Saturday, March 5, 2016

Death Valley III

We went to the sand dunes on our last day of our trip. If you ever feel like getting a serious work out just drive out to Death Valley and climb out to the tallest peaks (please don't do it in the summer, though. I don't want anyone to die.) Wow! What trip. I definitely had an easier time making that trek as a child. Michael had to leave the sand dunes (and our trip) early to attend training in Tulare, CA which left my dad to carry Matthew up several of the hills and ALL the way back to the parking lot. He's a trooper. And he probably saved my life;) Rachel carried her little baby up and down each hill as well! She amazes me! I did not carry any children. Maybe I would have assisted if I wasn't already carrying an extra 20+ pounds of pregnancy weight!
The sand dunes are really fun. We love to climb out to the tall, tall, tall dunes and sit and enjoy the breeze and the view. The kids had a great time sledding down the steep slopes and climbing back up! I had a great time watching them! (Although watching little Matthew sail down that hill was a little nerve-racking.)

 That's Zach and Kaylee. They took off to climb up to the highest peak. Kaylee sledded down and had fun for the first 5 seconds, but the next 15 seconds or so gave her the scare of her life! She got going pretty dang fast! She was brave and she didn't cry and she didn't crash. 

 Thanks for all the sand dune pictures, Rachel!

 We're all obsessed with this Lucy-child!

 This neat place is called Artist's Pallette and this photo does NOT do it justice. The different colors in the mountains were amazing! 

 I can't remember what this canyon is called and I didn't take picture of the actual canyon, dang it! BUT this was a really neat place and we were glad we stopped because a jet flew right through the canyon TWICE while we were there. It was so cool to look down and see a jet flying beneath us. You better believe that Matthew LOVED this part of our trip!

Last photo of the whole trip: Mallory being cheesy as the sun blinds her eyes.

We had such a great time camping with our family. I love these people and spending a weekend exploring with them was kind of the best. I can't wait to do it all again.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Death Valley Part II

We went to visit the Natural Bridge and it didn't disappoint! We didn't end up getting any pictures of the actual bridge. Well, not any good ones... But we made up for it with cute pictures of our family on our hike/walk up to the bridge and back. The walk was shady, breezy, and just perfect. The kids climbed rocks and hills and found cute little caves to climb inside of. It was such a fun little hike and perfect for our little kids!

 There's the bridge! (and a cute family)

(Thanks for the last 4 pictures, Rachel! and Kind Stranger who took our family photo.)

 "Yook, Mom! I uh cool gulll!"
("Look, Mom! I'm a cool girl!")

We ran into more beautiful wildflowers (and Kaylee nearly sneezed her nose off her face).

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Death Valley Part I

When we were little our parents would take us out to Death Valley over President's Day weekend. It was always the perfect time to go; it wasn't too cold and the summer heat hadn't yet made its way to the valley. We camped, hiked, and explored the beauty around us. With a name like "Death Valley" it may not seem like the most appealing place to visit, but we LOVED the time we spent there. There is so much to see and God's hand is everywhere you look.

A month or so ago my mom and dad suggested we take a trip out there again; we haven't been in years! They packed up the trailer for us all to use, purchased food and planned meals, and did dang near everything so that we could all have a good time.

We met Zach, Rachel, and Lucy on the way and made our way to a campsite. Our first campsite was more of a parking lot and we were bummed that there wasn't even a fire pit! The kids didn't care, though. As soon as they were up the next morning they got to work attempting to crack open every large rock they could find in search of crystals.

While the girls were hard at work, Zach and my mom went on a search for a better camping spot. They saved the day by securing the last and BEST spot at a nearby (actual) campground, fire pit included! We made our way over there before heading out to explore some of the valley...

Cutest Lucy after her very first night of camping.

The wildflowers were beautiful. We mostly saw these yellow ones but there were some really pretty purple and pink flowers scattered here and there. They smelled wonderful but, sadly, Kaylee was terribly allergic to them and exploded into a fit of sneezes any time we were close to them.

(Wildflower photos provided by Rachel. Thanks, Rachel!)

Next we visited the Devil's Golf Course which is a giant field of crystallized salt structures. They were wonderful and amazing and also dangerously sharp and treacherous. Luckily we made it out without so much as a scrape! We tasted bits of these little formations and they were... you guessed it. Salty.

 (photo by: Rachel)
 (Photo by: Zach)
(photo by: Zach)

Poor Mallory was hot, tired, and very snot-nosed by the end of our little excursion.