Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 3-Canyonlands

Since Dad's feet were hurt, we decided to head to Canyonlands where there is more driving and less hiking. Our first stop was to the visitor center to see if they had a junior ranger program.  While we were there we saw this big bugs with long legs.  We decided to challenge the rangers to see if they knew what kind of bug it was.  They called it a stink bug.  I think it's called a stink bug because when it gets smooshed, it really stinks but I could be remembering wrong!
We drove out to Aztec Butte and N2, Brian and I took the hike to the top while Mom and Dad sat in the car.  Mom did go and take some flower pictures.  Luckily it was a cool-ish day and there was a breeze so it wasn't a problem for them to sit in the car (I think at one point Dad actually got a little cool sitting there!).  I think we were the first people on the trail that morning because we saw tons of animal tracks.  We saw lizard, kangaroo rat, snake and bobcat tracks all cross the trail at almost the same point!  We rounded the first butte and up at the top was a big horn sheep! The ranger we talked to later said that we are lucky because most people don't get to see them.

This was NOT an easy climb.  It was quite steep and there were challenging spots to get up.  Brian and I had to told on to hands a lot and Brian had to help kids climb quite a bit.  He'd take one kid up, make them sit and stay and then return to take the other kid.  There was one spot at the top that I wasn't sure I could get up but I finally did!
 I think this is the best picture of Brian with N2 that I got on our trip.
There were phenomenal views from the top of the butte!  There were also some Indian ruins which N2 decided was not a good place to live, that it might be too dangerous!

This is what we climbed.
We went and ate lunch by Upheaval Dome.  While N2, Grandma, Grandpa and I finished eating and worked on the junior ranger book, Brian hiked the trail to Upheaval Dome.  He had some good pictures!  (Again, I'll let him blog about his pictures)  We then did some driving to see the fantastic views of the canyons.

Then we drove back to where Mesa Arch was and hiked out to the arch.  This was a pretty easy hike.  While we were at the arch, N2 gathered rocks and built cairns.  They fell in love with cairns on this trip (I'll do a post of random things at the end of the trip).  We made sure they destroyed their cairns before we left so that we didn't lead people astray and go off the cliff!

N2 enjoyed this hike and were quite cute hiking back.  They decided they were going to be good junior rangers and they were going to help people up the steps.  Every time we got to a step (on the way back), N2 would rush ahead and wait at the stairs to grab our hands and "pull" us up.  They would even help each other up!  They would also tell us to watch our step because that's what rangers do.

After our hike we returned to the visitor's center to turn in N2's junior ranger books.  I was SO impressed by the ranger who reviewed their books and did the little ceremony.  I don't think anyone lived up to this first ranger.  She was so excited to see their books and ask them questions about things and she really listened to what they had to say.  Her enthusiasm was amazing.  They had to say a pledge at the end.  Noah was quite reluctant each time we did it.  He wouldn't pose with the ranger but Natalie did.
We split up after this.  Brian and Dad drove the 4 wheel drive road out of Canyonlands and Mom, N2 and I went the other way.  N2 napped in the car so we went swimming when we got back to Mom and Dad's hotel.  Unfortunately it was too cold to go swimming so we didn't last too long!

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