After hiking out of the Grand Canyon, most people just hit the quarter showers, but not this family.
We actually drove four and a half hours to a Comfort Inn in Hurricane, Utah.
It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. We ate 2nd lunch at The General Store and I was able to pick up one of those sweet Grand Canyon coffee mugs, with my name on it. Yup, using it right now:)
The drive to Zion is barren and beautiful.
After dinner at Triple TJ’s (Good find, our hotel recommended… we were so tired by then that they probably thought that we were zombies… “Zombie want BLT! BLT good! Zzzzz….”
We were quite sleepy.
We were ready for a special and relaxing day at Zion National Park. We told the kids that we weren’t camping or anything like that, just enjoying the park from the shuttle and probably throwing in one hike that they would be sure to love.
At the 8th and final shuttle stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, we disembarked to take a hike that is gorgeous, unique and highly recommended by many as the hike to do, if you have one day in Zion.
We strolled down the paved trail, which covers about a mile and a half, along with lots and lots of other folks, young and old. We were surrounded by high stone walls covered in hanging gardens, watered by the weeping walls.
At the bottom we looked for a good picnic spot which was tricky, because there’s a bit of a squirrel problem. There is a lot of anti squirrel feeding signage throughout the parks.
The squirrels are pretty bold. In this photo you can see one of the aggressive squirrels checking out my little pack seconds after we sat down. To be fair to the squirrel, it did contain two hoagies and a bag of Twizzlers.
After lunch we were ready for the fun part. There aren’t many places in the world where you can hike up a clear, shallow running stream, in a narrow canyon, between straight up, towering sandstone walls. We crossed back and forth, in and out of the cool water of the north fork of the Virgin River.
We took our time and enjoyed hiking in the knee to waist deep water with the riverbed alternating between sandy parts and areas with a lot of loose rocks, from boulders to gravel, on our way to the famous Narrows.
Well, we didn’t quite make it to the narrows. We were well on our way when we heard a small, low grumble of thunder. I looked to Hub to call it, “I think if it’s just that and a couple rain drops, we should keep going. We’ll turn back if it’s more.”
We didn’t go much further before a pronounced crack of thunder made the decision clear. The rain went from the slightest sprinkle to a consistent shower. Hub and I attempted to calmly reassure our kiddos, while maintaining the relative jog back upstream.
The thunder rolled and the rain picked up and became a thick curtain of marble sized hail. We pulled the kids under some overhanging rock and paused to catch our breath, the water was at my waist. A woman running by shouted, “DON”T STOP!” over the downpour.
(I tried to find a photo online to illustrate this soaked, wild woman and the relative drama of the whole situation)
We didn’t stop. The kids screamed as the hail pelted their soft skin. “Okay, the hail really hurts for sure, but, a flash flood or lightening down here could kill us. That’s worse, right?” This is the conversation that Hub and I had using our telepathic wonder twin powers, while yelling, “Keep moving! You guys are doing awesome!”
I watched one of these float by beyond my reach. A man saw me look down and yelled, “Leave it!” He somehow, was able to grab it and I looked up in time to catch it in the air.
Thankfully, we never saw lightening. We did note that the water rose around a foot higher. Also, I fell behind momentarily, lost my footing and got washing machined, and that wasn’t great, but I have to say, we sure made some good time on that hike.
My son helped a younger girl whose mother had asked him to grab her hand and happily we all ended up back on the paved trail in and kept on walking. Although the weather had already begun to calm, we went ahead and piled on the crowded shuttle, back to dry clothes. We were just freezing.
We found “Restaurant”, There’s not a whole lot in Bryce Canyon City, but it was great! The staff sang Happy Birthday to my, now 11 year old, son and brought him out the Big Brownie Buckaroo Sundae. That sundae was awesome!
We spent the rest of the evening driving around Bryce Canyon National Park. We saw rainbows and animals roaming around at dusk, but we were all pretty ready for Canyon City Best Western, where we slept the sleep of the very, very tired.