We hung up the bicycles today and traded our wheels for tennis shoes. We got an early start and were able to get in two great hikes. Our first hike was up the Angels Landing trail. The trail rises from the canyon floor 1100 ft to the crest of one of the canyon walls. Fortunately, most of the trail was in the shade. The whole hike was a pleasure though the last one half to Angels Landing was too congested and precarious that we decided to turn around at Scouts Landing. From there we could see the valley and look over several cliffs. The second hike was up the Narrows at the head of the canyon. The canyon narrows to 20 to 50 feet, but the walls still rise 1000 ft. After a mile, the only way to proceed is walking through the river – another adventure. Wading in cold water in a cool canyon is the way to spend the heat of the day in Zion Park. We both thoroughly enjoyed our hiking and feel like we can move on to the next park.
By morning the temp had cooled enough for comfortable sleeping. After much needed showers, we packed up and headed for St. George, our headquarters for Zion National Park adventures. It wasn’t hard to decide to check into a motel with 100 degrees. After a hearty lunch of pasta, we headed for Zion. It was a little cooler there and we rode our bikes canyon. It ended up being a great choice. Cars are not allowed, only shuttle buses from the visitors center. It made it really nice for biking. Only an occasional bus, otherwise we had the road and valley to ourselves. A small thundershower helped really cool things down. The scenery was amazing, a continual changing panorama of red walls and very green vegetation. Esther enjoyed checking out the Lodge. Though not as impressive a structure as many, the setting was amazing. We made it to the top of the canyon and back before dark. The king size bed and air conditioning at night was much appreciated.
The morning was filled with the long boring drive through northern Nevada. The most interesting part was the Bonneville salt flats once we hit Utah. The place feels a little surreal. Our first destination in Utah was Provo. Based on some recommendations and reading, we decided to get a real campsite at Utah Lake State Park. There is a bike trail that starts there and follows the Provo River through town and up the Provo Canyon. The afternoon gave us enough time to ride through town and back. We didn’t have the energy to tackle the canyon. The trail was shaded almost the whole way, so it was pleasant riding despite the 90 degree heat. After supper at a local Mexican restaurant, we drove up the canyon to Bridal Veil Falls and Sundance resort. Sundance was very unique and not what we expected – small scale and rustic though still ritzy. It was fairly cool up at Sundance, compared to the heat and mosquitoes of our campsite.
Having made the quick Interstate dash down I 90-84-80-15 last June; we decided to take a more ‘scenic route’ (at least different) through Eastern Oregon and northern Nevada. We went through towns like John Day, Burns and Winnemucca. I think those were the only towns over 100 population we saw for four hundred miles! The drive through the northeastern part of Oregon was very scenic with pine covered mountains and rocky canyons. The southeastern part of the state was even more desolate than I imagined. It was scenic, with rolling hills and livestock, but there was NOBODY there. For one stretch of one hundred miles we only met three cars on the highway. We pulled into the Winnemucca Walmart before midnight and found a restful corner of the parking lot.
This past weekend we ventured to the north country again. Saturday morning we attended Steve and Renee Dole's wedding in Conway, near Mt. Vernon. The weather held for a beautiful wedding in a garden setting. The wedding was followed by a nice brunch reception. Then it was up to Lynden for a graduation party for nieces Bria and Marika. There were a lot of long time friends and family to connect with at the party. Sunday, we went to church with Bjorn and Jenny at Oikos, and then celebrated Father's Day at Olive Garden. A good start to the summer break as my last day was Friday.
We spent the last weekend running back and forth up and down I-5 celebrating graduation ceremonies. Thursday night it was up to Lynden for Bria and Marika's Lynden Academy graduation. Friday morning it was down to Seattle for Markus' Ivy cutting ceremony in Tiffany Loop. Then it was back up to Lynden Friday night for Marika's Lynden High School graduation. Saturday was a lay low in the sun day in Lynden. Then on Sunday it was back down to Seattle and Safeco field for Markus' SPU graduation. If things weren't hectic enough, my dear wife locked the keys in the van on Capital Hill one hour before grad time at Safeco. Since Ada's car seat was in the van, Bjorn had to walk her down to Safeco. After the ceremony, we were able to get it open, thanks to Mikal and AAA. We topped the weekend off with a dinner at the Icon Grill. All of the ceremonies seem to melt together in my mind; but each one was special in its own way.
Once again, God blessed our annual camping trip to Neah Bay with sunshine and safety. The past weekend had a 30 hour break in the weather - just the window that we had scheduled for the trip. The hike to Shi Shi Beach was very muddy, but the beach was great - sunshine and low tide. The Makah museum was great as usual and the camping at Hobuck Beach went well. (We even got compliments from the surfers) The only rain occurred as we completed our final activity, the hike to Cape Flattery. My birthday was acknowledge on the way home at the Port Angeles McDonald's with students getting the whole restaurant to sing to me.
This Memorial Day weekend will certainly be 'memorable' for most folks, but it will be the lousy weather that we will remember. The forecast had been for a little break on Sunday, so Esther and I went out to the coast to check out Seabrook Resort for an August family gathering. It rained the entire day! We didn't even get on the beach. We did however, get a good feel for which house we want to rent. On Monday I was determined to do yard work, rain or shine. Well, I got the 'rain' in the morning and the 'shine' in the afternoon. The evening sun allowed us to at least have a barbecue.