Have you ever done something that was amazingly, incredibly, awesomely beautiful, and also pretty scary and probably a bad idea? Yeah… us either. 🙂
We started out our day at the park we found yesterday. I took the kids there early in the hopes that we would beat the heat, and it worked! There are tons of trees there and we stayed in the shade where it was about 10 degrees cooler. Good thing, because it was 85 degrees by 8:30am! The kids played happily, and immediately made a friend. A sweet couple from Germany had stopped their RV at the park to let their daughter play, and my kids adopted her. She was delighted to have other kids around, and we all thought she was the bees’ knees. The kids all played together, I chatted with the parents, and we took turns dragging everyone back from the one mud puddle in the whole park.
Eventually it got too hot to stay there, and the kids were starting to get grumpy and hungry. We went for a little drive north to check out the cool mountains that looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. We drove for a little bit and then headed back to the motel, where we ate lunch, relaxed and did quiet time while we waited for Lover to finish up his work day.
Then we packed up and drove about a half an hour up the other side of the river to Swasey’s Recreation Area. This was an unexpected gem on the Green River, and it was quite a popular place! The river was fast and raging, but lots of bushes and trees growing right in the water created some shallow, safer places for the kids to play in the sand. They had a blast using their hats as buckets to carry the sand over to the sand castle they were constructing at the water’s edge. They all got filthy, and Cassandra’s new dress apparently didn’t have the dye set, so she turned a lovely shade of blue as the afternoon wore on. 🙂
We went back to the hotel for a quick dinner and showers for everyone. Once we looked fairly human again, we loaded up once more and drove to Canyonlands National Park. It’s about an hour from where we were staying in Green River, and the drive is so beautiful that we kept saying “why even go to Canyonlands! This is gorgeous!”
Canyonlands is open 24/7 and there is no fee currently. There are also currently no services. We had lots of food and water, and didn’t plan to do much more than drive along some of the roads and see the views. We were there about an hour before sunset, and the sunlight on all the rock formations was just gorgeous. We decided to take the White Rim trail, which promised to be only 4 miles, and we didn’t see any additional warnings about difficulty. We stopped at a pretty lookout point and then the road became quite a bit more narrow, and started doing some pretty dramatic switchbacks down the side of the canyon. It was absolutely nerve wracking and stunningly gorgeous at the same time. We made it to the bottom, let the kids hike for a little bit while we recuperated, and then loaded back up and drove BACK up the canyon trail, since the road through the bottom of the canyon seemed to continue indefinitely. Once we got to the top and made it to the bathrooms, we found a sign that said “White Rim Trail – 45 miles, 4W drive only!” Whoops! For those who have been worried about our van – if our van can make that drive, we are gonna be just fine for the rest of our trip! You can see in some of the pictures the tiny road that winds through the bottom of the canyon – that’s the amount of elevation we went down to reach the bottom of the canyon! Terrifying! There’s tons more to explore at this park – but by the time we reached the rim again we were losing the light and it was pretty late. Stunningly gorgeous place – 10/10. 🙂
We got back to the hotel pretty late, and 3/4 kiddos were already asleep. In the morning we pack up and head further SW into Utah, where we will spend a week!