After returning from our first trip to Zion National Park last week, I couldn’t imagine a more amazing classroom for a kid. Though the drive was only 8 hours, our journey took us in and out of 4 states, across a timezone, through a snowstorm (in our mighty Prius), and eventually to our final destination at elevation 9200′. Alex had plenty of questions… We began our trip with a bit of shameless, fun in the snow and got very fortunate with our trip/weather timing (Dennis claims it was genius planning/Jaime is fairly certain is was pure luck). We made it to our apartment at Brian Head resort, through several inches of snow when the storm arrived properly. We were snowed in. Three days later, the snow finally stopped, the storm clouds parted ways, and we enjoyed our last day of sliding down the mountain before we continued on our journey. Southern Utah’s landscape is totally surreal, and the way it looks today is the result of the work of the elements over so many millions of years that it can seem impossible. It’s quite humbling standing at the base of 2000 foot, sheer, towering cliffs or over the edge of a plunging valleys where once ancient rivers carved their way through soft sandstone mountains that were born from giant sand dunes. It’s amazing to see our planets vast geological history all around you and realize that we’re just a tiny quark-sized speck in our Earth’s history. Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and the surrounding areas are enchanting and can very overwhelming on an emotional level at times. At the end of this one, particularly beautiful short-hike we did, the impossible beauty of it all overwhelmed Jaime and her eyes welled up with tears of joy, which in turn made my eyes do exactly the same thing. We believe that while on an adventure, if you don’t get a few bruises, don’t have at least one little cry, or if you arrive home with a clean car…you didn’t have the MOST fun possible. We encourage everyone to get out and explore the wide open spaces in this beautiful country that are protected by our National Parks Service. An annual pass costs a measly $80.00 and that gets you into any of them – and there are 398 areas in total! The 2nd to last photo is my absolute favorite – Alex, after just completing his first park acheivement in the Junior Ranger Program, with his field journal, Zion badge, and his 7-in-1 survival tool. Classic.