Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Trip Highlights

Our wireless on vacation was really undependable so I couldn't blog much. I suppose that wasn't so bad. It did leave more time to enjoy Utah and our time together with family.

We drove back on Saturday and arrived home very early in the morning on Sunday. It's great to be home and I'm almost done unpacking. (It's only Tuesday!) And I'm starting to get over the "End-of-trip" "Summer's over" blues.

The trip was amazing! We saw some awesome places. And perhaps even more priceless was the time we spent with Pastormac's mom, brothers, SIL, and nieces and nephews. We all got along so well. All the cousins made the most of every minute together. At the last card game on Friday night, I glanced at Pastormac and both his brothers and marveled at what a wonderful chance to enjoy them all together - laughing, joking, having a great time. What a magical week we had spent.

It had been such a long time since the last time we were all together. It was hard to say goodbye on Saturday morning. The cousins hugged and hugged. I tried hard not to cry and mostly succeeded.

Here are some trip highlights.

On Wednesday afternoon we visited Zion National Park. What a beautiful place. We drove into the park and took a shuttle up the mountain to the Temple of Sinawava stop where the Riverside Walk begins. This is touted as the walk of all walks - the walk not to be missed - a 2 mile walk (round-trip) into the heart of Zion. It was amazing. As we went deeper into the canyon, the mountainsides rising up around us - wow what an experience!

Where the trail ended, a hike into a slot canyon began but crossing the Virgin River was necessary. Pastormac and my nephew, Mario, decided to hike on a bit farther while most everyone else stayed back, playing in the water & skipping stones & watching fat friendly squirrels (Don't feed the animals? Oh please! We didn't but someone before us sure had.) Here's a picture of the guys crossing the river. Pastormac is the one in the rainbow tie-dyed shirt.

On Friday we drove south into Arizona about 1 1/2 hours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We ate the lunch we packed and then hit the trails. I really couldn't say it any better than the Grand Canyon map states it:

It is the visual impact of the landscape that impresses most people. The world seems larger here, with sunrises, sunsets, and storms taking on an added dimension to match the landscape.
It is a land to humble the soul.

Truly, I think, if possible, everyone should take the chance to see the Grand Canyon. It really is a World Heritage Site. And I realized how true this was as we heard people speaking Italian, French, Japanese & Swedish and a quick glance at the liscense plates in the parking lot showed visitors from Alaska, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Ontario Canada, California, and others.

We followed the 1/4 mile trail to Bright Angel Point for a spectacular view of the Grand Canyon. We were amazed and in awe. God is truly The Master Craftsman. In some of the pictures, you can see across all the way across to the South Rim!

Just a few more pictures. On the way home, we stopped for a romp at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes National Park outside Mt. Carmel, UT. As we drove up, we took one look and thought - clay. But no, this is actually sand, just like the beach only it's bright orange. We were happy we stopped even though we weren't able to stay long.

And I'll end with these two pictures (both taken in AZ) I took on the drive home.
The Vermillion Cliffs

and the Colorado River (taken from atop Navajo Bridge).

What a fantastic vacation. The perfect combination of relaxing and visits to amazing sites, all done with the best companionship.


Heth said...

Oh what beautiful scenery!

Overwhelmed! said...

These are beautiful pictures! Glad you had a great trip!

pastormac said...

It was a great trip. Lets do it again next week! (Heavy irony...)

Anne said...

Welcome home! Sounds like wonderful fun -- and your photos are beautiful!

BooMama said...

Beautiful pics - that blue sky took my breath away. Beautiful family, too - and I know that must be the biggest blessing of all. Glad y'all are home safe and sound.

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

There's nothing like mountains and canyons to remind me how amazing God's creative skills are--especially now that I live in flat, treeless Texas:)

It sounds like you made some great memories!

Jessica said...

WOW! What beautiful pics. of those mountains!

Jenny said...

I would love to see the Grand Canyon one day! It sounds like you had a wonderful vacation.

Chappyswife said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures! You have a great looking family!

Michelle said...

Looks like you guys had such a wonderful vacation! and the pictures are just amazing; such beautiful scenery there!