Family Fun Adventure: Bryce Canyon National Park

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Ahhh, Bryce Canyon! TOO beautiful to describe and the photos don’t do it justice. Mostly, I run around trailing kids and reach for the camera for a quick shot, barely looking through the view finder ūüôā

Continuing where my last post left off, the next day brings us to Bryce Canyon National Park. Warning: Lots of pictures ahead, not too many tips though due to the weather

Day #3: We booked two nights in the town of Panguitch, Utah and again, woke up early Saturday for breakfast that was included in the room prices. We headed out at around 7 and made it into the park on a very cold and snowy day. All the hiking trails were closed due to the weather, but the viewpoints were being cleared for the day

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We started out parking near Sunrise Point and walked the snowy Rim Trail to Sunset and on to Inspiration Points. The day started nice and sunny. Because of the weather we couldn’t make any trips into the canyons, which I can imagine would be quite incredible. The part of the trail between Sunrise and Sunset Points are a pretty easy walk and the kids had so much fun with the snow

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Cole (age 14) following the trail beside the steep drop offs

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Daddy keeping the tiniest turkey back from the edge. See that pebbly ridge? Yup, a snow covered slope down from there!

 Not gonna Lie, the trail was scary with little kids. The trail itself was mostly wide, but the steep drop offs coupled with the slippery conditions as well as overly excited children, made for nervous parents. We each stuck close to and mostly held the younger kids hands. Of course, being mom, I constantly reminded the older kids to be extra careful. They were sliding, running, throwing snowballs, and I just wanted them to be safe

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 The contrasting colors were vibrant and unbelievably stunning

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Winter wonderland definitely added a extra fun element

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At the first lookout the kids are relatively happy and wow, they are smiling!

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They couldn’t stop themselves the entire time from making snow ‘Angels’

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My older boys are very uncooperative for taking pictures most of the time, so they are pretty rare shots

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I must say I love hiking in the woods and by rivers. It’s so relaxing to be out in this type of nature. Normally, we hike the dry chaparral of California in the roasting heat, so this is a welcomed change

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Proof that there were parents along for the trip. Well a parent and an Eskimo ūüôā

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After about 3 pm the kids were cold and tired. We headed back to the hotel for a some vacation snacking, T.V. watching and just chilling

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After they warmed up and dried off the little boys, Alvin and Daddy made a snowman behind the hotel

Day #4: Woke up early and loaded the van for making our way home today. For some reason (maybe a religious thing as it was Sunday) even though the hotel  (Days Inn booked on priceline) advertised breakfast at 6:30, as we enjoyed the previous day, they did not have anything out on Sunday. In fact no one was in the lobby and it was all locked up, I tried calling the front desk, waiting etc. Finally, we just had to leave our keys in the rooms and go. That was kind of a bummer as I was counting on that being a big meal to keep the kids happy at the start of a long drive. Thank goodness for back up snacks and a couple hours later we arrived in Vegas in time for another buffet lunch to make up for it. So all was not lost. I will say that room service was very kind the day before in helping us charge our dead battery to get us on our way and the breakfast was one of the nicest we have had at simple lodgings

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One final pic of enjoying the view. I can’t wait to visit again and hike down into the canyon trails.

What are your top favorite National Parks?

Family Fun Adventure: Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park

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We have visited Sequoia National Park several times in the last couple of years and love this amazing place. On this trip up north we thought we’d explore Kings Canyon National Park. And boy were we rewarded with gorgeous views, shady hikes and refreshing dips into cool mountain streams. Once again, for some reason I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that a place that gets real snowy in the mountains to be so blazin’ hot in the summer, but yeah, it was! Thank goodness there was opportunity for the kids to cool off, get clean, break up the drive and in general recover from grouchy moods that seem to settle when you are hot, bored and stuck in a van with your annoying brothers :). Just keeping it real. We definitely have those struggles too! Here are some of the pics we snapped along the way

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  There are plenty of different trails varying in difficulty. Certainly some thing for everyone of any size. We started out walking the General Grant Trail, which is wide and easy to follow (see above left picture) with the littlest turkey determined to carry the water pack the entire hike. Such a funny fellow. It barely fit on his shoulders and was almost touching the ground, but he HAD to carry it

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Check out this massive hollowed out tree trunk called the Fallen Monarch. This naturally¬†fire burned trunk was used as a camping shelter by a couple of logging brothers by the name of Gamlin while they built themselves a cabin¬†back in 1872! It’s still intact and¬†doesn’t look like its¬†decomposed at all since then. The kids are running the length of it in the above photo

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Next we hit up the Big Stump Trail and here are some photos we took along the way. The trail is again, quite easy for kids. It is a real dirt trail, not like the paved General Grant Loop. There are restrooms and water fountains at the trail head

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Some giant trees! One of the kids favorite things to pose in…a hollow trunk, we could barely pass a single one without taking a pic. Above: A stump that reminded me of a fairy castle or fortress

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Left: Azure beside a downed tree trunk, he was about 1/2 as tall as the width. Trees always make a hike more enjoyable to me. It was very hot in spite of the shade and after making it to the Shattered Giant (see below) we turned around and headed back to the van in search of a way to cool off

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Left: Hubbs and Azure in the meadow of the Mark Twain Stump Right: All 5 monkeys on a giant stump

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Hmmm, and some reason I failed to get a picture of the kids on¬†THE BIG stump named The Mark Twain Stump…anyhow its massive! It was cut down and a cross section sent to put be on display at the Natural History Museum New York where it¬†is still on display today. The Shattered Giant looks like the tree fell and well, shattered. The kids got to climb over it and by now were getting a bit¬†hangry

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The little munchkin needed some carrying from Dad and biggest brother even stepped in. He took all the hair pulling in relative good spirits

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Picnic spot at Grizzly Falls. Boy, are you spoiled for choice of gorgeous views up here. It seems this is kind of a dry year (July 2014) by the looks of the falls. The parking area is super close to the waterfall. There are also picnic tables and outhouse facilities

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After lunch we were off to explore before dinner. We found out about Hume Lake. There is a big private camp at the lake and we weren’t sure if visitors were allowed on the beach itself. I didn’t think to ask…I guess I was tired at that point ūüôā That’s the story I’m going with anyways. After parking at the day use area (there are a couple picnic tables, bbq grills and outhouses) and walking a short distance along Hume Lake Trail until we found a little clearing in the trees for the kids to take a dip

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The water was on the cold side in the evening so they only splashed for about half an hour

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Day 2 after breaking up camp, we headed to along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway for the views! Wowza

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After a few hours it was time to turn around and start heading towards Sequoia National Park and homeward. But first, time to cool off in the South Fork of the Kings River. There were plenty of families enjoying the water in various places, so we drove around a bit until we found a spot without crowds

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It was cold. But after a few numbing minutes it wasn’t too bad the kids told me. Not a chance I was getting in, so I was the picture taker

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Daddy was a dear and got a little wet to keep track of the baby monkey. The river was a bit swift in spots

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Sitting on a log at the waters edge watching the kids play made me dream of one day having a property near water. What a wonderful paradise for a kid

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At this point we started to make our way towards Sequoia National Park…only to¬†get wet again!

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One last short splash stop at Lodge Pole Campground where they let us park for free day use (We just asked the ranger, otherwise park at the visitor center and walk a bit). There was plenty of little areas of the river to wade in, since it was SO hot, there were a lot of other people with the same idea in mind. The bigger kids went further upstream to some natural slides and a deeper pools that were quite crowded while littlest monkey stayed to throw ‘rockies’ in the water and try to catch some small fish

And this long post wraps up our latest Family Fun Adventure!