The LDS mutual theme for 2017 is James 1:5-6. I haven’t made any printables in a while, so when my own young woman asked about something for the theme I made this. It’s just a quick basic (read: little ink used) sign with the scripture on it in a kinda cute way. I’m putting it here for free, because I love to share printables.
The last leg (leg 6 for those you keeping track) of our roadtrip took us to Glacier National Park, before heading home to the Cascades.
After our day at Yellowstone we headed north through Montana. It was a long day of driving, ending with a drive up to Many Glacier and Swiftcurrent Lake (in the park) before going to our campsite at Saint Mary Campground.
After a good nights rest we took the Going-To-The-Sun Road across Glacier National Park. I’m pretty sure we were actually going away from the sun though, because the day started out kind of sunny, and ended pretty cloudy. The road is pretty narrow and goes along cliffs in parts, but the views were amazing. We made sure to stop at all the viewpoints and pull-outs.
At the top of Logan Pass we stopped at the visitor center and walked around a little. There was still a good amount of snow on the ground, so we didn’t venture too far. Coming down the other side we stopped to play a little in Lake McDonald. The photo below does not do it justice, it was so pretty there. The sun even peeked out for us a little.
After Glacier National Park we headed through Idaho and ended up in Spokane for the night. From there we took the northern-most route home, highway 20 (which we’d never done before). This route took us right through North Cascades National Park, and the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. They shut this road down in the winter because of the snow and avalanches. But in the summer it’s a beautiful drive.
Back on the east side of the Cascades it was a nice sunny day. Perfect for our last viewpoint, Diablo Lake. From there is was all downhill to home.
After leaving Utah, we continued north toward the Grand Teton National Park. We took the scenic route, driving along Bear Lake and up through Afton, Wyoming. We entered the park at Moose Junction. We did part of hike at Jenny Lake, making sure to use their bathrooms while we were there, then went to the Jackson Lake Lodge.
We took the short hike up Lunch Tree Hill, and it was an awesome view. When we got back to the lodge, they were having an ice cream social (by donation), so we got some ice cream and rested in the air conditioning.
We made sure to stop at several of the turnouts along the way to take in the views as well as stretch our legs.
After leaving the Tetons, we headed straight into Yellowstone and camped at Bridge Bay Campground. For being the middle of summer, it wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. In the evening we went to the ranger presentation about wolves in the park, so that was cool too.
The next day we started off by walking around the West Thumb geysers. Then we headed to Old Faithful. We got there with plenty of time to walk around to the back side of the geyser, which still gives great views, but with much less crowding. In fact, there were only 2 other people near us when she finally blew. Afterward we saw the lodge and went to the education center.
Next stop was Grand Prismatic Spring, and the surrounding springs. We found a pretty good parking spot, which can be difficult, but we happened to be in the right place with someone else was leaving. It was very crowded, and people move kind of slow, but that’s ok, because it gives you time to take photos without holding everyone else up.
We continued our auto-tour of the park by driving through Norris Canyon road to the Lower Yellowstone Falls. We stopped at the viewpoints along the rim drive, but there wasn’t much parking, so we never stayed too long. Then we drove north to Tower Junction, and across to Mammoth Hot Springs. We saw lots of wildlife along the way, even one bear, hanging out on a hill eating something.
When we got to the hot springs, it was pouring rain, so my oldest child and I did a quick walk around, under our umbrella, and came back to the car. Wouldn’t you know it, not 2 minutes after we left it stopped raining and was pretty nice from then on. Oh well. After our quick tour of Yellowstone we headed up to Montana.
After visiting all the National Parks in Utah, we took a detour into Colorado. We left Arches National Park and took the scenic route along highway 128 to go toward Grand Junction. We stopped in Fruita to visit their Dinosaur Journey museum. The kids were really into Jurassic Park, and Jurassic World, movies, so this was a fun stop. They liked that things were so hands-on. In the photo below, my oldest is waiting to get spit on by the dinosaur in front of her (another kid had pushed the button to get it started, they thought it was all hilarious).
After we left the dinosaurs there, we visited a cemetery in the small town of Paonia, to see the graves of my great-grandparents and one great uncle. Then it was off to the rest of the trip again.
We took highway 139 north toward Dinosaur, Colorado. This area is known for it’s fossils, and the road we took is part of the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway. We drove straight up to Dinosaur National Monument, where we camped overnight.
First thing in the morning, we went to the visitor center, and took the bus up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall. The kids loved that it was real dinosaur bones in the wall, and that they could touch them! It wasn’t very crowded, so we had lots of time and space to read the information, play with the computers, and touch the bones.
From the dinosaurs, we headed to central Utah, to do more family history visiting. Some of my ancestors were coal miners near Price, Utah. One was killed in the mines, and his name is included on the new Coal Miners Memorial. I wanted to see it, and the area where mt grandfather was born (which is just a ghost town-like area with a couple partial ruins these days). After seeing the mine areas we headed out to visit family near Provo.
My husband is Indian, so we had to visit the Radha-Krishna temple in Spanish Fork. It was beautiful. It was a rainy day, in the middle of the week, and we were the only visitors. I particularly loved the peacock ironwork on the doors. It is such a cool place to visit.
After visiting with family for a couple days, and getting a half-day all to myself at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, we headed out. But not before first visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats. It doesn’t seem like much when you are driving up to it. Just a big flat area of nothing between small towns. But once you get out to it, it’s pretty neat. Some of my kids even took their shoes off and got a free foot scrub from the salt.
There are 5 national parks in Utah, and we hit them all.
From the north rim of the Grand Canyon, we headed to Zion National Park.
We drove into the park via highway 9, driving through the tunnels. The kids thought it was pretty neat to be driving along, then go through a tunnel and on the other side is a totally different looking place. I believe I even heard the youngest ones saying ‘time tunnel approaching’, like on that dinosaur show on PBS.
Once again I was happy that a National Park has a bus system. We parked in the town on Springdale, and found a spot fairly close to the park, and a bus stop. We caught the bus in town and it took us to the national park station, where we actually entered the park and caught a bus that took us all the way to the end of the road and back.
We hopped on and off a couple times. Took a short hike to the lower emerald pool, which was a nice shady hike, with a slightly wet end, perfect for a hot summer day. We got some frozen lemonade at the Zion Lodge, saw wildlife, and had a great, funny, bus driver/tour guide for our longest ride.
After Zion, we actually left the park and stayed in a hotel in Cedar City. Partly because we wanted the laundry facilities, and partly because some of my family comes from there and I wanted to see the city. It also gave us a one night break from camping.
The next day we visited Bryce Canyon National Park. From Cedar City we drove through the Dixie National Forest. It is totally different from the forests we have at home, so that was cool.
After going to the visitor center, we drove all the way down to Rainbow Point. We made some stops along the way, each direction. The kids liked to get out and hike around a little, and even take some pictures (I think I’m rubbing off on them).
Having young kids, we don’t take hikes that are too long. One they did enjoy was going to Mossy Cave. The hike was easy and well marked. And it wasn’t too crowded, because it is outside the main road into the park. It also had a small waterfall along the way that people were playing in. It’s always fun to splash around in a waterfall on a hot day.
From Bryce we headed east on highway 12 through the Grand Staircase area. The kids were tired and hot, so we decided to stay in the air conditioned car instead of venturing out into the wild. We camped at Singletree Campground, near Capitol Reef National Park.
Capitol Reef National Park doesn’t get as much attention as the others in Utah, which is a shame, because we thought it was pretty cool. After going to the visitor center, we drove down Scenic Drive. And it was pretty scenic. The kids liked the spiral-looking rocks and seeing all the different layers. They also have petroglyphs you can see, practically right along the road.
After Capitol Reef, we drove to Canyonlands National Park
We drove out to the Mesa Arch, and did the hike out to it. The kids liked climbing around on the rocks, and my husband liked dangling his feet over the edge of the cliff. There were other groups also at the arch, but everyone was so polite about taking turns and getting out of other people’s photos.
We also drove out to the grand viewpoint. The hike out to the point is not as well marked, but there were enough people walking along it that we found our way just fine. The view was, as advertised, grand.
We stayed the night in a cabin in Moab, at the Canyonlands RV Resort and Campground.. It was nice to have another break from setting up the tent every night, and getting a real mattress to sleep on. The kids liked that it had a tv and fridge.
We drove through Arches National Park, and only did a tiny bit of hiking. It was a super hot day. We saw the famous Delicate Arch, but the kids only wanted to go as far as the viewpoint of it, and not hike all the way up to it (again, it was a really hot day).
In exchange for not doing much hiking, we did stop at every single viewpoint and turnout. I wanted to see as much as they would let me. Sometimes one or two of the kids came out with me to see the views and take photos.
For example, the above photo is the entrance to Devils Garden. We did not go in, this is literally as close as we got. We also stopped to view the Fiery Furnace, the Salt Valley, Panorama Point, Balanced Rock, the Garden of Eden, and the Windows. I only got one of my kids to hike up, only part-way, to the windows. Well, I guess we aren’t used to the heat, being from the Seattle area. We’ll have to come back when they get older and are more willing to explore further than a parking lot.