While it may seem like our whole life is a giant vacation, it’s really not. We spend the bulk of our days in one place working and schooling, eating and cleaning, just squeezing in as much time to play and explore as our blended life allows.
But when we left Keystone this June, it really felt like we were going on a summer vacation! We had 2 backpacking trips, Disneyland and a flight to Anchorage, Alaska scheduled which made it seem like a bonafide summer vaca. (except of course that Don and I had to juggle work and meetings when we weren’t off the grid, but still, can’t complain)
I planned out a route to San Diego that would allow us to visit new National Parks and also pop in on old friends. We got to see:
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Curecanti National Recreation Area
- Arches National Park (re-visit)
- Canyonlands National Park
- Dead Horse State Park
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
- Antelope Canyon
- Zion National Park (drove through)
- St. George, Utah to see the Winns
- Santa Barbara to see the Winslows
- Disneyland and Disney California Adventureland
- Channel Islands National Park for Backpacking Trip #1
- San Diego
- Bishop, CA
- Sierra Nevadas for Backpacking Trip #2
Our favorite parts of course were the hikes, and the climax was our 4 day, 3 night backpacking trip in the Sierra’s with Doug and Ruby Laity. They were super fun hosts for our whole fam, enjoying our kids just about as much as we do. Doug led our treks, always putting the golden carrot out there of gorgeous views and lakes. Whenever the kids would ask how much longer, he’d always say, “about 15 more minutes, about a mile/mile and a half.” The kids learned to ask Ruby instead. 😉 They brought extra snacks like Cheetos and chocolate to share with our kids and even a frisbee! (which for us ultra-light backpackers was a huge act of kindness!)
The whole trip was like living in a Narnia dreamland with 360 stunning views. We were essentially all alone in a mountain/lake wonderland. Jadyn was the biggest rock-star as we could only hike as far as she could, as the youngest member of our crew. She chose to go the full routes each time, even making her own way through boulder fields. Isaac was the most passionate of the bunch, loving nature and beautiful views as much as I do. And Gabe was a trooper. He was especially annoyed with the mosquitos but chose to grin and bear it and keep up with the best of us.
Don and I were living out a desire we had had since before we had kids. On one of our first backpacking trips in the Adirondacks as newlyweds we came across a family backpacking with their kids, and at that moment we knew we wanted to do the same. Wish came true. 🙂
So, here is our trip, in full-color. Gabe and I had fun putting together this slide-show and have already watched it at least ten times! Enjoy!