Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mountain Meadows, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas

This past week was another vacation week, as Dave's preceptor was out on a scouting trip. We took full advantage of the time off to travel to some beautiful and interesting places around here.

First off was a trip to Pine Valley, nestled in gorgeous alpine mountains with a stream running next to a hiking trail. Only a few miles away, we stopped at the infamous Mountain Meadows, home to the tragic massacre of an emigrant wagon train from Arkansas by members of the Church under the direction of their local priesthood leaders. Both of us have read the most recent book released by Church historians on the topic, so the place meant a little more to us. Today, the grave sites of the victims can still be seen, and two memorials have been erected by the Church. A sad, but true part of our history.

Hiking Pine Valley

Mountain Meadows

Mountain Meadows gravesite

Our second trip was to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, where we made it to all of the viewpoints and most of the hikes. One hike took us right along the rim, with breathtaking (and sometimes scary!) views. We had to watch Aly like hawks, since most of the sites had no railing.

Grand Canyon!

Finally, we went back to Las Vegas to visit some of the converts from Dave's mission and some old friends who recently moved there. We were able to stop by the temple. It was a great experience for both of us, and we enjoyed seeing all of the people who mean so much to us. Thanks to all of you who have made an impact on our lives for the better.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

100 degrees? No problem!

The heat is on... literally. We've been up to 106 and 108 degrees in the past couple of weeks here, with no end in sight. It's still over 90 degrees outside when we put the kids to bed at 8 o'clock! Good thing our hot tub doubles as a swimming pool:)

In spite of the hot weather, there is a lot to keep us busy around here in the time Dave is out of clinic. Erin's family reunion was last weekend in Richfield, UT. We traveled up the day before to do some camping and hiking in the surrounding Fishlake National Forest. We stopped at Kanarraville on the way up and hiked into a beautiful slot canyon with a stream running through it. To do the hike, you have to cross and/or hike in the stream several times. The scenery was incredible! A little further on, we discovered a great campground nearby Fremont Indian State Park called Castle Rock, where the sites are within a stone's throw of Bryce Canyon-esque rock formations.

Hi everybody!

Crossing the stream in Kanarraville Canyon

Aly likes camping... she gets to jump on the air mattresses before bedtime

We forgot the spoons for the yogurt, so Aly just licked hers out

Sunset at our campsite. Pictures never do nature justice.

We visited the state park while we were there, and saw hundreds of Fremont Native American petroglyphs scattered on rock faces and in caves. It was fascinating to see this artwork left by a civilization that we know so little about. I wonder just how they connect to the Lamanites...

Hundred Hands Cave petroglyphs. Hard to see in this small photo, but these are all painted hands.

 At the reunion, we got a four-generation shot with Erin's grandmother and made some neat memories.

Four generations. Of course, the only photo where Aly smiles is the one where Nolan is unhappy.

After the reunion, Erin's dad and sister came to stay with us for a few days. We took them hiking with us in Snow Canyon, then spent much of the afternoon at Sand Hollow (like a miniature Lake Powell). We played in a splash pad on the way home.

Yesterday, we explored more of Pioneer Park, and went through the slot canyon there. We could just barely squeeze through sideways, brushing the rock face on both sides, but Aly had enough room to go through forwards. I guess being skinny has its advantages; we ran into several other adults our age on the way out who were amazed that we had been able to fit through:)

View out of the slot canyon. Yes, it was this tight!

Aly in the slot canyon.

Hiking out of Pioneer

Erin on the hike