Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Our Utah Adventure: Zion National Park, Day 1, Part II, The Horse Trail & The Court of the patriarchs

This is a continuation of a travel series to Utah.  To start at the beginning, go HERE and HERE.

In last week's travel post I shared our hike to the Lower Emerald Pools.  When we completed that hike there was still plenty of daylight so we thought we'd try another hike...the Pa'rus Trail.  I wanted to get back on the shuttle and get off on the Pa' rus Trailhead.  But my hubby, looked at the map and said "Why don't we hike this "Sand Bench Trail" to the Pa'rus Trail instead?"  Now before I continue on with this story, let me just say that my husband is well known for going off the beaten path and getting us lost as least once on every vacation.  I should have known better.  I should have stuck to my guns and said "No."  But as usual, I followed his lead and we began our adventure.  The idea of walking along the beautiful Virgin River sounded appealing to me.  However, we should have realized that although trails can look short on a map, in real life they can be much longer.  We apparently didn't notice the map scale before we began.

We started the Sand Bench Trail and at first all was well.  We saw wild turkeys along the river banks and enjoyed the beautiful river views.  But then we came across a sign that said "Trail closed due to rock fall".  UGH!  I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating that was.  It would have been nice if this sign were at the BEGINNING of the trail head or if this trail closure was mentioned in the trail map.  The most frustrating part of our visit to Zion was how many trails were closed.  At least six trails were closed due to rock fall when we there. It's very upsetting when you plan your trip for over a year and drive across the country, and then half the trails you want to go on are closed.  In the end, it didn't matter much anyway because we only had two days in Zion and we saw as much as we could in those two days.  Now we have something to look forward to when we go back!

Anyhow,  I digress, back to my story.  So after we saw the trail closure sign I again, wanted to double back and catch the shuttle to the Pa'rus Trail head.  Hubby however saw a "Horse Trail" sign and said "No, let's just take this horse trail!"  "I don't want to hike on a horse trail!  We don't even know where it goes.  It's not on the map!"  I said.  Hubby responds  "Oh, it's going north, it's going to take us right to the Pa'rus Trail.  It'll be fine."  As usual, I relented and it was a disaster.  The entire trail was deep sand and covered in horse manure. It was so difficult to walk in the sand.   We walked what seemed like hours, never seeing another human being.  I was pissed.  "Why did listen to him?" I wondered.  "Why do I always listen to him ?"  I was so upset because I had dreamt of seeing Zion for so many years, and we here such a short time,  I didn't want to waste any time on a trail buried up to my ankles in horse manure.  I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times I said "We should turn around and go back" only to have him respond "No, it can't be that much further".  It ended up being around 3.5 miles, most of it through forest.  But, when we neared the end, the views did get pretty nice.  And I don't think we would have saw these views had we not gotten on this detour.



In the picture above, we are nearing the end of the trail.  The posts are where they tie the horses up for a break.




The nicest part of the hike was meeting a small herd of mule deer.  I could not believe how tame they were.  You can get so close to them before they wander off.  They are not afraid of humans at all.


At the end of the trail you reach what is called "The Court of Patriarchs".  These rock formations are named after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  You can also see views of Mount Moroni and The Sentinel.  Now, here's my tip.  You can get here without hiking 3.5 miles in sand and horse manure.  Just take the shuttle to Stop #4 and hike maybe a 1/4 mile past the stables, and you will come to this gorgeous bridge and incredible views.





I have no idea what this powdery blue plant is, but it was growing everywhere in Zion.  I thought it was so beautiful,  especially when contrasted with red rock formations in the background.






The Court of the Patriarchs tower almost 2000 feet above Birch Creek Canyon.



While hiking the end of this trail, I often felt I was in a movie scene from "Jurassic Park".  Then when I reading to prepare to write this post,  I came across that sentiment from others a lot.  There's something about the mix of forest, combined with the strange plants and the surrounding rock formations that makes everyone get that "Jurassic Park" feeling.


At the very end of the trail, we found the horses!  I don't know what it costs,  I wasn't even aware horse rides were available in Zion National Park, but I would have enjoyed the trail much more on the top of the horse!  If you start this hiking trail at bus stop #4, you will see these horses right away!  To actually take a horse trail ride though, you want to get off on bus stop #5.  That is where they start the trail ride.  The picture below is where they board the horses.



I would love to say that I'm happy I followed my husband on this off-the-beaten path trail, but I'm not.  If I could do it all over again I'd still take the shuttle. HOWEVER, had I not followed my hubby, we never would have not gotten these beautiful views of The Court of the Patriarchs because we would not have gotten off on Stop #4, we would have taken the shuttle straight to the Pa'rus Trail head.  So in the end, I guess it really was o.k. 😊

I've read several reviews of the Sand Bench Trail in writing this post, and everyone complains of the difficulty of walking in the deep sand and how hard it is on the legs...and also the horse manure.  But, if you want a quiet hike away from the crowds, this is the one!  The views at the beginning and end are the best.  The majority of the hike was more of a forestry area, but it's a great area for spotting mule deer!

Next week I will share our last hike of the evening (yes, we went on one more!) and that was one of my favorites...Pa'rus Trail!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Mid September Bible Journaling Pages

Here are my Bible Journaling Pages for this week.  I FINALLY finished the book of 2 Samuel and will begin reading 1 Kings today!  Yay!  I'm always excited to start a new book.  I read fairly slowly, averaging only one chapter a day.  With Bible Journaling I really dig deep for understanding and reading smaller amounts helps me to do that.

My first page is a pre-printed page that  colored all in shades of green.  The words were colored in with gel pens and gelatos were used for the background.

This is a beautiful story of mercy that I don't remember reading about before.  When David was down and out he was taunted and heckled by a man.  When David was once again restored to the throne, he showed the same man mercy.  


Here is a double spread page(s) that I water colored.  Water coloring is great when you want to color beyond the margins but you don't want to cover up God's Word.  The image on the left is a pre-printed image that I colored with pencils, then I used a mix of yellows, pinks, and oranges to create the background color.




Another pre-printed page I colored with pencils and Gamosol.


This page I colored all in pink to represent the heart.  The background is all gelatos and the words and images are colored with glitter and gel pens.  I used a white gel pen to highlight the hearts and the word "love".


This is a page I created myself using craft paint and stamps.  I painted the background first with craft paint, then using a heart stencil I sponged in white paints creating the hearts.  I stamped a mini heart background stamp all over the craft paint background.  Then  I hand wrote my thoughts over the top of the craft paint.

In reading this chapter I was struck by the sentence "David kept thinking to himself"  and I thought how often what we begins in our hearts and our thoughts affects our actions.  We need to hold our thoughts captive 2 Corinthians 10:5) and make sure that they are true and Godly.


Last week I showed you the left side of these pages, but I forgot to show you the other side.


The opposite side of this page is another pre-printed image that I colored with pencils.


I was so moved when I read this beautiful psalm of praise at the end of 2 Samuel.  I don't remember reading it before.  It was so touching.  I memorized this pre-printed image as I colored it in with pencils.


Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Monday, October 14, 2019

What I Wore In September

Once a month I like to do a little review post of all the outfits I wore in my daily life.  I post these daily outfits to my Instagram Stories on the day I wear them, and then I do a "round-up" of the month here.

This is an outfit I wore on a cool, rainy day to get my hair done, run errands, and meet my husband for lunch.  The top and jacket are new from TJMaxx and you'll see more of this top in my November "Grandma & Me" post.  As for the jacket, I already owned two olive green jackets and needed this one like a hole in the head, but I bought it anyway because it was made of nylon.  My other olive green jackets are not rain proof.  And you know what?  Even though it was a spontaneous purchase, this jacket has come in handy because it hasn't stopped raining since I bought it. 🤣 So maybe I needed it after all.


I wore this old dress from Stitch Fix to church.


I wore my new cardigan from my September box from Stitch Fix to go shopping and out to lunch.


Another shopping/lunch outfit on a day when it was actually warm and sunny last month!


I wore my new black pants from my September Stitch Fix box to Illinois for my Grandson's baby dedication.  They were perfect to wear in the long six hour car drive.  The top is also from Stitch Fix, but I got it last year.


I finally got a pair of snake skin print booties!   They have been on my wish list for a while now.  I really wanted the Sam Edelman pair, but this pair from JCPenney was more in my price range.  I got them for around $30.00 with a coupon.  I paired the booties with an old embroidered tee and my new olive green jacket since it was raining again.


An old maxi dress I wore to church.


I wore this off-the-shoulder top on a warmer fall day to go shopping/lunch.  The jeans are also from Stitch Fix.  I received both items last fall.


Another old maxi dress I wore to church.


Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Stitch Fix #32 Review



Today is the day I review my September box, my 32nd Fix, from Stitch Fix!  I will let you know what I kept and what I sent back, as well as the results of my Instagram Poll.

Bancroft "Kansas Drop Earrings"

Status:  KEPT!


I was ecstatic to get these earrings in my box.  They are totally my style and the statement earring is really trending right now.  They also go with almost everything and I've been wearing them constantly since I got them.

The earrings were popular on Instagram too coming in at #3 with 80% of pollsters saying to "Keep" and only 20% said to "Return" them.

Wisp "Cyndie Jersey Dress"

Status:  Returned!



My husband LOVED this dress and he did not want me to return it.  But I thought the color and pattern was way too similar to a dress Stitch Fix sent me  in the spring (you can see that dress HERE.)  I also did not find it that flattering on me.  I did love the jersey fabric and the braided neckline.

Instagram pollsters weren't that thrilled with the dress either.  It tied for last place with 57% of voters saying to "Keep" and 43% saying to "Return".


Vince Camuto "Kade Slim Straight Leg Pant"

Status:  KEPT!


I really, really love these pants!  They are made of the same material as a high quality, thick legging, yet they have a zipper and a waist band and are looser than a legging.  I can finally wear "leggings as pants" and not feel self-conscious.

Instagram readers loved the pants too as they came in at #1 at 100% saying to "Keep"!

Love Ellie "Cheril Pointelle Duster Cardigan"

Status:  KEPT!


This was another item I was thrilled to see in my Fix.  I have a lot of cardigans in my closet, but none in this pretty dusty blue color.  I also loved how thin it was.  I do not like chunky sweaters on my frame.  It's perfect for these earlier fall days and I think I'll get a lot of use out of in spring too.

Instagram readers really liked this cardigan too as it came in 2nd place with 88% saying to "Keep" it and only 12% saying to "Return" it.

Daniel Rainn "Demeter Tie Neck Blouse"

Status:  Returned


I really liked many things about this top;  the mixed print, and the many little details like the borders and tassel ties.  However, I already own so many dark florals already,  I really didn't need another dark floral top.  But most importantly, the sleeves were too tight.  It's an issue I have with a lot of 3/4 sleeves as my arms are very long and where the sleeves stop it always feels too tight.  If I size up, then the top is too big everywhere else.  So, I have just learned to avoid most 3/4 sleeves.

Readers weren't that fond of this top either.  It tied for last place with the dress, coming in at 57% "Keep" and 43% "Return."

To summarize, I received five items:  earrings, a pair of pants, a dress, a cardigan, and a top.  I kept three of the five items:  the earrings, pants, and cardigan.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Our Utah Adventure: Zion National Park, Day 1, Lower Emerald Pools Trail

This is a continuation of a travel series to Utah.  To start at the beginning, go HERE.

In last week's travel post,  I shared our journey to get to Utah, which took us two and half days.  We arrived in Springdale, Utah around 3:00 pm and after checking into our hotel, we jumped on the shuttle and headed straight to Zion National Park.  When we arrived at the park, it seemed everyone else was leaving.  But going to the park in the evening was actually a great idea because it was over 100 degrees that day!


We were SO EXCITED to arrive in Zion.  This is a National Park I've read so many amazing things about I had to see it for myself to believe it.  Everything I read described it in nothing but beautiful or majestic terms.  And you what?  They were right.  Zion is SO GORGEOUS!  I don't know how many times we would be standing on some look-out with the most breath taking view we had ever seen in our lives and said to each other "Is this real?  It can't be.  It looks like someone painted a scenic background and dropped it from the sky."  When I close my eyes and picture heaven, it looks very much like Zion National Park.


When researching Zion National Park I was overwhelmed because there were so many trails, and I wanted to take them all!  But we were only able to spend two days in Zion (one afternoon, a full day, and the following morning).  I found a blog post titled "8 Spectacular Things To Do At Zion Park" and with careful planning we were able to do five of the activities listed.  Two of the trails on our list were closed due to rock falls, and one of the trails we had no interest in doing because I am afraid of heights (Angels Landing).



The Lower Emerald Pools Trail starts at the Zion Lodge.  It is an easy, gravel paved trail, perfect for non-hikers, the elderly, or small children.  It is 1.2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 70 feet.

When the shuttle drops you off at the lodge, you cross the street and the first thing you will see is a bridge and these magnificent views of the canyon.




After two and half days in the car, and the late start to our day, we thought an easy trail would be best.  We sure enjoyed soaking in all the beauty while we stretched our legs.


Even though the trail is easy, it's cool to be at the bottom of these amazing rock formations.  My best advice for anyone visiting Zion is to take hikes where you can experience the depths of the canyon as well as the heights.  Being in the bottom of a canyon surrounded by the majestic rock formations can be just as amazing as the scenic views from top.


We were so excited to see our first mule deer sipping water in the lower emerald pool.  By the end of our stay in Zion we had seen so many mule deer we didn't even blink when we saw them.  They are very tame so you can get very close to them before they run away.  We even spotted mule deer visiting people at their camp sites.




This is the end of the trail to the Lower Emerald Pools.  There use to be a Middle Emerald Pool Trail (but it's closed indefinitely due to rock fall), and there is also an Upper Emerald Pool Trail.  The Upper Emerald Pool Trail was closed when we were there (also due to rock fall) so all we were able to do was the lower one.

Water cascades down the sandstone walls and you walk under it's miss.  The path becomes wet and slippery so there is a railing here for safety.



The views to and from the trail are more worth the hike than the lower pool itself in my opinion.  I loved all the green vegetation which you would not expect to see in a desert climate, but the Virgin River is the cause of that.






After all our years of hiking we finally saw our first rattlesnake!  He was hanging out on an embankment next to the trail.


We were surprised to see some leaves changing color already, but it made for a nice photo.


After we finished the Lower Emerald Pool Trail it was still light enough that we decided we still had time for more!  Rather than get back on the shuttle to take us to the next trail head (what I wanted to do),  hubby decided to take a "short cut" via a horse trail.  😠  But it ended up being no short cut!  But more on that next week!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!