Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Yellowstone National Park is just too good to not repeat regularly

 My parents took me to Yellowstone National Park for the first time when I was about 8 years old and I have been in love with it ever since.  

I have posted previous trips to Yellowstone here on the blog, but we went again this year for Fall Break and as you can see from the pictures my family has grown up (and expanded!).  

And, since everything that is great about Yellowstone is outside, it was the perfect place to go during a pandemic too.

Forest fires have always been part of Yellowstone's history.  Understanding that they are a natural part of the lifecycle of the park helps to view scars as beauty instead of blight.

The storms brought amazing sunsets.  Notice that we were alone at Norris Geyser Basin--something that only happens when it's late in the season and stormy.

Steamboat Geyser is the world's tallest active geyser and it has been really active this year.  We didn't see it blow while we were there, but in this picture you can see how wide its explosions go.

We watched Old Faithful geyser from a new vantage point this year.  We hiked up the trail above the geyser and it was a great place to see just how big the eruption is.

Sometimes even when the boardwalks are officially open--they aren't!  Bison sometimes decide who can pass and who can't.  Today, we couldn't.  My daughter loves the "hunchy bois" ;-)

I try to slow down when I'm in the park.  Noticing the reflections is sometimes even more enlightening than the pools themselves.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is always just stunning--especially late in the day on stormy days.

The Upper Falls have been inspiring artists and visitors since time immemorial.

They grow up whether you want them to or not ;-).  Yes, it was pretty cold and I made everyone stay until the sunset was gone.

Our drive home also took us through the Grand Teton National Park.  It was a dramatic day for picture taking.  I have so many memories here too--I once spent 3 days canoeing/rafting down the Snake River through the park and past Jackson Hole to the class 4 rapids!

La Jolla California


Sunset at La Jolla Shores

A bucket full of Sand Crabs

A day at the Mormon Battalion Historical Site

Panning for gold at the Mormon Battalion Historical Site

The waves at La Jolla Cove

Playing in the sand until dark at La Jolla Cove

West coast sunsets are always spectacular.  La Jolla Cove overlook

This park above La Jolla Cove is great for playing and picnicking


Monday, April 29, 2013

Jumping Off of Things in Utah's Dixie - St. George

St. George, Utah is only a couple of hours drive northeast of Las Vegas and about 3 hours drive from our house in Provo.  We have family who have lived there for many years, so we have visited many times, but there is always something new to experience when you ask for direction from the locals.  My sister and Callie's brothers pointed us to some fun new things during our family reunion a couple of years ago, and this post will show you a couple of them.

Beginning Our Hike at the Trailhead of the Red Cliffs Nature Trail North of St. George Utah

There are a lot of awesome hikes in southern Utah, but this was the first time we had hiked the Red Cliffs Nature trail.  It was the perfect easy hike for young, old, and everyone in between.

Green Trees and Bushes Really Contrast with the Red Cliffs

The trail is located a few miles north of Washington, Utah and can be found just off of I 15.  We were there in August which is usually very hot and dry, but as you can see from the pictures, there was enough water that year to make for some great contrasting greenery to go with the famous red cliffs.

Dramatic Rock Formations and Foliage at Red Cliffs Nature Trail

The trail is a nice easy slope, but to either side there are plenty of things to explore, plus lots of good lizard, tadpole, and frog hunting so my boys were in heaven.

Waterfall, Pools, and Stream on the Red Cliffs Nature Trail North of St. George Utah

The trail follows the stream--narowing as you go--until you reach some red rock pools and a small waterfall.  That is where the trail officially ends, but you can explore further up--and the exuberant youth in our party had already done that long before the rest of us old folks even got there.

Steps Carved into the Rock on the way to the Waterfall on the Red Cliffs Nature Trail North of St. George Utah

There are steps carved right into the rock at the waterfall with a rope to hold onto so that anyone who wants to can get to the top fairly easily.

Jumping Off the Waterfall into the Red Rock Pool on the Red Cliffs Nature Trail North of St. George Utah

Of course, the purpose for climbing the steps to the top is to jump off!  The pool is quite deep, clear, and refreshingly cool (that translates to cold for some in our party...).  It seems that finding ways to jump off of rocks was the theme of this trip, and I have to admit that once I worried, fussed, and spent time checking things out, I really had a lot of fun joining in with the kids.

Picnic Table Right in the Lake at Sand Hollow Near St. George Utah

Why would you picnic at the lake when you can picnic in the lake!  Sand Hollow is a reservoir not far from St. George that has tons of beachfront, cool water, and gorgeous views all around.  On a hot day in August, this is one of the best spots around to spend your day.

Cliff Jumping at Sand Hollow Near St. George Utah

And... of course we found things to jump off of at the lake too!  Cliff Jumping is scary and fun.  One of the best parts about this particular spot is that you can find heights from 1 foot to 30 feet high depending on your courage level.  The water is deep all around this cliff and so landing on rocks is not much of a concern.  Even the littlest among us found a spot where they not only felt comfortable jumping, but absolutely loved it.

Jumping off a 30 Foot Cliff into the Water at Sand Hollow Near St. George Utah

What would be more fitting than a 30 foot leap to end this post?  The teenagers couldn't leave well enough alone until they had jumped multiple times from the highest point (and convinced some of the pre-teens, and way-post-teens to do it too).  In the end, both Callie and I were among those to "go for it" and it was awesome!

If you want to get away to the red rocks and warm weather from either northern Utah or the endless casino mazes of Las Vegas, head on over to St. George and jump off something!  We highly recommend it.