After Bryce Canyon, we drove down to Zion. Bryce Canyon is around 8000 feet above sea level, and Zion Lodge is at about 4300 feet.
The drive down was awesome. It takes about 45 minutes from the entrance gate to the Lodge. The entrance to the Park is sitting around 7000 feet. And the peaks in this Park jut up to 12000 feet. It is simply incredible.
We drove through a tunnel, then back and forth, back and forth on switchbacks in order to drop our altitude to the canyon floor. The tunnel was built so long ago, prior to large cars and buses. They only allow one direction of traffic in at a time. If we had driven in the right lane, like normal, we would have ripped the entire top off the bus. Our bus drove down the middle of the road.
It was a nice change - staying on the canyon floor as opposed to the rims. Up to this point in our trip, we had been standing at the edge of the canyons looking down. Now we had to look up.
At dinner, Riley started to crash. Actually, I am surprised it took this long for one of the kids to hit the wall. We've been going nonstop for a week. Anyway, he wanted me to take him back to the room immediately after dinner. You know your kid does not feel well when he/she turns down the gift shop.
When we woke in the morning, before he even got out of bed, he said his tummy was hurting. Then he began throwing up. Ugh.
Not to get too specific and gross, but I suspected it was just from all the altitude changes and driving around. I was praying he wasn't dehydrated. He had no fever. But he stayed in bed until lunch. Stu offered to stay with him, so Reagan and I could spend some time together. He made sure Riley was drinking enough water.
Tram Tour in the Morning
Reagan and I met the rest of the family and our tour group at the lodge. We had a tram tour scheduled for the morning. Since the sun hadn't made its way down the to canyon floor, it was nice and chilly in the canyon until around 11am.
The tram was cool. It was an hour long. We rode up to a spot by the river where a lot of hikers begin their crazy activities. This Park is not short on hiking trails. There are a TON! Some are easy, some not even close. Zion had had one death this year (at the time of our trip)... a hiker fell from Angel's Point. The search and rescue crews here are always busy, according to our guide. Within the past 8 days, they've had to find and rescue 4 people!
Reagan loved it. I enjoyed watching her take pictures.
After the tram, the 7 Stus were going to ride horses. Reagan was THRILLED she was old enough to ride alone. The ride was an hour long, so after the tram, I ran back to the room to check on the boys. Riley seemed as though he had perked up a bit.
By the time I got to the corral, everyone was on their horses. I had to pay and sign the waiver first. Then I was led to my horse, Ghost. She was a white beauty. The horses are led out in a specific order - they like to keep the horses near other horses they like and are well-behaved. This means that I was nowhere near my child. Awesome. (insert angry eye roll) She was between her grand-parents and with her cousins. So I suppose it was ok.
I rode somewhere near the back. It was kind of nice to ride in total peace and quiet. The trail was nice. A bit too dusty for me. It killed my allergies. The views and surroundings are just incredible. Yes, I would have liked to have ridden next to my child. Yes, I would have skipped it if I knew I was going to ride alone. But the thing that really annoys is the stunning lack of photos... no one thought to snap a picture of my child on her horse. Not one photo. Unless you count the one I had to pay for from the company running the tour.
Live and learn, right?
Anyway, Reagan had the best time. She decided the we simply must move to Utah (which I am totally ok with) and own horses (not so sold on this one). She begged and begged to do the 4-hour ride.
Lunch, Dinner and a Time In
We all survived lunch at the Red Rock Grille. Riley still wasn't super hungry. Reagan inhaled her PB&J. I liked my fish and chips. Stu said the corned beef was good.
Toward the end of the meal, Riley started to lose it again. He wanted to go back to the room. I stayed with him while Stu and Reagan went on a hike to see one of the emerald pools. They came back hot and sweaty. Stu said it was not that interesting and the hike was pretty steep. We will have to take his word since I did not go.
The four of us spent the rest of the afternoon in the room. The kids were chilling on the beds watching Aladdin, then Up. It was just what we needed - a big family time in.
I was fearful of the next morning. How were we going to do with two sick kids on a bus to Las Vegas? My backup plan was to apologize to everyone and snag a seat in the back near the toilet.
It all turned out ok. Both kids felt better in the morning. We kept them hydrated. It seemed to work.
Saying Good-bye to Zion National Park
Time to climb onto the bus. Next stop: Las Vegas! Oh, and it's my birthday. Let's party!
We love to travel. Although our roaming souls often come back to the same places.