I do have to say that this year, Salt Lake City had a super dry and extra warm January and February. This is not good for our snow pack, but it really helps in not having an issue with inversion collecting in the valley. Our air has been pretty clean and we enjoyed a lot of sunny lovely days. So when President's Day rolled around, we were still excited to see our family but weren't pinning all our hopes for happiness and emotional well being on escaping our valley.
The journey down there was way more adventurous than we expected. Like I said, half of Salt Lake seems to get on I-15 driving southbound and we ran into some serious traffic. The worst was just past Cedar City when we pretty much came to a standstill for a half hour or so. Maybe longer. And...we were almost out of gas. That was exciting! We made it to St. George on fumes and were very grateful for not having a disaster and running out of gas on the freeway. We were all so hungry by the time we made it to Cedar City that we could only remember to fill up our tummies and not to fill up our car too. Even getting food was challenging; the lines were so long everywhere we went. I guess St. George was the host city for multiple tournaments in more than one sport.
We sure were happy to get there. Especially little Iva to see her big cousin. These two - what a pair.
Iva even invited Chase to her tea party and much to our shock he complied and attended with pinkie lifted.
Sheri always seems to have new places to take us. I keep thinking that we have visited all her out-of-the-way places but low and behold she had another one for us. This time it was a lovely little canyon called Padre Canyon, next door to Snow Canyon, accessible from behind the Tuachan amphitheater. It's not a super long hike but it was pretty steep and scrambly, so I was impressed when all the kids but Sam walked the whole way. They were awesome hikers and found lots to enjoy on the trail like the little hidden caves and crevices.
The hike ended at a saddle with lots of great rocks to climb. We reenacted a scene or two from The Lion King. Sam made a great if unwilling baby Simba.
We didn't do a ton of other activities. We got there so late on Friday night, then hiked and played on Saturday. We initially planned on staying until Monday but after the nasty traffic on the way there we figured that Monday would be equally miserable. And then we realized that a massive winter storm was headed to the state on Sunday and travel would be seriously affected. We made a hasty decision to leave on Sunday morning, much to our childrens' chagrin. The drive home was quick and much less stressful, what with a full tank of gas and no stopped traffic on the road. We did jump the gun just a bit - we wish we had stayed until Sunday afternoon now that we look back on it, as the storm didn't really arrive until that night, but from all the weather reports it seemed urgent that we leave. And we did end up with a pretty good storm.
On Monday we spent the day shoveling and going sledding - it was so nice to get some real snow in the valley. It wasn't quite as big of a storm as we imagined, but it was decent for sure. And good for us since it had been such a dry winter.
It was only two or three weeks later that I made another trip to St. George. This time it was with a group of friends who try to take a girls trip every year. Sometimes it's St. George and once it was to Midway, but wherever we go it's always so fun and refreshing. I wasn't able to stay for the whole trip - I had to head out a little later than the rest of the gang and I definitely had to get back early since that Saturday was Troy's birthday as well as Romney's play. But the two nights and two days I was able to go just filled my cup. It's always great - dinner out, (and breakfast and lunch...), lots of hot tub time at the condo where we stay. Long walks and everyone wanted to go for a hike, so I led them right back up Pedro Canyon!
This is an amazing group of women. I love them dearly. I'm thrilled when I get to spend time with them and especially enjoy the long conversations we have together. I'm blessed to call them friends.
I zoomed back on Saturday morning early, wanting to be there for as much of Troy's birthday as I could. And funny enough, another winter storm was on its way. I was glad I wasn't driving back on Sunday with the other gals, although I understand they did just fine coming home. This storm didn't carry the heavy warnings and predictions as seriously as the President's Day Weekend one did, but I feel like we ended up getting even more snow this time around. I'm very grateful that with all this traveling I and my family were all safe and never really had to drive through it.
By the time the weekend was done I can tell you that I was very glad to not be sitting in a car any more! That was a lot of travel in my dear old van.