Our first road trip out West, we saw coyotes and foxes, in addition to various other more commonplace animals. Part of the joy of spending time outdoors, of course, is encountering animals in their natural habitats. Although no predators deigned to show themselves during our recent road trip through the American Southwest, the wildlife encounters we did have – some a little too close for comfort, even – left us feeling incredibly fortunate.
We set two alarms, rising with the sun. Zion was calling. We had already spent two days hiking in Utah’s grandest national park, but we had saved the best for last. Not only was this our last day in Utah, but it was also D’s birthday, which he had long wanted to celebrate atop Angel’s Landing.
After hunkering down all of Saturday and watching the blizzard rage on into the night, we were excited to see the sun beaming down today. Perfect weather to play outside and enjoy the accumulation from one of the most powerful snowstorms to ever hit the East Coast.
Have you ever walked into a bookstore and found yourself completely at a loss? You know there are dozens of books you want to read. Some have been recommended by friends or in literary reviews, others are time-tested classics. You might have even made a list at one point, and yet as soon as you set foot in the store your mind goes blank and you can’t recall a single title or author. It happens to us all the time, and though we enjoy browsing the shelves of independent book stores, we find it helpful to have at least a few specific books in mind. Having recently put together a list of Munchkin’s favorite books, here are a few adult recommendations from our shelves.
Washington, D.C. does not know how to handle winter, as anyone who has lived in the District will readily attest. At the slightest hint of snow, public schools close, government buildings shut down, stores sell out of their stocks, and public transportation grinds to a half. With snowfall this weekend predicted to reach the highest level in a hundred years, potentially, D.C. authorities hit the panic button early. Schools closed before a single snowflake had fallen. We also got half a snow day, with FSI joining other federal agencies in dismissing all staff by noon.
About a year ago, we did a couple of posts on Munchkin’s favorite baby books. There are a handful of those early board books that still hold his interest, but by and large he has moved on to more advanced toddler literature. S’s mom had saved the books from her childhood, and we have incorporated a few of the classics S loved as a kid into Munchkin’s book collection. We also stocked up on Russian-language books before leaving Chisinau, though these have been less popular with our young, avid reader.
Zion National Park is Utah’s Yosemite. It is big, beautiful, and full of massive monoliths that tower over a green valley. A placid river winds its serpentine way between the peaks, sometimes flooding the valley in monsoon season. Unlike many of the other parks we had visited during our road trip, which can be seen in a day or two, Zion demands more time and attention. With our stay in Utah winding down, we spent our last three days in the state hiking in Zion.
The Grand Canyon may be America’s most famous gorge, but it is not its most photographed. That honor belongs to the much smaller Antelope Canyon, which also can be found in northern Arizona. Located on Navajo land near the town of Page, Antelope Canyon is about 75 miles away from Kanab — perfect driving distance for a day trip, especially since there are plenty of other landmarks en route to and around Page that can be added to the itinerary. Despite the crush of visitors, Antelope proved one of the most memorable sites of our Southwest road trip, which had already provided quite a number of remarkable highlights.
You know that moment when a light expletive escapes your lips only for your toddler to throw it right back at you in that teeny-tiny voice of his? And it sounds so cute and funny that you can’t help but laugh out loud, which of course makes him crack up, say “funny,” and laugh along with you. He won’t learn “red” and “white” no matter how often you say the words, but somehow has no trouble repeating a multi-syllable adult phrase. No? That has never happened to you? Us neither. Never happened, honest.
Chronicling our adventures across Utah and Arizona, we have inadvertently avoided one of the highlights of traveling through the American southwest — the food. When planning a trip, deciding where to eat and sleep is just as important as researching what to see and do. With that in mind, here are our culinary recommendations for anyone embarking on a tour of Utah’s national parks.