State Park. We weren't really sure what to expect other than sand, so we had a few beach toys with us. After handing in the Junior Ranger booklets we printed out and completed last week, we headed off to the sand, which was orange rather than pink. Though most people in the park were cruising around on ATVs, our boys were super-happy to play in the biggest sandbox in Utah. (Seth was actually disappointed when there wasn't a box.) We spent a few hours digging, burying boys, and even sledding down the dunes. The sand was as soft as powdered sugar, and if you dug down just two inches it was cool and moist enough to cohere into a sandcastle. Mom sat cooling her feet for the better part of an hour. Best of all, the boys nearly cried when we left, so we knew this was a successful adventure.
We dug in the sand for a long time. 
Mom loved how soft and fine the sand was.
Dax had fun rolling in the sand--he was covered by the time we left!
Everyone had a great time getting buried.
Mom and Dad mostly enjoyed putting their feet in the cooler sand down below.
Sledding was definitely everyone's favorite part. Luckily someone felt sorry for us and
let us borrow their sled for a few minutes.
Mark and Dax wanted to go a million times.
And they loved crashing!
Seth was also a huge fan of sledding. He went with Mom and Dad!
Mark got the lucky chance to go by himself one time!
We had a few more stops along the loop. The next one was in Orderville at a small slot canyon called Red Hollow. This one was truly off the beaten path, though we found out that Melanie, who is staying in Cedar City with family explored it earlier in the day. After a short hike along a dry wash, we found ourselves entering a very narrow slot canyon. There were some short climbs that we helped Seth, and sometimes Mark and Dax up, but mostly it was just twisty-turny and very narrow. The entire hike was only about a half mile, but we had an amazing time, and we didn't even get stranded or break any ankles. Mom had planned this hike just for Dax--he loves exploring slot canyons.
Dax has to explore every nook and cranny no matter where we are. Wonder where he got that gene?
Randy found a fossil.
The walls started out about this far apart, but they narrowed down quite a bit.
This was the hardest part to get past, but we made it.
You can see Dax in a spot where the walls are closer.
Seth feels so big when he can climb and do things the older boys do.
The canyon was beautiful!
It was one of Mom and Dax's favorites.
That left us with a drive from Orderville back over to Hurricane through Zion. We didn't do any stopping, just cruised through the tunnel, which the boys thought was about the most amazing thing ever. We also saw a huge herd of desert bighorn sheep complete with their spring babies, which Mom thought was the most amazing thing she'd ever seen. We can't wait to go back tomorrow morning and actually spend a little time in Zion!
The sheep crossed right in front of us!!
There were lots of babies, and yes, mom LOVES to see baby animals!
We saw them in two different spots!
We didn't get back to the hotel until about 7pm, and we still had dinner scheduled. This time, though, we did something a little different. We brought along the griddle and some prepared taco meat. Mom cooked up some fresh tortillas here in the hotel room, and we ate right at the little table. It actually worked really well. We'll see if the eggs and pancakes are as perfect tomorrow....

1 comment:

  1. The sand dunes are our all-time favorite activity to do in St George! We go every time!! We were there Tuesday morning so we must have just missed you!


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