One of the greatest honors (not to mention amazing memories) is having friends and family join us on our adventures. Most of these friends visit us at Snow Mountain, but this year, the trip lined up to have 28 of us exploring Zion National Park together. Many of them were pushing their limits and trying out new things for the first time, and none of them knew each other. In fact, my own mom had just finished her chemo therapy treatments the week before and was already exploring Zion with a long lost friend who had moved to Phoenix. Another friend had recently had foot surgery on not one, but both feet! Talk about a daring crew! Within 24 hours, the group was laughing and playing together like old friends. The thing that struck me more than anything here was the awesome group of kids we had… 5 different families with kids, most of whom didn’t know each other. One angsty teen could have made this big group difficult for all, but their openness to make new friends and enjoy this beautiful place together made it even more magical for us adults. What were the chances that we could pull together 15 kids… and all of them could be this amazing?! Our campsite was right on the river, so after each long hike, we loved soaking away our soreness.
The last day we were in Zion, we all walked down from Watchman Campground to the park shuttle, ready to take on the Narrows. I was so awe-struck that we filled that darn bus with friends and family, 1400 miles from home! Nothing floored me quite like this… having 28 people trust us enough to meet us in the middle of Utah for a few days of fun. Life is incredibly busy for all of them, yet we made this happen.
Kimmy had loaded up the camera in its waterproof casing, ready to get wet. We love having photographers along 😉
The first 3/4 mile is a paved path in the canyon along the water, which was a perfect first hike back for mom. You see, the Narrows is perfect place to escape a hot summer day. Talk about refreshing!
After stepping into the cold, rocky river, mom made a quick decision to head back with Marilyn, so we captured some group shots right away before they headed back. That’s one of the greatest things about the Narrows… you can hike through the river as long as you like, and turn around when you are ready to be done.
The beginning of the Narrows is always quite busy, but the further you go, the less people you will see.
We got shots of everything… adult pictures, family pictures, kid pictures, you name it.
While there was always a way around the deep crossings, I love that many of us chose to walk straight through it all! We had packed up everything in dry bags, zip locks, and waterproof casings, so you might as well!
Of course, the first set of rocks that provided some good cliff jumping was a must stop for all!
When we finally reached a destination that we had all to ourselves, we decided to make this our final stop before turning back.
The girls spent much of the day walking with Annie and Sally… talking their ears off I’m sure! Thank God for distant cousins 😉
This pic is not the whole crew, but it sure does exude the feelings we all shared that day! We could never recreate this time again, but I will remember and treasure it always! Party on, Zion! 🙂
Additional photo credits to the Hamiltons, Jill Heikkila, the Mattsons, the Pienkowskis, and Kim Strever