Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zions National Park

In case you were wondering if I haven't done enough hiking, you're right; I haven't. I am really falling in love with hiking and am grateful that I am living in a place that has so much wonderful hiking all around and the weather that makes it all possible to hike a lot more during than year.

I have been thinking I need to do more single stuff in the church and this was the week I started to act. I went to an institute class on Wed night and then Saturday was an all day hike in Zion's NP. So just to give you a small tasting of how tired I am right now I'll briefly describe my weekend to you. Friday after school I went out with some work friends for dinner, left them to join another friend at the temple for the 8 pm session. Arrived home around 10:30 and got everything ready for the hike. Woke up at 4:30 am and rendezvouxed at the speedway to carpool up to Zions at 6 am. Hiked all day and drove home, arriving at 9 pm. And it just happened to be welfare meeting at 7:30 am on Sunday with presidency meeting after that, then choir, church and then visits. It's now 6 pm and I'm wiped out, so much that I don't even want to cook dinner, I just want to go to bed and sleep.

Anyways. . . My hike was amazing. The whole time going up I was so excited to be doing this hike. I'be been wanting to do this hike for a long time. Jackie told me that I would be able to do this hike after doing so well in Sedona the previous week. I was hesitant, but decided I would try. The people I went with were very nice and there was no pressure to get up quickly. I hung out with a sister who it was her first time also, and we hiked up together. She did very well. The picture on the right is from the top and you can see how far away down really is.

Angel's Landing is a very steep hike with drop offs on both sides. There are 21 short but very steep switchbacks that are called Walter's Wiggles. At the end, chains are provided to help you climb the dificult inclines and help you to stay clear of drop offs. The view from the top is well worth the possible fear of falling to your death and the feeling of accomplishment is amazing. As I was hiking I had to sometimes put up my hands to act as blinders so my peripheral vision wouldn't scare me so much. But once I stopped moving I could look around and see how far up we actually were. On the way down it is much easier to run because it is so steep. You can see on the picture to the left that we had to walk out and across to reach the top.

Afterwards, we went to see Weeping Rock which was amazing and literally very cool. I'm sure once the summer comes and the plants are grown, it is an amazing sight. Apparantly water travels from the top of the mountain, through to the sandstone which is very pourous, moves horizontally until it seeps out and drips down. They said it takes 4000 years for the water to run its course. All in all it was a wonderful trip and hopefully the first of many more to come.
This guy Chris arranged monthly hikes and I think I'll start going to them. He has been doing these hikes for over a year, but I haven't gone because they have coincided with my Bruin Trailblazer group. But I haven't really done that since the Christmas break, so I'll start going with the SA group instead. He organizes everything, so that's one less thing for me to organize. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break - part III

After my trip to Sedona, AZ, I took Wed to recoup and have dinner and a movie with a dear friend, Michelle. But I had some research to do since I was off to Death Valley National Park in CA on Thursday. I tried to get some friends to come with me, but each one declined - so you know me, I went by myself. I left Thursday morning at 10 am and arrived back home half past 10 pm.

I went north to Scotty's Castle and toured that area, hiked up to his gravesight and walked around the guest shop/visitors center. It was a little chilly so I bought a Death Valley long sleeve shirt and of course my obligatory key chain. Death Valley is an interesting place with its unique beauty. There were a few wildflowers out; the tiniest yellow, white, purple, orange, and pink flowers I've ever seen. I contined south and stopped at Stovepipe Wells Village and Furnance Creek. I ate my linner at a yummy place in Furnance Creek and my waiter was from Dallas area. I recognized that he was from Texas because his "yes ma'am" came way too naturally. By then the sun was getting lower and I finished Artists Palette and Badwater with just enough sunlight left in the day. I headed south through Pahrump to get home to Las Vegas.

All in all it was a very fine and rewarding day trip. I am glad I went and can go again since I didn't get to see it all.

Spring Break - part II

After returning from St. George on Sunday, I had to hurry and pack for Sedona because I was leaving at 7 am the next morning. Jackie, my friend who is helping me run, and I have a 2-day trip to Sedona, AZ. Everyone I've spoken to says that it is beautiful and that they love it there. Everyone is right. It is beautiful!! Even though Sedona is only 5 hour away, it took us just under 12. We stopped in Williams for a few hours and had lunch. Then we stopped in Flagstaff for a few more hours. Let's just say that I am doing my fair share (if not more) to support our suffering economy. There are so many cute and fun stores in these places it was hard to not buy everything I saw.

When we finally arrived in Sedona, we got our room and then met up with Jackie's brother, Bill, for dinner at the Cowboy Club. Then we drove out near Montezuma's well; the stars were brilliant.

Our next day was full of hiking. We hiked up Devil's Bridge and saw some firemen from El Paso, TX training on the bridge. They were learning rock climbing and were all in Hawaiian shirts, quite the sight. Next we headed to Cathedral Rock and enjoyed the river running through Oak Canyon. We stopped and dipped our feet in the refreshing river. Grabbed some lunch in town then off to Brins Mesa for our afternoon hike. We finished a little earlier than planned so back to town for some more shopping. Finally our drive back to Vegas.

It was such a fun trip and there is definitely reason for me to return. So much to see and do. I bought this book that highlights Sedona's Top 10 Hikes and I would like to complete them all. On this trip, I was able to do 3 of them, so 7 more left. Anyone up for a trip to Sedona with me???

Below are some pics from my trip. If you want to see the captions and/or stop the slide, put your mouse on the picture.

Spring Break - part I

Spring break started wonderfully with General Conference. Friday I drove up to St. George to stay with Kirk & Vanessa. It also turned out that Uncle Frank and family were down there celebrating his 60th birthday. I was able to visit with his family, which is something that I rarely have the opportunity to do. It was so much fun to see and talk with Cam and Carston and their families. Brooke & Tessa and Grandpa & Dottie came to be with us as well. And it also turned out that Dad and Jan came down as well. So Friday we had a BBQ at Uncle Frank's new home in St. George.

Saturday I woke up and put in my run before conference. It was wonderful to run in St. George; however it was a bit chilly in the morning. For the first time I ran with a sweatshirt and my face was really, really cold; something I haven't experienced in Las Vegas. I did my 3 miles and got my shoes really dirty from the back roads, but it was beautiful.

Dad, Jan and Grandpa came over for the afternoon session on Saturday and watched with us all day Sunday. Conference was really good and I feel a newness and am recommitted to living a better life. I hope you enjoyed conference too!!!

Waylan was very well behaved for our many hours of "church-on-tv". I brought up my Qwirkle game and we had a fun time mixing the shapes and colors.

I drove home Sunday after conference, unpacked, then packed again for my Sedona trip the next day (see Spring Break - part II).