We had a great family adventure day yesterday. We headed up to Zion and pretty much a perfect day. Most people seemed to have stayed away since it was a little cooler and rainy so it was much less crowded than it usually is in the summer. It was perfectly cool and overcast with some nice sun here and there and a couple cloudbursts that popped up perfectly in between hikes. We drove through the tunnel (which the kids LOVED -it's such a long, cool tunnel) and hiked the 2 mile Zion Overlook and were awed once again by the majestic beauty. Then we rode the shuttle bus (always the twins' favorite part about going to Zion - what is it about little kids and public transportation?) and headed up the canyon to do the Emerald Pools hike. The green everywhere was brighter and fresher than I've ever seen it and all the colors were saturated by the rain and overcast skies. It was gorgeous!
As usual, the kids hiked their little hearts out without complaining once - and we were headed really straight uphill a lot of the time. Ashton found a big old rattle snake right by the path and we were all so interested watching that guy slither along - he didn't seem to mind us or the many other people who stopped to watch him. We got this great little Junior Ranger book at the visitor's center that helped us look for animal footprints and scat and all different shaped leaves and animals and really listened to the driver on the bus so we could learn about the different rock formations and how the whole place was formed by the Virgin River. We've been going to Zion for years but now the kids are old enough to really get interested in some of the things that make the Park so incredible. Oliver was sufficiently impressed by the bus ride that he solemnly informed me that he was going to be a bus driver when he grows up.
I know I keep saying this, but we really live in an incredible place! And we've had this amazingly pleasant summer weather lately. The kids and I went for a run to the park on Tuesday - it was sooo cool and nice and I offered the kids extra points if they'd run all the way to the park with me so I could get in a good work out. They did it! The twins used their scooters to keep up and we all ran all the way there - a little more than a mile each way. It was the most beautiful day - the run felt so good and we all played on the play equipment. I found out I can use the bars on the play structure to do some great strengthening exercises and the kids loved that I was actually playing with them and we had the whole park to ourselves. We found pine cones in the trees and some little bird eggs and wondered and explored together and it was so much fun. I've never really been able to play with my kids at the park before because I've always had a baby to take care of or a wayward toddler (or two) to follow around. The park is becoming much more fun these days!