Our time in Austin was mostly about work and emptying our storage unit but we did sneak out one afternoon of fun! Jonah and I ventured out to The Fomo Factory to celebrate his 6th birthday with some fun photos.
Bryce Canyon National Park! We were so excited that we set up the RV and jumped over to the visitor center to grab some Jr. Ranger packets real quick. But you know what happened next? We got pulled right in to that park for a quick peek. And then we just wanted to get out of the truck a second. And then we were hiking to the overlook. It happens every.single.time! We just can’t resist!
Yesterday was a pretty simple day for us. We were all a little tired so we just drove around Bryce Canyon, stopping at the different scenic view points.
The Natural Bridge at Bryce Canyon. There was a clearly defined path out there with a sign saying it’ll cost you a $100 fine. I’ve seen enough photos on Instagram to know lots of people risk it lol.
Views for days.
We absolutely love our spot at Ruby’s Inn just outside Bryce Canyon. We are literally one minute from the park entrance and our spot is HUGE. We were all so surprised at the space, being Thousand Trails members we know they would squish 4 families in this one spot lol. We have a huge grass pad, firepit rock area and a spot wide enough to park next to the RV. Spaaaaaace is such a luxury, y’all!
We were supposed to go hiking yesterday but decided to lay low instead. That meant a drive around Bryce Canyon and cooking brinner over the fire. Because we all love bacon more when it is cooked outside. Jonah and Jude played big frisbee until it landed on a big Class A next to us. Thankfully they weren’t cranky and encouraged Jude to climb up and get it.
Our first hike this morning lead us to a mossy cave and a beautiful waterfall.
The view going down….
We really wanted to hike the switchbacks taking us down in to Bryce Canyon. But we totally overdid it and paid for it. The view was completely unreal though. By far the hardest, yet most rewarding, hike we’ve done yet. I started to get worried when very physically fit people were struggling on the way back up. Our fitness trackers tell us we hiked 4 miles, almost 10,000 steps and 24 flights of stairs.
The view going back up.
This little guy followed us around at the top of the canyon. I’m pretty sure he was asking for food as he came right up to us, stood up, and waited.
The light vs dark going down was pretty dramatic mid afternoon. Can you spot Jason with the little boys?
We felt tiny.
Bryce is like nothing we have ever seen! We made so many wonderful memories here and I think it’ll end up being one of our fave parks of the year.
The entrance to Wahweap campground at Lake Powell was a stunner.
I really think this spot has been my most favorite yet. The view plus the smooth trail in front where the kids could ride scooters for hours on end. Even Z got in a few “hikes”. This was taken from our front door. 🙌🏻
So hard to say goodbye to this gorgeous view. We will be back this way when we hit Monument Valley later in the year and I *really* want to rent a boat when we come back.
Horseshoe Bend. It was a pretty intense hike there and back. Sand is tough on my injured foot. But the reward was totally worth it. Any guesses on which kid gave me a heart attack by walking right up to the edge?! It was *not* Jonah! It was totally Taryn.
Wearing Jonah at Horseshoe Bend was a must. And this is about as close as they got to the edge. I love his head peeking around to see the view below 😍
When the world is your playground.
The hike up (and then down lol) to Horseshoe Bend was beautiful. I put a short video up on YouTube about the logistics of this adventure with kids.
Upper Antelope Canyon was a dream today. Get ready for an obscene amount of oversharing. Oh, and let’s pretend Taryn doesn’t look taller than me here ok?
This place, it changes you. I was so overwhelmed midway through I teared up. It’s completely indescribable. And I’ve never felt so inadequate as a photographer. This place has a soul and it feels impossible to tell the story with a lens.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the canyon. I thought you walked in, viewed it and walked out. But it’s actually a hike *through*, almost 1/2 a mile to get to the other side where you can exit and explore a bit. Then we returned the same way we came. The Upper canyon is pretty dark right in the middle of that 1/2 mile, it’s almost other worldly! Our guide made a comment about not being able to photograph the middle because it was dark and Jase and I giggled to ourselves. I used to be a birth photographer, shooting in the dark is my jam!
I could have spent all day in the canyon taking texture photographs. We lucked in to getting a guide who usually does the photo specific tours. I really wanted to do one of those tours but they are 2x the money and we couldn’t take the kids on that one. He knew exactly where to direct me though and it was so helpful!
When we purged the house I got rid of a bunch of old camera equipment. But I held on to my 13 year old Nikon D50. It was my first DSLR and the camera I learned on. When we moved in to the RV it got tucked in a cabinet. When we finally got around to digging it out for the kids to learn to use, it kept giving me errors. I finally got it working again last night and Jude was so thrilled to have it just in time for Antelope Canyon! Our guide helped him with his settings before we entered and he did so good. I’ll be posting some of his pics over the next day or so.
Jude captured this photo of Zachary. It perfectly tells the story of Z’s time in Antelope Canyon. He was alllll about the sand.
Jonah was the only one not impressed. He was so bored. I was surprised….I thought he’d love it. Like it was a fort or something, but nope, not interested. I think his favorite part was the very bumpy off road ride there lol.
We used Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours and highly recommend them. We got lucky and were the last group to enter and we were at the back of the line since it took us awhile to install our carseat in the vehicle going out to the canyon. This worked in our favor because we could then turn around during the tour and photograph the empty “room” with no one in it. By the time we left there were multiple tour companies running and it was VERY crowded. I highly recommend this tour company because they started earlier than the rest and it makes a big difference in how enjoyable the experience is without the big crowds. So my big tip is: go early and go in last if you can.
Also worth noting, we chose upper because we didn’t have to climb ladders in upper. With my foot injury it just made more sense for us. Lower is less accessible. Also, you cannot baby wear in the canyon, we had to carry Z or let him walk. This is to keep the walls from being scratched.
This guy and I went on a date last night. For the first time in over a year, just the two of us. We walked down old Route 66, took in the old neon lights and sites. We held hands and he opened doors for me. I took a few photos and we meandered the fun shops. It’s was perfect. Slowly but surely I’m finding myself pulling myself out and doing “normal” things that felt overwhelming and hard after the trauma. Tonight was fun and it felt so good to feel that again.
The Disney movie Cars was modeled after this cute little town in the middle of nowhere on Route 66. We heard that the movie artists visited before they began working on their first renderings. It’s so easy to see and feel how similar it is.