I love being outside in nature. Exploring. Walking. Or sitting. Gathering in a visual feast of Heavenly Father's creations. Finding beauty. Being awed.
It's been quite a while since I've done that so last weekend I decided to take the kids to Red Rock Canyon (while Scott was flying home from London), to discover the new kinds of beauty that are right here around us.
And can I just say, we loved it.
Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. All day Payton kept saying, "thank you so much, mom, for taking us here."
We started off in the visitor's center which has this indoors/outdoors set-up and was just so cool.
We met a few desert tortoises up close. And Payton shared his vast knowledge of desert tortoises with us (apparently a desert wildlife expert had visited his class the previous week).
The views were pretty spectacular.
The scenic drive was perfect. A one-way, slow, meandering road with places to pull off along the way and check out the sites.
I love that she is becoming a little photog.
Aren't these the cutest little cars/scooters you've ever seen? A group of tourists from the strip were also checking out the canyon. (I've heard, though, that these scooter tours are a bit pricey.)
There were a few spots in the park where you can see pictographs and petroglyphs from early inhabitants. When we walked up to this one, I have to tell you it was actually quite moving to see this. Handprints. Such a real physical manifestation of people who lived a long time ago. Wow.
This 1.5 mile loop was also labeled the Children's Discovery Trail, so we figured it was a good hike to introduce the kids to hiking in the desert.
This is just 5-10 minutes in. (I admit, I did tell them to pose this way.)
The trails, though, were surprisingly uneven, narrow, and rocky for what is considered a "children's hike". Even Conner commented several times, "and they call this the children's discovery trail? Sheesh. What are the real trails like?"
Even so, we passed 2 or 3 families with toddlers (2-5 years old) and babies in hiking backpacks. So it was just fine. I think my kids were expecting a walk in the park.
The hike leads to a dry waterfall. It would be fun to go back in Jan-March when there is actually water coming down.
On our way out we spied a rock climber. Pretty cool! I was a little nervous, though, when we heard him say to his buddy, "my forearms are shot." Eek, hold on tight!
We enjoyed our day and the hike so much that we have plans to go back this Memorial Day weekend and try another one!