Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Explore Bryce Canyon

As we were planning our trip to Utah for the Young Living Convention we just knew we had to go back to Bryce Canyon.  We fell in love with this incredibly unique National Park 10 years ago when my husband and I spent 30 days camping cross country after he returned home from Iraq.  Our very first impression was, "We just landed on another planet!"  

We had heard that Bryce Canyon was no longer the hidden gem it was 10 years ago and that it was now quite popular.  I was a little nervous about heading in with our 35 foot RV without reservations, and fears of unavailability mounted as we approached and saw signs everywhere urging you to park outside the park and take a shuttle in.  Because we stayed right down the road at Red Canyon (http://www.pocketfuloftreasures.net/2016/08/don-miss-these-gems-outside-bryce-canyon.html) we arrived fairly early in the day (approximately 9am) and took our chances.  Although the campground did fill up by the end of the day, there was still plenty of availability.  The campsites are spacious and our little ones enjoyed plenty of little critters around to eat their veggies for them. (Please don't intentionally feed the animals)

Bryce Canyon certainly has plenty of trail systems for hikers, bicyclers, and equestrians.  A shared-use path runs from Bryce Canyon City (outside the park), past the campground, on towards Sunrise and then Sunset Point, and continues all the way to Inspiration Point.  Watch for deer, prairie dogs, and other wildlife on and near the path.

If you do not have a bicycle or are not up for the challenge (some steep, though not terribly difficult elevation climbs), there is a shuttle that also runs past these points.  We really enjoyed biking the trail to  Inspiration point, taking out time along the way to enjoy the many lookouts.
Also along the Shared-Use path you may enjoy resting or shopping at Bryce Canyon Lodge or the General Store.  Bryce Canyon Lodge was not there the last time we visited, which shows how much this National Park has grown in 10 short years, but the accommodations appeared very nice for those that do not wish to camp.  And for parents needing some bribery along the trail, the General Store had 5 cent taffy by the check out counter 👍

The last time my husband and I visited Bryce Canyon we hike the 8 mile Fairyland Loop.  It was certainly a strenuous 8 mile trail with a 1,716 ft elevation change, but it offered some incredible views of tall hoodoos, China Wall, and Tower Bridge.  

Because we have 5 children ages 7 and under, we opted for an easier trail this time.  At approximately 3 miles and only 600 feet elevation change, the Queens/Navajo Combination Loop will take you past some picturesque formations, including the impressive Wall Street.  I loved watching the look of wonder expressed on our children's faces.

Remember to save plenty of water for the climb back out of the canyon!  

A little bit of CoolAzul and AgilEase helps too 😉

I'd love to see your pictures and hear your stories!  Follow me on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures

Also be sure to check out my other blog posts on our adventures in Utah!  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Don't Miss these Gems outside Bryce Canyon

Don't get me wrong, I love Bryce Canyon (in fact, it's one of my top 5 favorite places), but there are lots of beautiful places surrounding Bryce Canyon.  

If you are driving from Salt Lake City down to Bryce Canyon, Little Cottonwood Campground in Fishlake National Forest is a convenient stop off of I-15 just outside the community of Beaver.  There are 14 primitive (no hookups), shaded campsites that can accommodate RVs up to 40ft.  We enjoyed sleeping nestled in the woods with our windows open.  We need to plan a visit back here to explore more of the hiking trails and spend some time fishing on Beaver River.

From there continue south on highway 15 to Panguitch where you will take 89S to Scenic Byway 12.  Stay at Red Canyon Campground (part of Dixie National Forest) for access to an extensive trail system.  We decided that you could easily spend a week or two exploring the limestone formations and ponderosa pine forests found here.  Unfortunately, we only had one day there, but we were able to pack in plenty of adventures. We spent the morning biking Red Canyon Bike Trail, which parallels Highway 12 but offers superb views of Red Canyon.  The best part of this trail is that what goes up must come down, so the return trip back to the campground is mostly downhill!
The trail run particularly close to this rock tunnel, make it easy to grab some photos.

After a quick stop back at the campground to refuel and reload (remember to hydrate often!), we decided to check out some of the hiking trails.

Buckhorn Trail leads out of the east of the campground (between site #24 and #26), and can be coombines with Goldenwall Trail and Castle Bridge Trail.  The trail begins with a moderately difficult climb (approx. 500 feet elevation change) up switchbacks through the forest before leveling out a bit and giving some breathtaking views of Red Canyon.  Towards the end of the trail it is extremely narrow with drop offs on both side.  At one point we took a sit and scoot approach (moving slowly and carefully, on the lookout for snakes and scorpions).  Here is a link to a printable trail map: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5436846.pdf

Despite the heat and long day of adventures, we finished the way every good day should with a campfire and s'mores!

Be sure to check out our other adventures in Utah!

Goblin Valley State Park: http://www.pocketfuloftreasures.net/2016/07/goblin-valley-state-park-explore-nature.html

Moab: http://www.pocketfuloftreasures.net/2016/07/hike-to-corona-arch-moab-hidden-gem.html

Follow me on Instagram: @pocketful_of_treasures

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Goblin Valley State Park - Explore Nature's Playground

Utah is full of unique, hidden surprises!  Goblin Valley State Park in Utah may be a bit off the beaten path, but it is the ultimate playground and a favorite among kids (young and old)!  

Accessible via Highway 24 (a scenic drive itself), Goblin State Park is a valley of hundreds of geologic goblins formed where soft sandstone has been eroded by wind and water.  If you have a little girl, chances are you have seen the movie Frozen at least 100 times.  Remember the scene with the "Rock Trolls"?  That is what Valley of the Goblins reminded us of!  Be careful, you may just find yourself singing, "Is it the clumpy way he walks? Or the grumpy way he talks? Or the pear-shaped, square-shaped, weirdness of his feet?"  ("Fixer Upper" from Frozen Soundtrack).

Camping at the State Park is somewhat primative.  There are no hookups at the sites.  Generators are allowed during daytime hours and there is a dump station and rest room.  The picnic tables are covered, which provides sweet relief from sun and rain (we had both extremes during our stay).  The wind does come up pretty quickly and swiftly, so if you are in an RV make sure you watch your awnings carefully or keep the, in, and if you are camping make sure your tent is well secured!  Sandstone cliffs line the campground and there are several dunes to play on as well.

From the campground you can hike Entrada Canyon Trail to Valley of the Goblins.  It's an easy 1.5 mile hike (one way) through a canyon where you will see and explore goblins that are not otherwise accessible.

(A little off trail exploring)

The Valley of Goblins is seriously one of nature's finest playgrounds.  Our kids loved playing "American Ninja Warrior) and pretended some of the canyons were The Warp Wall.  Plan on spending at least an hour exploring, but you could easily spend a full day there.  

There is an outhouse facility at the Valley of Goblins, but no water so make sure you pack plenty (and remember you still have a 1.5 mile walk back to the campground).  Don't forget fuel for your adventures!
(Visit JessicaBaker.MarketingScents.Com for more info order)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hike to Corona Arch - Moab's Hidden Gem

We decided to turn our trip to the Young Living Convention into a 3 week vacation!  (Have I mentioned how much I love my job?!?  If you are looking to live a life of wellness and abundance, then we need to talk!). We traveled all across and up and down the state of Utah.  I am convinced one could spend a year or more visiting this incredible state.  We started in Moab, so that is where I will be starting this series of blog posts.

Let me start by saying I absolutely love National Parks, but when you think of Moab, Utah you often think of Arches and Canyonlamds National Park.  I want to share with you a gem of Utah that is a bit off the beaten path.

Corona Arch Trail

Getting There:  From the junction of US 191 and Utah 279, head west 10 miles on Utah 279.  The drive itself is scenic with towering canyon walls and bank of the Colorado River. 

 The highway was constructed to service the Cane Creek potash mine and if your lucky you'll catch the train on one of its travels.  The highway passes by Indian petroglyphs and dinosaur footprints.  Immediately before the Corona Arch parking area (which will be on your right), you will see the Gold Bar Recreation Area and Campgrounds on your left.  Gold Bar is a BLM campground that offers riverside primitive camping on a first come first served basis for just $10 a night.

Preparing for the Hike:  Remember, you are hiking in the desert!!!  The temperature soared above 110 degrees on our hike.  The hike is only 3 miles round trip and is relatively easy (a few technical spots where you have the support of a safety cable or ladder), but plan on it taking longer than expected due to the heat.  We hiked with 5 children ranging in ages from 1-7 years old.  My husband and I each carried one of the younger ones and our 4, 6, and 7 year old walked. We were out on the trail for approximately 3 hours and boy was it HOT.  We all needed some peppermint essential oil to keep us cool!

The Hike:  
From the trailhead, follow the trail as it climbs and register across from the railroad tracks.  This is important!  We had no cell service and saw only 1 other couple on the trail the entire three hours we were out there.  Remind your children that if they get lost to "hug a rock" (stay put!).

Cross the track and follow an old, eroding road bed through a gap in the slick rock.  You will follow the trail of cairns, which are stacks of rock that mark the trail.  Our children had great fun trying to spy the next one.  You'll continue along this trail of cairns to the northeast where eventually you'll reach the base of a large sandstone cliff.  Continue following the cairns along the base of the cliff to the fist safety cable and then around to the second.  Shallow steps have been cut into the slick rock to help you up the second cable, but smaller children may need some assistance on this one.

Here you'll catch your first glimpse of Corona Arch (Bow Tie Arch will be to the left of it).  

Climbs short ladder up over a ledge and follow the cairns to the top of a large, wide slickrock bench. 

 From this point it is easy to scramble along the slickrock beneath BowTie Arch and on to Corona Arch.  

Corona Arch is a partly freestanding arch with 140 X 105 foot opening.  The arch will provide some much appreciate shade.  Take a break, hydrate, and enjoy the "wow" before heading back.

Well done!  I'd love to see photos of your hike!  Follow us on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Our Flag

The first official flag of the United States was created by Congress on June 14, 1777.  In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation offering national recognition of "Old Glory".  Unfortunately, many in our own country no longer know what the American Flag stands for.  We must honor our flag and our heritage by teaching our children so that they may teach their children.

The book "World of Flags" was passed down to us from my husband's father.  There is lot you can learn about a nation and state's history by studying their flag.

"Each country has the assurance that their flag does them honor, and they in turn honor their flag.  So it is with the United States.  Our Flag is a symbol of our way of life; It is a symbol of our past; It is a symbol of the responsibilities we must accept as guardians of our heritage; It is the visible emblem of the mind and soul of the American people.  It reminds us of our daily blessings."  (Oakley, Charles.  World of Flags.  Chicago: F.E. Compton Co., 1970.  Print)

It was resolved that the flag of the United States would be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: and that the union have one star for each state, white in a blue field.

On June 14, 1923 a code was drawn up at the National Flag Conference held in Washington, DC to supply a guideline for the proper use and display of the flag.  In June 1942, Congress adopted a resolution which made the flag code a law.

Here are some highlights on how you can honor and display the flag:
*Always flight the flag of the United States above all subordinate flags on the same halyard.
*Salute the flag during the hoisting or lowering of the flag, or when it passes in a parade.
*The half-staff position honors the nation's heroic dead, as on Memorial day.
*At retreat, the flag is ceremoniously lowered as the bugler blows "Retreat" or a band plays "The Star-Spangled Banner"
*When taken down the flag should be carefully folded.

(We learned all about Flag Code at a program at Jacksonport State Park)

*The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
*The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
*The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
*The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.
*The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong."
*The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie.  It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
*The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of the republic.
*The eight fold is a tribute to the one who entered the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our brother, for whom it flies on Memorial Day.
*The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
*The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
*The eleventh fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
*The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God teh Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
*When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God We Trust"
*After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the US Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

Our girls have their own flag, and they enjoy folding it each night and in doing so are reminded of our heritage.

Celebrate Flag Day by making a patriotic snack and teaching your children about our Flag!

Bake a Cake

Make Fruit Skewers

Thursday, June 2, 2016

AHG Geology Badge: Rock Collection, Exploration, and Identification

Rocks are the building blocks of earth's crust.

Igneous rocks are formed when magma cools and hardens.

Sedimentary rocks are formed from particles of sand, shells, pebbles, or other particles (sediment) that "cement" together.  They are typically softer rocks and may crumble.  Sometimes you can see the pebbles or sand, and you may even find fossils in this kind of rock.  

(from Learning About Rocks book)

Metamorphic rocks are formed under the surface of the earth by intense heat and pressure.  These rocks typically have ribbonlike layers and may have shiny crystals from minerals growing slowly over time.

Which rocks would you expect to find in your area?  Which types of rocks would you not expect to find in your area?  Since we are not located in a volcanic area, we would not expect to find igneous rocks.  However, when I traveled cross country a few years ago I picked up some Apache Tears which are obsidian, an igneous rock.  

(from Learning About Rocks book)

You usually do not have to walk far to find a wide variety of rocks.  Take a look around your yard, along a river or stream, or near outcroppings.  Start a rock collection of a dozen different rocks.

Egg Cartons are convenient way to store your rock collection.  Assign each rock a number.  In your nature journal draw a picture of where you found the rock.  Use my FREE Rock Exploration Sheet (which conveniently fits into the top of an egg carton) to answer questions about each rock.  Based on your answers and the location you found your rock, do you think your rock is igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic?

Do you see any patterns or correlations between the rocks and where you found them?  For example, rocks you find in or near water are typically smoother than rocks near outcroppings.  

From our Activity Rocks (by GeoCentral) we learned that dolomite, a sedimentary rock used to build roads and make cement, contains limestone which can be dissolved by vinegar.  According to the activity kit, when you place dolomite in vinegar the limestone dissolves and once the vinegar evaporates the limestone reappears as crystals.  Adding a penny creates bluish crystals.

We observed bubbles coming from the dolomite as the limestone dissolved in the vinegar.  The kids then took off outside to search our yard for rocks and covered them in vinegar to observe what would happen.  I love watching my little scientists make their own experiments!  After letting the rocks sit in vinegar for several days we transferred the rocks and vinegar to a shallow pan and out it in the sun to allow the vinegar to evaporate.  

It's been fun to watch the crystals appear!

Share pictures of your rock collection on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures or #pocketfuloftreasures