Me: Quick! Hurry up! Catch up on the blog before you take another big trip, because you know (spoiler alert) that another adventure is just around the corner.
Me: But fall in St. George is gorgeous! I wanna go outside and play.
Me (in a deep, ominous voice): Too bad.
Well, the voice of reason finally won over my playful demon. At long last, here are some photos from a trip that we took in mid-September to see Justin and Brianna in Payson, Arizona. It was a brief visit, but filled with so much fun that it was *definitely* worth the long drive.
We met up with Justin and Brianna at the cabin Brianna's parents acquired shortly before leaving to preside over the New Hampshire Manchester Mission. Talia immediately commented, "Wow! This doesn't look like a cabin to me!" They were thoroughly impressed with the beautiful home.
Annika was delighted to see her Arizona aunt once more, of course.
Justin and Brianna spoiled us, as always, with their mad cooking skills. Here's Justin displaying his talent as the Grill Meister.
When the Camelbaks come out, you can be sure that a hike is soon to follow. Where are we headed, Sir Eli?
To Tonto Natural Bridge State Park! While a few critics may find the name to be a bit, well, dumb, the park itself is absolutely amazing. This natural bridge forms an incredible tunnel that is 400 feet long and 180 feet high. The park's history is pretty fun too. Apparently a man named David Gowan discovered the place while running from Apaches, hiding in one of the caves for three days. He liked it so much that he claimed squatter's rights and invited his nephew, David Goodfellow to come over from Scotland to live there with his family. According to the website, they "lowered their possessions down the 500 foot slopes into the valley by ropes and burros." I'm assuming they didn't lower the burros on the ropes, but that makes a pretty entertaining picture to imagine.
Water seeping through from the top.
Pausing for a family photo. Eli was too distracted by all of the raindrops to pay attention to the camera.
Hiking along the riverbed. The kids absolutely love this kind of scrambling.
And the gorgeous valley around.
As if that weren't fun enough for a day, we then took another short hike to this fantastic swimming hole (or as Brianna likes to call it, watering hole.) The water was frigid, but Eli didn't mind!
Here's Justin, just about to flip into the Ellison Creek Cacades. The man is fearless!
Annika, Brianna, and I were the only ones with sense enough to stay warm and dry. Annika thought that riding on her Daddy's shoulders was plenty thrilling.
Trotting home, side by side. I love this photo because we have another one just like it where Jason and Justin are hiking side by side with a much younger Brooklyn and Talia on their shoulders. Time passes, but some things stay the same.
Brianna and Justin, thanks again for the wonderful weekend! Wish we lived closer to do it more often.