For our family vacation this summer we ventured out camping at the KOA campground in Glendale, Utah (between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon). It was a great adventure, not the least because I had a stomach bug Sunday night, the night before we were to leave--Father's Day, no less.
Monday morning we had planned to pack up and leave after lunch. Because I was still sick and weak from the night before, Adam had to do all this on his own. It was a huge job, and we didn't get out of town until around 5 in the afternoon. We drove through Zion on our way, and the kids were much more interested in the scenery than I had anticipated. They loved going through the tunnel and seeing all the amazing arches and waterfalls. Our first night at the campground we set up camp and roasted hot dogs for dinner.
Tuesday morning dawned bright with a dutch oven blueberry muffin cake and eggs and bacon and sausage cooked on the cookstove by the resident camp chef, Adam. We decided to go in search of a petting zoo we had seen a sign for on our drive to the campground the night before, but when we arrived at the trout farm/petting zoo, we were told the animals hadn't arrived yet since they'd opened only three days prior. Instead, we fed the fish in the pond, then Isaiah and I each caught our first fish.
Okay, maybe not. But I felt so brave to touch the slimy thing!
It cost a bit to catch these fish, but it was really easy and they cleaned them for us. For an extra fee, they also fried them up. Here's Isaiah trying his own fish. He was so proud of it, he ate quite a bit. It was pretty good, if you didn't pay attention to the fact that it was still looking at you. Or, you could just try eating it's eye, like Adam did, and then it wasn't looking anymore. (He said it was about like eating a grain of rice . . . yum!)
Katie was terrified of the fish, and refused to touch a fishing pole or go near a fish alive or fried. She ate a couple of bites of this apple for lunch. She looks pretty chipper, eh? That didn't last.
After our impromptu fish fry, we ventured toward Kanab, looking for another petting zoo and some tennis shoes for me (mine had been left at home in the packing chaos). We found some tennis shoes, but the closest thing to a petting zoo was the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, so we stopped in hoping to see some animals. They informed us that we had to schedule a tour, and we could do that, but it would be a wait. We weren't sure the kids were up to waiting around all afternoon, so we watched their video thinking we'd see how everyone was at the end. Right about the end, Katie started puking. Copiously. We tried to clean up the best we could with the two paper towels the lady there gave us, then gave up and instead cleaned Katie up in the restroom, stripping her down and wrapping her in a towel for the 30 minute drive back to the campground.
It was a quiet afternoon and evening, Katie alternating between sleeping and puking in our cooking pot (the one bowl-like thing we had with us). I took Isaiah and Max swimming in the KOA swimming pool while Adam made dinner. It was advertised as heated, but "heated" in the mountains means "not frozen," apparently. Despite the heat outside, it was a little too frigid for me. And even Isaiah didn't get in for more than a few minutes. It was nice to have an excuse to not be wearing a lot of clothing, however.
Dinner was delicious. Pulled pork (yes, made in a crockpot--our campsite had power) and dutch oven potatoes. Then, Adam and Isaiah played kickball in the field behind our campsite and were soon joined by a couple of boys close to his age. After a few minutes, their father and I started talking as we watched the kickball game. It turns out he is in Shane's carpool, and they ride to work together every day! We got to know their family a bit over s'mores at their campfire that night.
We spent Wednesday morning around camp. After some delicious breakfast burritos (made by Adam, of course), Katie took a nap in the shade of a tree and Adam and I sat and read while Isaiah played with his new friends and played video games. We had sandwiches for lunch, then went for a leisurely hike on a trail by our campground. You can see the "Mini Bryce Canyon" formations behind Adam in the first picture:
Max loved being in the front pack. He was bouncing and kicking and laughing. He thought it was the best.
As hot as we were after our hike, we decided to give the pool another shot. Everyone spent at least a little time in the pool except for me (I waded a bit, but man, it was cold--my feet got numb).
Adam took the kids for a drive to watch a DVD and to put Max to sleep for a nap while I made pork chops on the cookstove and baked potatoes in the campfire. I also attempted a cobbler in the dutch oven, but must have forgotten something important in the four years since I last made one, because it didn't turn out. Adam made the kids some JiffyPop popcorn on the campstove to eat while they finished their DVD, and then they went to bed while Adam and I had more s'mores and read around the campfire.
After some delicious sausage and egg sandwiches on English muffins Thursday morning (made by Chef Adam, of course) we struck camp and headed to Zion for a hike. It was cloudy and windy and threatened rain, but it was nice enough once we got through the park. We rode the shuttle up to Weeping Rock. Here's a picture from the window of the shuttle before my camera's battery died:
So, no pictures of Weeping Rock, but it was beautiful, and such a nice hike. Very steep, but not long at all. The kids thought it was great, and were disappointed that it was over so quickly. We took them down to the river to look at tadpoles before we got back on the shuttle.
We stopped in Springville at Blondie's Diner for a late lunch/early dinner (it was really yummy, and almost worth what it cost) and checked out the elk in the pasture next door. Then it was home to Santa Clara to wash the campfire smell out of everything!