Especially this year. I had a heavy wedding schedule in September, which ran right into holiday portrait time, and so even though school started and I theoretically had more time, I’m pretty sure I was busier in September than I was in all of July and August.
But luckily for me, there is a school break every 6 weeks, and it forces me to regroup. My favorite breaks are October and April, because they don’t coincide with holidays (i.e. the ones that people vacation around), and so I take full advantage and take some time to connect with my family.
This summer Tim got a new van to haul his artwork to various festivals around the country. Bonus for us is that it doubles as pretty much the most awesomest camping van ever, for searching out the abandoned buildings he photographs for his work. After a busy summer of dreaming of how to best rig it, Tim busted his butt and we were off to Utah for a week of looking for old buildings, biking and hiking in the desert.
We are official members of the van life.
It was pretty awesome. We started out at Goblin Valley State Park (fun fact: we got engaged there more than 15 years ago!), spent the evening wandering amongst the Valley of the Goblins in the beautiful late day sun. The following day, we wandered up Little Horse Canyon, which is a really narrow slot canyon that goes for miles. We had fun exploring what seemed like a maze, but didn’t have any splits!
From there we headed towards Zion National Park, and spent the first day riding on Gooseberry Mesa. Tim and I had been there years ago, but it was really fun taking Oliver to ride there.
From there we went into Zion, camped for two days, and enjoyed the awesome beauty that is Zion National Park. We had some great hikes, waded the Narrows, the whole nine yards. It was amazing but for the jockeying to keep in line amongst 1000 of our closest friends (the other visitors to the park). It amazes me that up on Gooseberry, we saw exactly zero other riders, and then in the park it felt like Disneyland.
On to Bryce Canyon and it’s surrounding amazingness. It’s another place I have spent time in, we knew of some free and accessible camping outside of the park, and again saw almost no one until we eventually ended up at the popular overlooks in the park. I was able to share one of my most favorite rides on the planet with Oliver and Tim. If you ever ride a bike, your life is not complete until you ride the Thunder Mountain trail. Yes, it rivals 401, and no people! Smooth singetrack, red dirt, forests and hoodoos, I was smiling the whole time! That was a proud mama moment for me.
By the time we got the chance to hike in Bryce, the clouds were totally socked in and it was drizzly. But we were there and not returning anytime soon, so we decided to go for the hike. It was incredible! Otherworldly, the hoodoos just would emerge out of the fog. “Mystical!” Oliver called it. And bonus: it kept the crowds away!
Along the way, Tim did get to work, and shot some really cool old buildings for new pieces.
From there we headed home. Refreshed, invigorated, and really, really dirty.
The images posted are a mix of images from my 35 mm and cell phone pics. Oh, and Oliver took all the ones at Bryce.
Hooray for the van life!