November 26, 2015

The Grand Canyon - Camping trip #5

August 2015

Hailey got home on August 1st from Girls Camp and we quickly did her laundry and repacked her again because we were off. This was our big trip of the year ~ The Grand Canyon. Richard and Julie go every year and this year they invited us along. We were very excited! Maybe not so much for the long car ride but definitely to see family and explore the Grand Canyon.

Friday, August 7th - We decided to leave a few days earlier than we had planned so that we could stop in Utah and see family. 6 people and a dog in a truck for 13 hours is quite a long time but they all did great.

Cooper getting his turn in the window seat.

In the middle of Nevada this stuff started falling from the sky. Us water deprived Californians were so excited to see rain and then hail too! It entertained us for quite awhile. The hail was a little crazy (and loud) and we worried about the trailer getting damaged but all was good when we stopped later and checked.

We stayed safe and sound at Richard and Julie's. Luckily their driveway was big enough to accommodate our trailer. 

Saturday we went to Zion National Park. Kurt had talked to a friend who had hiked The Narrows and said we had to do it. So off we went. 

We should have gotten up early and headed there but the kids were exhausted from the trip the day before so we let them sleep. By the time we got there it was 11 am and the place was PACKED! The early start time would have been better but oh well. What are you to do? We weren't going to get another chance. We had to park outside the park and hike in.

The kids were checking out this model while we were waiting for a shuttle. The Narrows are the furthest spot back in the park so once we got on the shuttle, it was a 45 minute drive.

Once the shuttle drops you off, it is a mile walk to get into The Narrows.

Hiking . . .

and hiking . . . 

Finally we reached The Narrows. It is a spot that you hike in the river and through a canyon. You have to be aware of the weather because flash floods can sweep through there if there is rain upstream. We were lucky and the weather was perfect. It was also perfect for 40 million other people too! It was PACKED! You are walking in a river that looks like chocolate milk. You can't see the bottom to see where you are stepping and the bottom is very uneven with rocks and boulders so it is a slow and caution hike.

Our friend who had told us about it said that it was ankle to mid-calf deep and calm. We had mid-calf to mid-thigh water that was flowing pretty good. The storms from the day before had increased the water flow. And the water was COLD! Holy cow it was cold! After awhile though you get used to it but those first few steps were freezing!

It was beautiful and we are so glad we did it. We would definitely start earlier though to hopefully avoid some of the crowds and to have more time. It was sensory overload for Kayla with the cold water, uneven bottom and all the people (who sometimes fell into you or grabbed you for balance) so we moved very slowly and didn't get near as far as we wanted but it was still a very enjoyable day.

On the shuttle ride back out, the kids got a kick out of this sign in the shuttle.

On Sunday we went to visit Kurt's brother Paul. We had a great time checking out his new home and we went for lunch.

 Then we went back to his home and played games. It was a great visit!

After we left Paul, we drove by the St. George Temple. Beautiful as temples always are!

On Monday we loaded the trailer back up and headed off for the Grand Canyon. It was so HOT when we were leaving that we stopped for some shaved ice.

Even Cooper got one!

Then we drove to the Grand Canyon and the much anticipated cousins arrived. Jenny and her family drove out from North Carolina! We were so excited to see them!

The Grand Canyon was beautiful, of course. It is incredible breathtaking as to how big and deep it is. Truly amazing!

The first day it rained most of the day but we did sneak out between rain storms to get a hike in. 

Let me just say that having 11 kids near the edge of the canyon is a little bit stressful! Especially the boys who are having fun with their cousins and jumping and running all around.

Cousins enjoying the view. I believe that is Hannah and Kayla.

It was so neat to watch the clouds blow through, up and over the canyon. And the thunder! Oh the thunder! So awesome to listen to it rumble and echo through the canyon!

The rest of the day was spent with all 18 of us squished in the trailer. It was so fun! We had about 4 different games going, kids all over, cousins talking, adults talking. It was a great bonding time.

Cousins playing.

 Later, cousins snuggling.

Hailey and Emily

Let's see - there is Spencer, Hannah, Kayla (in front) Hailey, Trevor, Gavin, Evan and David.

 Our beloved Truman cousins!

 The sunsets were amazing! Just breathtaking!
And of course, photos never do them justice but we had to take pictures in front of them.

The Trumans and Whites.

On Wednesday, Kurt's other sister, Margo, arrived with Sierra, Tyler and Tyler's new fiancé, Schuyler (pronounced Skylar). We were so excited to meet our soon-to-be niece. We took another hike and this time the weather was much warmer.

Kayla and Hannah.

 Jenny, Richard, Margo and Kurt

Our whole group. We are so blessed to have this awesome family!

The engaged couple!


Wednesday was also Richard's birthday so Julie made reservations at the lodge for all of us to go out to dinner. We all graduated to the adult table!

After dinner we walked outside and there was a rainbow. It's not every day that you get to hold one of those!

While we were there the kids all worked on the Junior Ranger Program. 

Another hike.

Love this picture of Hailey and Kurt.

Me and my man!

Evan and Kurt

The day finally came when they had completed all the Junior Ranger requirements so we went and had the ranger sign off and swear in our little Junior Rangers.

It took about 3 days for these cousins to warm up to each other but once they did they were inseparable. They had so much fun. 

By the campfire one night, Kayla got up to get a snack and Cooper apparently decided he was done with the dirt and claimed the chair.

Saying goodbye to our cousins.

 Once the Truman's had left, our kids finally came around to say hi to us. We had barely seen them all week. They just love their cousins so much and they all get along so well. We wish we lived closer to them!

 I think we might have to buy him his own chair. He seems to like it.

I had misunderstood the arrangements and thought we were leaving on the 14th. We had planned meals and our schedule around that date but Richard and Julie had reserved the site until the 15th. We debated on what to do - stay the extra day or head home as we had a very long drive to get there. We discussed it and decided we should head home. I was starting homeschool with the kids on Monday and wanted to get home on Saturday to grocery shopping, as we had no food in the house, and to get everything organized and ready for school. We said goodbye to Richard and Julie and they took off for a hike while we packed up. 

Kurt was bummed as he had wanted to stay but understood why I was anxious to get home. While we were packing up I started crying. I felt so bad taking him away from his dad. I couldn't stop crying so finally I said "Forget it! Let's stay! Let's go find your dad!" and we did. We knew what hike they took so we locked everything up and headed to the trail head. They had a head start on us so we booked it along the trail. Little did we know that they picked a trail that went straight up a hill! We were so out of breath but we were moving trying to catch up to them. We were able to catch them and boy were they surprised that we were there. It was a beautiful hike!

Thank you Dad and Julie for inviting us along on your adventure. We sure did have a great time!

We didn't have any dinner for that night as I hadn't planned on us being there so we headed to the deli and bought some really expensive pizza.  =-)

We left on Saturday for the long drive home. We had planned on stopping somewhere along the way for the night and arriving home on Sunday but once we were driving we decided to just keep going. And we kept singing that to ourselves "Just keep going. Just keep going" and 17.5 hours later we were home. The kids and Cooper did amazing. That is a really, REALLY long amount of time to be squished in a truck for and they did awesome! We were so proud of them.

We were so grateful for the safety we had on this trip. That is a long way to tow a trailer and so much can go wrong between the truck and trailer but we were so blessed. Blessed with safety. Blessed with amazing kids. Blessed with great weather. We were deeply, deeply blessed. And we are so grateful!

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