Sunday, April 8, 2018

Adventuring in Zion National Park.

We are one minute into our first hike on the first day of the trip. Our hope is to make it to a waterfall. The kids are melting down simultaneously, Cambria because she is tired, and Everett because he is three. People pass us on the trail giving us looks of annoyance or pity. The passersby are likely wondering the same thing we are: why did we decide to bring a seventeen month old and a three and a half year old to Zion National Park? Tears form in my eyes, because I am sure this is a sign that the whole trip is going to be horrible and we made a mistake in trying to do this adventure with our kids. I think to myself, being a parent is the hardest thing ever; you can’t make this shit up, it’s so bad.

Matt and I divide and conquer, determined to win this battle. I take Cambria and get her to fall asleep in the carrier, while he distracts Everett by finding bugs.

We make it to the waterfall. My daughter is peacefully sleeping on my chest, and I’m holding my son’s hand as we walk under the falls. The ground is wet and we are sprinkled with water as we hike. Everett starts singing, “you are my sunshine,” as we slowly make our way to the other side of the waterfall. Everett finishes singing the song and says, “Mom, I wanted to sing you your favorite song. Do you want to sing with me?” So we sing “You are My Sunshine” together as we are enveloped in mist, red rock surrounding us to the left, and the back side of a waterfall to our right. Tears form in my eyes because of how beautiful this moment is. The magic is palpable. I think to myself, being a parent is the best thing ever; you can’t make this shit up, it’s so good.

These wonderful moments are hard earned. 

Traveling with kids is challenging. Just like on our last trip, on this vacation, three-fourths of us got fevers and colds, there was a lot of unintentional co-sleeping, lack of sleep, and pushing through the tough moments to reach the beautiful ones. 

Sometimes I forget that I am now the traveler with two little ones. In my head I’m still twenty-eight years old hiking all day and reaching the mountain tops. Our ambitious hikes of yesteryear included miles of hikes with thousands of feet of elevation gain. 

Now I am the national park goer with kids and their gear to schlep around. Our overly ambitious hikes these days are four miles at the most, and at some point include an ergo for Cambria and a piggyback ride for Everett. We were a bit too eager in our plans with a 3.5 year old and a 17 month old, and yet I would do this trip again the exact same way. There is something bonding about traveling and adventuring with the four of us that is different from when we are at home together. Through the highs and the lows, it is always worth it.

Hike to Emerald Pools:
Hike to Weeping Rock:
 Big Bend:
Hanging out by the river:
Canyon Overlook Hiking Trail:
Riverside Walk Trail:
Pa'rus Trail:

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