Here's a picture of Helen just after we got out of the car. She was as happy as she could be to have new things to look at. I think she'll be a Nature Girl, like me. Well, I like to fancy myself a Nature Girl but I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to bugs with long legs. Spiders and beetles. Yuck! I can look at them but if you get them near me, "No, Gracias Senor!!!!!!"
I love caterpillars though. The cottonwood trees were covered with these net/nest type things full of caterpillars. The kids had so much fun with their pet caterpillars. They tried to save as many as they could because they were covering the ground by the visitor's center. You really could not take a step without squishing one or two or three of them. It was quite sad. They were friendly little things.
Helen lived up to her other nickname "The Best Girl in the World" given to her by Cinci. She was such a great hiker. We left our campsite around 9 or 10 in the morning and came back around 6 each day and she didn't complain. Just as long as she could eat she was fine.
The Virgin River was a nice place for the kids to throw rocks in. I love rivers. Sometimes parents take their kids to playplaces in the fast food restaurants to get a moment of peace. That's what you get. A moment of peace. Then they come to you asking for something. Rivers are better for my boys. The can throw rocks as long as they want. There were no other people around. It was great! Of course we had to keep our eye on Hector just in case he got washed away, but other than that Jonathan and I got to rest a hundred feet away in a little grove of shade with Helen.
Here's Jonathan, Hector, and Atticus one morning. I got to sleep in the van with Helen and two of the boys were up in the pop top, and he got to be outside with those two. The weather was so perfect for sleeping under the stars. We even brought Atticus' telescope to look at the stars but it broke on the drive to Zions thanks to our oldest's hyperactivity! Oh well. It looks cool in our campsite at least.
Here's Jonathan and Helen in front of some of those steep, red, cliffs by the temple of Sinawava. Really striking and breathtaking. Whenever the kids ask me what the word breathtaking means I remind them of an experience we had just last Christmastime. We were driving south to Newport Beach and we were making good time. We saw the sign for Kolob Canyons, which is part of Zion National Park, just south of Cedar City. I had been to Zions before when I was a teenager but I didn't remember anything about it. So, we decided to drive in a little way just to see what it looked like. The mountains from I-15 look really boring if you look east. How pretty could Kolob Canyons be? Really? No skin off our backs if it was boring hills with slight shrubbery. So we drove in, passed the visitors center, followed the curvy road for a few minutes and BOOM! My hands grabbed the sides of my seat. Red rock mountains dusted with snow loomed before us all of a sudden. "Oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!" I basically screamed. Atticus turned around in his seat, "What Mom? What's wrong?" He faces the back of the car in our van so he couldn't see what I was seeing. Sherman rarely notices anything outside the car so of course he didn't react. Cinci might have noticed but had no comment. It was like the moment in Neverending Story where Atreyu rides the luck dragon around the pieces of the destroyed Fantasia in search of the ivory tower, when it finally appears in the movie, the music comes on real strong and the camera zooms in on the ivory tower. It was just like that moment, except it was at Kolob Canyons.
So, Zion was really fun. We had an enjoyable camping trip with daddy. The last night of our camping trip, none of the boys wanted to sleep in the pop top or the van. They all wanted to sleep out with Jonathan even though there wasn't enough room for all of them on the mattress. Jonathan is a hardworking daddy. I'm sure glad that Helen is probably our last kid because Jonathan looks pretty beat most of the time. He really gives life his all. I'm so glad he joined me on this camping trip. I think its one of the best activities for our boys.