The ranger was friendly enough but oh my goodness was his chat all over the place. The kids' eyes were glazing over and eventually Ryan snuck away with antsy Lila--though more to her relief or his I don't know--while the boys and I stayed strong so they could earn their badge. Finally the chat was over, their papers were signed, and we were on to the next task: collecting garbage to throw away. Garbage was disappointingly easy to come by, so we were finished rather quickly and ready to go on our hike!
We stopped ten minutes later. This hike back up to the top of the canyon? It was going to be a hike. We pushed through, stopping only once or twice, until we came to a section of the trail that made us question our sanity. I can't properly describe it, so here's a picture of it--from the top. We were at the bottom of this monstrosity, planning to go up it!
Finally, though, we made it, and stopped again for a rest and some water--because in front of us were more switchbacks that, though longer, were perhaps steeper. Perhaps I should mention at this point that Ryan has asthma and we had left his inhaler in the car. So that was awesome. Anyway, we decided to keep going, because it's not like we could really not keep going. Ryan really wasn't breathing well, so he sent me ahead with the kids (we were SO CLOSE yet so far from the top), so he could take longer breathers. Eventually, the kids and I made it to the top of the hike, then anxiously awaited Ryan's arrival while drinking tons of water.
We were all happy to see Ryan when he came up the final stretch. We limped to the car, drove to the visitor's center to redeem the boys' packets for junior ranger badges, then decided that was probably all the hiking we could handle for one day. We stopped for lunch, then drove to Cedar Breaks, where we didn't hike at all.
We did enjoy earning the kids' third junior ranger badge--with the simplest packet to date--and the SNOW that was on the ground! Snow! The kids loved throwing snowballs at each other, but mostly loved throwing snow at our bums.
Then it was time to drive to St. George. We were planning on sleeping in St. George Saturday night and driving home to Vegas Sunday morning before church. But, after eating dinner, we decided to just go all the way home--we didn't want to wake up to face even more driving! Plus, my parents weren't at their house--they were out of town for the weekend--so there was nothing keeping us.
We got home and slept in our OWN beds, which was amazing. The next day Ryan mapped out our trip and we found that we had driven 1,467 miles! We had so much fun and are already looking forward to doing another trip like this one in the future!