A family week in Utah

The girls were super excited to go pick up Grand-maman Claudette and Serge (JF's mom and her partner). We hadn't seen them in almost two years!

We went to eat lunch at LYFE Kitchen in Vegas. So good!

We spent the first night at Las Vegas Bay Campground and the second one at Sand Hollow State Park, near St. George. We were so happy to swim in this beautiful (and freezing cold) water, surrounded by red rock cliffs and black volcanic rocks.

We then spent two nights in Zion National Park. Here they did the Riverwalk that leads to the entrance of the Narrows (the Narrow hike that I did with Martin was closed because there was a risk of flash flood and the water level was too high).

On Tuesday, Mathide decided to spend the day with her grand-parents while JF, the twins and I hiked Angels Landing and a part of the West Rim Trail (this picture was taken on the West Rim Trail).

Our campsite in Zion.

We then drove from Zion to Bryce Canyon through the tunnel. The view is absolutely stunning!

The girls (and Java!) were pretty excited to see snow! Bryce Canyon is located at 8000 feet and there were still many patches of snow on the ground.

We hiked Queen's Garden Trail and Part of the Navajo loop with Claudette and Serge, for a total of 6,5 km with lots of ups and downs. They did great! We were impressed!

We had a huge campsite in Bryce and the girls built a zip line. They had so much fun!

We went to celebrate the girls' birthday (and our last night together) at the Bryce Canyon Lodge with a delicious meal.

We had a great time playing cards at night and chatting by the bonfire. It was great to see the girls reconnecting with their grand-parents. Six days went by pretty fast.

Rock climbing at Green Valley Gap

By 11:30 am it became obvious that we had to find a route in the shade since we were litterally cooking on the south facing wall. Good thing we remembered there was a fun chimney to climb down the crag with a nice shady spot beside it to hang out.

Mathilde giving grandma Tybee some love. She is the sweetest dog ever.

It's so nice to be able to park right by the canyon rim and set up the top ropes. The routes are short (30') and nothing extraordinary, but the spot is right by the town, there is no approach walk and the view is really nice. 

Since we only had one day of rock climbing in St. George this year (and since JF cannot lead because of his broken finger), we decided to come back to Green Valley Gap. We knew the place from last year and knew we could easily set up top ropes from the top of the canyon. 

It was fun to have Ching and Jerud with us and we had a fun relaxing day hanging out at this beautiful crag. They even installed a zip line in the *gap* and we could see people sliding down it as we climbed. There is also a mountain bike trail right around the canyon - namely the Zen Trail (black) and the Barrel trails. Isa and Martin came to join us after they rode Bearclaw Poppy. There are so many trails and crags to explore in St. George. We will come back longer next time. There simply doesn't seem to be a good boondocking spot close enough with good signal. If you know one, leave a comment!


Sand Hollow State Park, Utah

We chose Sand Hollow State Park because it was close to everything: the amazing network of mountain bike trails in Hurricane, the many rock climbling routes in St. George, Snow Canyon State Park and Zion National Park. Little did we know how beautiful this place was with it's turquoise reservoir water and orange cliffs located a mere 5 minute walk from our campsite.

Little did we know too that the "jumping rock" was a favorite spot of the college kids on Spring Break. As we were quietly exploring the cliffs one morning, they arrived en masse,  with cheap beer, tiny bikinis and selfie sticks. They were loud as only self-rightous college kids can be and left piles of trash in their wake... We came back a few days later and filled 3 big black bags of water bottles, broken beer bottles, candy wrappers, sunblock bottles and fast food containers... I can only hope my girls feel a greater connexion to the land when they grow up and treat it with respect. 

Rock climbing in Green Valley Gap, St. George, Utah

The view from our climbing spot...

What we are learning is that the best way by far to find out where to go climbing is to visit the local rock climbing/outdoor store. We knew that St. George is the place in the United States where there is the biggest concentration of sport climbing routes, but even after hours of online research and looking through many physical guidebooks at the library, we could not find clear information on what we were looking for. A 30 minute visit at the Desert Rat store and we had found the perfect spot to set two ropes side by side, with a beautiful approach walk, and in a less crowded spot (it is Spring Break here...). While we were there, Mara decided to use her money to buy herself some (pink!) rock climbing shoes (we were all sharing mine)! She was flying up the wall! 

We are already reaching the point where my girls are starting to be stronger (and more confident!) than I am in rock climbing and mountain biking... A great lesson in humility. Needless to say, I am very proud of them and amazed at what they can do!