The Great Vacation Day 4, Zion National Park

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Every year or so we go on a “Great Vacation” to visit family on the other side of the universe, err, I mean country.  Since we love visiting national parks, we usually hit one or two on our way to California and Washington.  We take one route there and a different route home, kind of a big circle around the western half of the US.

Right now we are in a hotel just outside Zion National Park.  We arrived late this afternoon with just enough time to go into the park and do a quick hike before the sun set.  We chose the Emerald Pools trail and made it to the middle pools before heading back down toward the Grotto.  It was fun to see the differences in the personalities of my boys on this hike.  Computer Boy (12 yo) was on a mission to conquer the mountain.  He would bolt up an rock formation near the trail to see if he could make it to the top.  He even had enough energy to take a turn carrying Dragon Boy in the back pack carrier.

Ninja Boy (10 yo) on the other hand couldn’t get down the mountain fast enough.  He walked as far from the edge of the trail as possible. He would dart sidelong glances at the more daring brothers and yell out, “Be careful!” “Get away from the egde!” “Stop touching him, you’re going to make him fall!”  Poor kid nearly had a panic attack with Tiger Boy would stumble (I was having the same panic attack).  I asked him to be our trail blazer so that he was looking ahead rather than watching his brothers.  I’d still catch him glancing back to make sure everyone was far enough away from the edge to his liking.  I loved seeing him care about his brothers’ well-being like that.

Tiger Boy (6 yo) was just as daring as Computer Boy but with a little less finesse.  He’s the one that scared me the most.  He didn’t have any of the caution that Ninja Boy had, all of the daring of Computer Boy but was as clumsy as most kids his age.  He made me wish we had a harness on him just in case he took a tumble over the edge.

Dragon Boy (3 yo) had it the best.  He got to ride in the back pack.  We let him walk for the beginning part of the trail before there were any cliffs to fall off.  He quickly tired and asked to go in the pack.  He seems to have a little more of the caution that Ninja Boy has as he repeatedly told Dad, “Be careful” with a look of concern on his face.

Husbeast was all rearing to go on a second hike at dusk but I was able to convince him to wait until tomorrow (and by convince him I mean I refused to get off the bus). I don’t know about you but a hike along a narrow canyon cliff with 4 boys running hither and thither is scary enough in the full light of day.  I’m not interested it attempting in in the waning light.  Call me crazy.

For the past few years, Husbeast has been trying to convince me to take the boys on an amazing trail called Angel’s Landing.  Picture a razor thin trail with a steep drop off on either side with only a chain to hold onto.  Now picture doing this with a 6 year old who can barely walk on a flat trail without tripping on his own feet.  Now add a 10 year old who is leery of heights and just for fun, throw a 3 yo in a back pack.  Sounds like a blast, I know.  The only kid I feel remotely comfortable letting do the trail is the 12 yo.  He assures me that it’ll be fine and no one will plummet to their death.  I said, if he wants to remain married to me, he’ll drop it and not mention it again until the youngest is at least 12.  I do believe we can physically do the trail, I don’t believe I can handle it mentally.  I would have a full blown anxiety attack on the mountain.  Not for myself, I love heights, but for my crazy kids.  Not gonna happen.

So tomorrow Husbeast and Computer Boy will hike Angel’s Landing while the other brothers and I lounge at the pool and go for a swim in the river.  I’ll try not to envision them plummeting off the side of the cliff.  Try.

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