We have seen some absolutely incredible scenery over the last few days at the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. I would say of them all, Zion is the most amazing visual treat nature has ever afforded me – I think the glaciers of New Zealand’s South Island have finally been trumped.
Another important thing I have realised in recent days is that kids are not really into scenery. Conversations while overlooking some of the finest natural wonders of the world go something like this:
Me “Look at the amazing cliffs, have you ever seen anything so high?”
Child: “Mummy, can I pat that doggy?”
Me: “Wow, look at the colours!”
Child: “I’m hungry”
Me: “I’m looking forward to watching this sunset”
Child: “I want to go back to our campervan”
Another important observation that would only occur to you if you have small people in tow is that canyons inherently have massive cliffs and MANY OF THE VIEW POINTS DO NOT HAVE RAILINGS!
On the first day in the Grand Canyon I made the mistake of reading an excerpt from a macabre book in the visitor centre called something like 700 deaths at the Grand Canyon. It chronicled every person who had met their fate there since records began. This included a four-year-old girl who, in 2007 “bolted rebelliously from her mother and fell 150ft to her death”.
This excerpt haunted my days and my dreams and I have to say, limited my enjoyment and totally ruined the viewpoint we chose for sunset. Rather than gazing at the glorious colours and wondering at the enormity of it all, I spent my time yelling “Hold my hand!” and “STOP!” and “Sit on your bottom”. I couldn’t wait for it to be over and for us to get back on the shuttle bus, lest we make the 701st tragic entry in the book of horrors.
The kids are still loving this trip, despite the recent focus on vistas. They probably see the jaunts into the scenery as blips on the landscape otherwise filled with play with their keyrings from Legoland or giggling hysterically about something that we don’t even understand. They also find a lot of enjoyment in things we don’t notice, like M will climb the first tree she sees or A will collect rocks then draw smiley faces on them. Bryce Canyon also still had some snow lying around which was the most exciting thing two Australian girls could find. So much fun from snowball fights and filling cups with it and watching it melt.
And we have found ways to get the most out of these amazing places too. Mainly by lowering our expectations, breathing very deeply, carrying reasonably heavy people on our shoulders and making promises we can’t keep around ice-cream. Another good solution is to part ways for a few hours – Mr Hotford enjoyed a few hours of solitary hiking in Zion while I took the girls to the pool in the RV park.
A point where adult/kid interests converge is in the animals we have seen – the kids were just as thrilled as we were to see bighorn sheep in Zion, elk that were grazing around us in Grand Canyon, or a whole colony of prairie dogs in Bryce Canyon.
Although I don’t think the kids were thrilled because the animals are rare and unusual, rather because they like watching animals and they find magic in the smallest things. For example we just Skyped Grandpa, an avid bird watcher, and when I said: “Tell Grandpa about birds we have seen”, thinking A might mention the Blue Jay or the Golden Eagle, but instead she replied: “A pigeon!” So glad we came to the other side of the world to do some pigeon-spotting!This entry was posted in Zion and Bryce Canyon