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The pile of gear for 8 days camping in the desert with the family.

The pile of gear for 8 days camping in the desert with the family.

All that gear loaded in the adventure mobile.

All that gear loaded in the adventure mobile.

Spring in Idaho is variable. After cold, snowy winters it is common to have glimpses of the sun, rain, snow, hot, and cold, and sometime all in one day. Don’t get me wrong, I love the variety of Idaho weather, but sometimes I just want to be warm and to be able to run on dry trails. For the last seven years I have gone to Peru in March as part of the Medical Humanitarian Trip, Idaho Condor. This year I didn’t go and instead we took a family spring break trip to southern Utah. It was a chaotic few weeks leading up to the trip as I was buried deep in preparation to take my PA recertification board exams. I took the test on Thursday and two days later the truck was loaded, we loaded up, pulled out of the driveway, and headed south.

First hike to Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef

First hike to Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef

Tanae had done the planning for the trip and she put together an awesome adventure. Our first destination was Capitol Reef. We got in a sweet hike out to Hickman Bridge and made it back to camp in time to make dinner and watch an amazing sunset.I woke up really early the next morning to get in a nice run before breakfast. I would run for 2-3 hours and return to camp as the family was getting rolling for the day. This would be the theme for the trip.

Some of the amazing scenery on the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef

Some of the amazing scenery on the Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef

Our next stop was Escalante. We were lucky enough to land the last camp site at Calf Creek. We quickly set up the tent and then took off for a slot canyon adventure. After a long drive out Hole in the Rock road we finally got to the trailhead for the Spooky and Peak-a-boo slot canyons. This would end up being one of the highlights of the trip. These amazing wonders of nature engrossed our attention for several hours.

Brynlee and Chloe leading the way through Peak-a-Boo.

Brynlee and Chloe leading the way through Peak-a-Boo.

Brynlee getting her squeeze on in Spooky.

Brynlee getting her squeeze on in Spooky.

Brynlee and Chloe helping Anders through Spooky.

Brynlee and Chloe helping Anders through Spooky.

We spent enough time in the canyons that it was getting late when we got back to the truck. As we drove out the Hole in the Rock road, Tanae realized that we had the whole kitchen in the truck so we pulled off and made a roadside feast. Once again we were front and center for an amazing sunset as we devoted an amazing meal seasoned with hunger from adventure.

Roadside kitchen, Hole-in-the-Rock Road, Escalante

Roadside kitchen, Hole-in-the-Rock Road, Escalante

Amazing dinner and show

Amazing dinner and show

After running a couple of laps out to the Lower Falls in the morning we packed up camp and headed to one of our favorite places, Zion.

Lower Falls, Escalante

Lower Falls, Escalante

Tanae had managed to get a night reserved at the Watchman. The weather on the drive down included snow, rain and lots of wind. This continued into the park, and we set the tent up between storms. The weather was pretty unsettled so we went in to town and ate a late lunch at Oscar’s while waiting for the weather to clear. During lunch we decided to head in to the park to explore the Emerald Pools regardless of the weather. We suited up at camp and the girls hopped on their bikes, Tanae and I running behind (I was pushing Anders) and we covered the two and half mile bike path to the junction. The long days had started to take a toll on the girls, so they opted to hop the shuttle while Anders and I finished running to Zion Lodge.

Chloe leading the charge back t camp, Zion

Chloe leading the charge back to camp, Zion

We had an awesome hike to the ponds, on relatively quite trails because of the weather. After the hike we all took the shuttle back to the bikes and then coasted back to camp. Just as we hit camp the weather moved in again so we made a quick dinner of Patagonia Provisions salmon and Black Bean Soup in the tent and crawled into sleeping bags early. I woke before my alarm with excitement to get a long run in before it was time to get to family duties. The moon had been getting brighter with each passing day. Well before the sun was up I was running trails without a headlamp, accompanied by my shadow formed by moonbeams.

Zion by Moonlight

Zion by Moonlight

Continued in Part 2.