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This year we joined Scott and crew for a big trip out west to see Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and the Grand Canyon.  Unfortunately, Susan and Sadie were quarantined due to Covid and weren't able to make the trip, but Colt, Finley, and I still made it into a great trip. 

We started our adventure at Zion with a walk along the Virgin River, an easy 2.2 mile trail dubbed "Riverside Walk".  We saw lots of squirrels begging for treats as well a mule deer. 

After our morning hike, we stopped at the Zion Lodge for lunch.  After eating there, we decided to pack lunches for the remainder of the trip.  Once lunch was done, we hiked the Emerald Pool Trails, visiting the lower, middle, and upper pools before splitting off on the Grotto Trail.

The Emerald Pool trails take you to a series of pools, which was a nice reward for the kids after climbing the 400+ feet elevation to make it from the lower to the upper pools.  The Grotto was a nice walk back with lots of beautiful cliff views.

After 4+ hours of hiking with the kids, we finished off the day with some pizzas back at our rental house watching the kids goof around and have fun.  It was a great first day. 


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We decided to take a break from the hiking and head south to the Grand Canyon's North Rim.  We kicked off our visit there with a short hike to Bright Angel Point. This is a short,1/2 mile hike that has spectacular views of the canyon with steep drop-offs on either side. Fortunately, most of the trail has guardrails and is a safe walk. 

After Bright Angel Point, we took the scenic Cape Royal Road to Point Imperial, another scenic overlook.  We stopped for some photos before making the drive back to the rental house in Washington, Utah.  For dinner, we visited the nearby Black Bear Diner which had a large selection that hit the spot.


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Day 3 would be our favorite hike of the trip, The Narrows. The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon and one of the most popular areas of the park, as you can see by the number of people. The walls of the canyon are 1000 ft tall with the river just 20-30 feet wide in some places. Hiking the narrows involves walking/wading upstream in the Virgin River, which ranged from ankle deep to waist deep in spots. To navigate the slippery rocks, most recommend renting canyoneering boots and a walking stick from one of the local shops - these definitely came in handy. We hiked about 4.5 miles round trip, up the river and back. This was also definitely the kids favorite hike as their were NO COMPLAINTS!

After Zion, we made a quick stop at the LaVerkin Overlook, which as you guessed, overlooks the town of LaVerkin. We checked out the views and then called it a day.


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On Day 4, we made the 2 hour drive north to Bryce Canyon National Park. Despite its name, it is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The scenery was spectacular. On the drive up, we took the scenic Mt. Carmel Highway, stopping at the "Belly of the Dragon", a man-made tunnel originally created for drainage. Over time the water flow has carved beautiful ripples in the sandstone making it a scenic spot for exploring. After the exploring the tunnel, we continued on to Bryce we hiked alongside the rim trails with gorgeous views of the amphitheater below. The kids mostly enjoyed it but by this point some of the younger ones were over the hiking! On the way home, we made a pitstop at the giant Checkerboard Mesa, which the kids enjoyed exploring and climbing on. We also saw Zion's Grand Arch which made for a good photo stop on our scenic drive. Once the day was done, some Mexican food from a local restaurant hit the spot.


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By Day  5 we (Finley) had hit our threshold for hiking, so we'd need to find some other activities that didn't revolve around our boots.  We started the day with a scenic drive through Zion's Kolob Canyon, then split ways with Scott and crew as they hiked the canyons.

Colt, Finley, and I headed north to the town of Kanab, Utah, where we signed up for an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) tour.  We had a super fun ride through the desert to the Pekaboo Slot Canyon, where we did a short hike/walk to check out the canyon and also stopped at an underground lake.  The whole excursion was a blast!

After the ATV ride, we explored the Kanab Sand Caves.  These caves were man-made during mining in the area and now make for a fun stop.  After exploring the caves, we had some milk-shakes and called it day.


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After knocking 3 national parks, some serious hikes, and a some off-roading, it was time for Vegas!  We'd be there one night before departing on an early flight home.  We started with a walking tour of the famous Las Vegas strip, stopping at many of the big casinos like the Bellagio and Caesars Palace, hit lots of shops, and capped off the night with the Knights of Excalibur show at our hotel.  It was a fun end to an epic trip.

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