First, I know I have missed the last two months but busy season came in with a vengeance and it has yet to pass. I am not working nearly as much as I did last year at this time, but it's still crazier than I would like. The good news is that I haven't worked even one single Sunday and only a few Saturdays. This means I've been able to go on some fun weekend trips. One of these trips is the reason for the title of this blog post.
I have been fortunate to make several weekend trips to Zion National Park in the last 5 months. Each time I am reminded of my love for the beautiful red rock canyons. There is something about it that energizes me and lifts my spirits like few things can. I find myself dancing and singing, jumping from rock to rock with endless amounts of energy. Okay, that isn't exactly what I have done, but it definitely makes me happy.
For the first trip I actually took a group of my students from BYU down to stay at my parent's house and go hike Angel's Landing. We had a great time especially doing Just Dance and Karaoke with my parents. Those are always good times. No matter how many times I hike Angel's Landing, it never gets old. The view from the top is always amazing. And yes, I'm wearing a hot pink fanny pack. Why not?
Yes some of them are wearing Deloitte gear.
The second trip of the summer was courtesy of my good friend Brent Evans. He is an experienced canyoneer-er. Two of my roommates, Shannon and Sarah came along and we met up with a group of folks from San Francisco. One of these was my 9th cousin once removed, Dave Haynie. Always good to have family along. This was an all day, in and out of water hike with repels and scrambling over rocks. I loved every minute of it. We were in wet suits because the water was still so cold. I was so grateful for those little booties that kept my toes nice and warm the whole way down the canyon.
The roommates - Shannon and Sarah
Getting ready to head up to the entry point
New best friend
She has serious skills
I love trees
A little fun on the ropes
The next trip was also courtesy of Brent Evans. It was Labor Day weekend and another great group including my roommates and Dave Haynie. The difference on this adventure was that we ended up swimming through some pretty nasty, stagnant water. But even with that, it was still amazing.
Roommates - Sarah and Heather
New best friend Allison. Zion is a great place for making new best friends.
The whole crew in wet suits. So hot right now.
Love, love, love.
As soon as we got out of the gross, smelly water I ran to the river and jumped in. So refreshing and a little chilly.
Haha. Such a great cousin photo.
The last delightful adventure was with a smaller group of friends and we had the chance to stay at my parents' house. I have been taking groups of friends to southern Utah for years. I am always grateful for my mom and dad and their genuine joy and openness in hosting people. Our family really does believe and live the motto, "The more the merrier". My mom had fresh salsa made when we arrived on Friday night. She had the house all decorated for Halloween. On Saturday morning they sent us out the door with sandwiches of homemade bread and jam (bread with jam and bread with jam, with jam, with jam, with jam, with jam and bread. Sound of Music anyone?) And with freshly made fruit leather and dried apples. Sunday morning everyone pitched in to help me make rolls and cinnamon rolls to accompany the yummy lasagna my mom had prepared for Sunday dinner. Basically, I love staying at my parents' and will happily take anyone down for a weekend. Just email/call me, we'll plan it. It's worth it. The one regret of the weekend was that we didn't do karaoke with my parents. My dad was a little disappointed so we of course promised to come back.
The actual hiking in Zion was also amazing thanks to our friend Cob who has spent a lot of time in the park. We did a few short hikes including a random slot canyon that was muddy from rains the day before. So we all ditched our shoes and hiked barefoot the rest of the way. Once again, as soon as I got to the park, I was completely energized to the point of singing and doing heel clicks in the parking lot. I just can't get enough of it.
I kind of hate photos where everyone is just standing and smiling so sometimes I make people do crazy poses with me.
Walking sticks make you look more legit.
The canyon where we ditched our shoes.
There were a few tricky parts but we all worked together and made it through.
Tabi was getting creative with her photos.
And apparently I was the star of the show for a bit.
I love the sun and Dave captured me loving the sun.
The moral of the story is that I love Zion and wish I could go back every weekend. If anyone wants to plan another trip, just let me know.