We had ridiculously nice weather in early December when we left Mexico to head up to Utah. As this was the last leg of our RVing adventure, it was a Godsend to be able to make the most of it. It was cold, but there was no rain or snow accumulation. We were able to take lots of short hikes, do some nature journaling, and have some fun adventures along the way.
The RV hummed along as we departed Mexico up to Utah. We reached Zion National Park on our second full day of driving. We had an amazing time there. This awe-inspiring valley is full of great hikes and experiences. We took several day hikes and explored the Emerald Lakes, the entrance to The Narrows and Hidden Canyon. We explored the visitors center, learned about the petroglyphs and wondered at the hanging gardens and amazing vistas. It is a remarkable thing to see.
From Zion, we headed to Bryce Canyon. It was getting colder as we approached 8,000’ but we still managed a great trip. We did the Queens Garden trail and Cameron got us all up early one morning to enjoy the sunrise overlooking Bryce Canyon (inside sleeping bags and sipping cocoa). We caught a ranger talk on geology and managed to hit all the viewpoints. I would definitely go back to hike more of Bryce, I feel like we barely scratched the surface and I loved the terrain with its mix of manzanitas, ponderosa pines, and sandy sparkling soils.
We were then off to Capitol Reef for a quick visit. We took a scenic route through what is left of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, the most remote and the last mapped area of the United States. This ended up being the most beautiful and scenically dramatic drive of the RV trip for me. We went along Highway 12 and rode the ridge tops on our way. Capitol Reef is less visited and there is far less infrastructure, but its grand walls and history is fascinating. We got to see the Pilgrims Record on the walls of the canyons alongside the petroglyphs. Pretty stunning, and we had the place almost to ourselves.
From Capitol Reef, we headed to Arches for the fastest stop on the trip. We only spent one night at arches but we made the most of it, hiking out to Landscape arch at sunset and into the night. Landscape is the arch that is predicted to be the next to fall so, we had to see it before that happened! We stayed up late and pulled the sleeping bags outside and star gazed with the girls, mapping the movement of the stars overhead and finding constellations…with cocoa in hand naturally. The next day we did a short hike in the morning and then we were off… not a totally satisfying stop, it just wetted our appetite for more.
The reason we cut Arches short was that we saw our last chance to spend some time on the slopes. After inquiring with the local ski bums we identified Ski Cooper as our destination of choice. A fun and relatively easy family hill with affordable pricing and a great kids program. Off we went to camp out in Leadville. I’m very glad we had already been hanging out on the Colorado plateau at nosebleed elevations because even with that advantage, we felt the altitude significantly, but weren’t hampered by it too much. The elevation provided decent snow at a time when most Colorado resorts were hurting from the lack of it. The girls were in lessons for two days straight and were totally happy and totally exhausted by the end of it. Cameron and I even took a lesson and had fun trying to break old and ingrained habits.
Monday morning saw us trucking east on our way to Indiana. We spent two full, not unpleasant days driving through Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois before hitting Indiana late on the second day.
We were met warmly by Cameron’s parents as we piled into their home laden with our worldly possessions and ready for some downtime. I know that must sound funny to some, but the planning and thought that goes into life on the road, adding in homeschool and meaningful field trip experiences, making sure the RV has fuel, food, propane, water and that the tanks are managed takes some time. Planning where we are going, making sure there will be a place to park tonight and all that does require some doing as well. So, when we arrived at Mimi and Gramps’, it was kick-back time.
And that is exactly what we have been doing. Or did, for at least the first three weeks. The celebrations of Christmas and New Years with family (The whole Vawter Clan!) was just what I had been missing. For the last two years, we have been without family during the holidays so this year… it was time for some family time before we really and truly and finally head out on the boat.
Now that we have decided that the Christmas holiday is finally over (well, the tree was still up only a few days ago… so, we have been stretching it out), and the holiday eating is over (a must as I have gained enough winter padding for one year), Cameron and I have been getting along with our pre-Pacific to-do lists. More on that in another post. But, I will tell you that we are over one big hurdle. Cameron sold the RV. In January. In Indiana. Yes, a great feat of salesmanship. Thank you craigslist!
On to the next adventure!