Monday, August 27, 2012

Lots of Capitol Reef

Whew, I've been absent for awhile. It probably has something to do with having my family here for a wonderfully long time. And because we went on the most awesome vacation. Seriously, it will go down as one of my favorite trips ever. We went to a state park in Southern Utah, called Capitol Reef. We've been there before, but love it lots and went back again. I was surprised how much I remembered from the previous trips, and was happy to show it to Brigham, who actually got to go this time :)

We stayed in a pair of cabins in a small town outside of Capitol Reef called Teasdale.

The first day we drove straight to Capitol Reef, did the scenic drive, looked around the Visitors' Center, and then checked into our cabins. Then we got to go exploring!

We found a trail that lead us to Horse's Head or Gorilla Rock - whatever you thought the rock formation looked most like (I thought it was a good mixture of both: a gorilla riding a horse).

There we got to climb all over and play around on the cool rock formations. It became one of our favorite places of the entire trip.

We even had a spontaneous picture taken that turned out to be one of my favorite family pictures ever!

The kids - or should I say Lydia - enjoyed discovering the red sand, and every time we turned around, they had their hands in it.

The next morning we woke up early to beat the heat, and hiked Cassidy Arch. It took awhile for Lydia and her hat to get ready.

But she eventually got it :)

This hike is labeled strenuous with most of the way looking like this:

But us Nelsons are not easily daunted, and we dragged our little kids up the rocks and mountains.

And it was worth it because it was so beautiful. In this picture, you can see the arch to the left side of our family:

We continued on our hike until we were actually on top of the arch.

It was beautiful.

And scary!

Look at this ledge:

That very first ledge, where it drops into a big hole of death. Yes. Imagine someone who is afraid of heights, already feeling nauseous with worry. Now, imagine this person's daughter, Lydia, running RIGHT ON THAT EDGE. We all screamed her name and she stumbled somewhat, almost falling, and stopped...before someone ran and grabbed her. It gave all of us a heart-attack. I literally almost threw up and became hysterical. Someone was supposed to be holding her hand since I was carrying Ammon, but obviously that didn't work out, and instead I was provided with food for nightmares the rest of the trip. I just prayed in gratitude that she was okay. And you can bet that a couple people were lectured, while I had hawk-eyes the rest of the vacation.

But back to the fun and beauty...

After getting back down we rested. It was pretty hot and tiring keeping those little ones going on that trail.

That afternoon we went back to the cabins, rested, watched movies, avoided the heat of the day, ate good food ( I would know since I was the food planner and cooker - with help from Kyle and Katrina) and geared up to go for another hike that evening called the Grand Wash.

Then we returned to the cabins for dessert, games, and bed.

Day three, we left early again to hike to Hickman Bridge:

This was a neat hike with lots to look at on the way.

After Hickman Bridge we stopped off to enjoy the petroglyphs:

We ate lunch and then decided to squeeze in our last hike in the afternoon rather than driving back later. Luckily, Capitol Gorge had opened back up after flash flooding.

There I had to help Lydia pee behind these bushes:

I guess Lydia's conversation with me echoed through the canyon, because we were forever mocked afterwards with Lydia whining about peeing in the sand and my explaining and digging her a "toilet", since she wouldn't go without one.

Since it was so hot in the afternoon, some people stayed behind with the younger kids while a few of us went on to finish the hike. When those that went ahead were about done, we realized that my dad and brother, Ryan, were way ahead and had no water in the extreme heat. We started to get worried and so we (my mom, Kyle, Katrina, and I) were trying to find them to turn around and join back up with those who had stayed behind.

 But instead of finding them we found this:

Arguably, it was the better find. It had THE most satisfying crunch when stepping on it, both in sound and feeling. Let's have Kyle display the fun we had:

Lining the entire trail, I could have walked on the stuff for hours, happily crunching along. And I did :)

We never did find my dad or Ryan on the hike (we missed them since they turned off on a smaller trail before heading back) but got a good walk in, anyways.

And that ended our hiking adventures in Capitol Reef. However, we still had a night full of games, a spiritual morning devotional, followed up with blessings from my dad to those who were starting school or who wanted one, and a drive home.

And my boy, Ammon, sums up this trip well. It was full of fun red rocks, formations, and sand, it had us happily exhausted by the end of the day, we enjoyed tons of awesome scenery, and got to play in lots of dirt :)

The only thing that would have made it better was if Scott, who is serving a mission in Brazil, could have been here too. But having everyone else together was enough, and I'll always remember the wonderful time we had.

Until next year's family vacation, the Nelson's (and my little Tappana family) have gone back to reality. See you next time.


  1. oh my gosh how beautiful! i just love that arch pic- and that one of you guys is a really great one. that's so scary about lydia almost running off the cliff!!! just makes my heart stop

  2. Oh my gosh! So glad Lydia stopped. That is sooo scary. I would have had nightmares too! In fact, I did have nightmares one year of my niece and nephew falling off Angles Landing, so I can only imagine with kids! But boy that vacation looks so much fun! Way beautiful and so many fun hikes! Sam hates hiking mostly, but I think even he would like some of those hikes.