Because my mother is awesome, she organized a trip to Zion National Park for the fam the day after Thanksgivjnf. (I am just giving up on this whole turkey-day-spelling thing. Shouldn’t autocorrect step in here?)
We rolled out of Payson around 9 AM, but not before recreating a classic Pullan family photo.
We stopped for lunch at Arctic Circle in Cedar City. Jason had never been to AC before, but the halibut sandwich won him over and he is now a devotee. Squeezed together on the hard plastic chairs listening to Adam and Grant joke around reminded me of how fun it is when my family is all together.
We made it to Zion around 2, then took the shuttle up to the top of the canyon.
We did the River Walk trail out to the beginning of The Narrows.
I say this every time we go to Utah, but there is just nothing on the east coast that compares to the scale of the west.
The river was beautiful, but it had also gotten a little cold out, so we headed down the canyon.
En route we saw lots of deer and a guy free-soloing one of the sheer red rock faces. I have been on a climbing book swing for the last three books or so, but I don’t think I could ever do something so terrifying.
With those sweatshirts, the Pullan fam is hard to lose.
We stopped at Oscar’s for dinner. We were all starving and only minded a little bit when the eight of us were shoehorned into a booth-table combination meant for maybe five. There was much rearranging of plates and knocking of elbows, but the food was good and the restaurant was warm(-ish. Apparently Mariel was not well-situated under the heating lamp. We were on the patio after all.) Cuisinary winners of the night: Hannah’s pistachio quesadilla, Jason and my dad’s mashed potato stuffed poblanos, and Adan’s Who O Pass burger.
We went back to the hotel, which was right at the base of the canyon and very nice. Against Adam’s wishes we played a game of Settlers (which he and Grant won in spite of their low probability resource strategy) and went to bed.
The next morning my mom and I spent fifteen or twenty minutes sitting in the hotel’s back porch rockers talking. It was a good thirty degrees, which was a little unpleasant, but I love talking to my mom so much.
We made good use of the breakfast buffet at an adjacent restaurant. I’m sure they lose money when teenage boys come to town.
We rode the shuttle again up the beautiful canyon. Apparently the shuttle does not run in the winter except on Thanksgiving weekend. We got on the road early enough on Saturday, though, that crowds weren’t a problem.
My dad’s foot hurt (see 58 mile walk from Payson to SLC completed two days earlier) and we weren’t sure how much hiking we would be able to do. We started up the Angel’s Landing trail (of which Jason had seen many terrifying photos in the morning) figuring we would go as far as we could. As we got going, though, Dad’s foot pain ebbed.
Zion is beautiful.
I thought this trail-edge drop-off was sheer. Then we continued hiking.
We reached the saddle for Angel’s Landing and were surprised by what lay ahead. I had heard that Angel’s Landing included some exposed trail and that there were chains you could hold on to, but I assumed that was a 5-10 foot section. I did not assume we would be climbing up the spine of a rock face with 1400 foot drops on either side.
Mio and Grant had really terrible shoes for such climbing and Dad and Hannah kindly stayed back with them. Jason, Mom, and Adam and I pressed forward. At one point, though, Jason and I almost decided to go back. There’s a degree of comfort you have to find hiking on sandstone and I wasn’t there yet. Add that unease to the cliff and hoards of people trying to get down and I was a little bit of a mess. Adam and Mom headed up, and after a few minutes Jason suggested we just get ‘er done (though he did not use those exact terms. He is an easterner, after all.)
We made it and met Adam and Mom at the top.
Whew. Glad that was over (as you can see from how very tightly I am holding on to that man of mine).
The four of us made our way back to the saddle, which was unexpectedly not as bad as hiking up. Seems many people had stopped for lunch, making the trail far less crowded. We reunited with the rest of the fam and headed back down the trail (after taking what is arguably the best recent photo of all eight of us together).
In the interest of getting Mariel home to a date, we headed for home as soon as we’d finished the hike.
We switched drivers around Cedar City and stopped at Del Taco. A visit with the Pullans is truly not complete unless you visit Del Taco.
We switched drivers again a while later and I took a turn in the Pathfinder. Maybe half an hour into my driving stint I heard a tapping noise. Thinking I had driven onto the rumble strip, I veered right. The noise didn’t stop. My dad directed me to pull off at the next exit, which was fortuitously less than a mile away. I parked the car at a gas station and the boys inspected the damage. The tire was stripped.
Mom and Hannah and Mariel went the rest of the way back to Payson in the Accord, leaving Dad, Jason, Adam, Grant, and me to change the tire. I did very little. It was fun to watch, except when we had a really hard time releasing the spare. It was also, as you can perhaps tell from my grimace, very cold.
About an hour later we were ready to go and my dad drove the rest of the way home.
Once back in Payson, we had Indian food from Tadka for supper and watched the last bit of the BYU vs. Utah State basketball game. It had been a whirlwind–an awesome whirlwind–twenty-four hours.