Friday, April 10, 2009

What a beautiful world!

We just returned from a trip to Bryce and Zion Canyons with two of our daughters and their families. Eleven of us made the trip - my husband being the oldest at 71, and my new little grandson at age 12 weeks being the youngest. Trying to coordinate that many people of vastly different ages for meals and lodging was interesting, to say the least, especially with a nursing baby. Julian always decided it was time to eat just as we were about to embark on a new adventure, so sometimes we waited for 45 minutes for him to eat, and sometimes we just left mom and baby to do their thing and went to do ours.

The decision to leave them behind when we hiked down the Navajo Trail at Bryce was a good one. I took 3 1/2 year old Violet while my husband and my other daughter and her family started down the trail in head of us. We were told this was an easy to moderate hike of only a mile and a half so we didn't think anything about Violet's little legs giving out on her.

The sky was a deep blue, the rocks were incredibly red and pink and orange, interspersed with the dark green of the pines and junipers. Such an unbelievably beautiful place. The hoodoos took on personalities and everyone had fun naming the different formations. "Oh, that looks just like ...." Fill in the blank.

The trail down was fairly steep in some places, with a lot of switchbacks. Violet shied away from the muddy places at first, but then it became sort of a game - plop into the mud and see if your shoes get stuck! We slipped and slid down the shady areas where the sun hadn't yet melted the snow and ice on the trail, and took pictures of the older grandchildren climbing up into holes in the rocks for photo ops, or posing for pictures in twisted cedar trees. They took off on their own into little side canyons (really nothing more than steep crevasses) and crossed the dry creek bed on fallen trees while the slower members of our party (mainly Violet and me) stopped to look at bugs and squirrels and explore shallow caves.

It was a gloriously beautiful day and the sun became warmer as it got higher in the cloudless blue sky. By time we began the trek back up from the bottom of the canyon, I was ready to shed more than a few of my layers. We were all melting. What a change from the 18 degree temperature when we watched the sun come up that morning at Sunrise Point!

Grandpa praised Violet a couple of times, telling her she sure was a tough little hiker to keep going and keep up with the older kids (a motivation to keep her moving), but when the trail got harder and steeper and Grandpa offered to carry her on his shoulders, Violet shook her head and her long blonde curls bobbed from side to side. "I'm tough. I can do it." And she did. We stopped and rested and enjoyed the view back down the steep trail and took lots of pictures, had a drink, and then started up again. I think a couple of times, if someone had offered to carry me, I would have taken them up on it.

The next day we did the two mile hike into Zion Canyon along the Virgin River to the Temple of Sinawava. What a contrast from the day before. It was early morning and the sun hadn't yet reached into the canyon. We were freezing. But no one complained. Not one of the five grandkids who were hiking did anything more than snuggle closer when we stopped for pictures. And of course, Julian was nestled snug and warm in his little carrier and slept through the entire hike.

The whole trip was a great experience in watching how our children are teaching their children to appreciate the beautiful world God created for us. The older cousins were so helpful and watchful with their younger cousins, it was a pleasure to see. All in all, it was an unforgettable few days. A wonderful time bonding with grandchildren that no longer live close enough to see every day - or even every month - and discover how they are changing as they grow up.

My beautiful 16 year old granddaughter confided if she had to be something else, she would choose to be a yellow flower because they are so bright and cheerful and hardy, and seem to grow everywhere, even in rocky places and along the road side. My 13 year old grandson, now almost a head taller than me, enjoys my company and I love his running commentary on the world. Emily, the 9 year old, is independent and always running ahead to explore, (driving her mother crazy!) while Heather, my six year old granddaughter, loved holding my hand while we walked - and talked non-stop, of course.

What an opportunity to get a glimpse of the world through the eyes of my grandchildren and share my feelings with them. But am I ready for a month long cross-country trip with them this summer? Mmm. We'll see. And when I figure out how to get the pictures from the DVD into this, I'll forward them!! :)


Valerie said...

I have some wonderful and grateful memories of my grandmother but nothing like this. Not complaining, just thinking what lucky grandkids you have! And next time I think I'd rather sit home and read a book then get out and do something, I'm going to remember this post. Thanks, Lynn!

Michele Ashman Bell said...

Girl you sure get around! Those kids are so lucky to have you for a grandma!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Lynn, what a wonderful adventure. I love the Zion's Park area---it is as you described, gorgeous. ;)Maybe someday I'll be able to take my grandkids on a similar trip. I can hardly wait. =D