|Zion National Park, Utah|
Location: Watchman Trail, Zion National Park, Utah
Distance: 2 miles
Time in Park: 5 hours
If you go on the Watchman Trail be sure to bring lots of water, lather on some sun block, and wear good shoes. However, if you go with kids do not forget to also bring a wardrobe, a surgeon, a film crew, a culinary school, and
Too much? Maybe. The condensed version would be: some extra clothes, a first aid kit, a video camera, some granola bars, and lots of endurance.
Thankfully, we had all the above when we decided to take 4 kids ages 11 and under on the Watchman Trail. From the description in the Zion hiking brochure, the trail sounded like it would be good to take the kids on, so we decided to pack up the hiking gear, strap on the hiking boots, and have a new adventure.
Just like a Dora episode, we went through the brush, up the switchbacks, along the cliff, beside the boulder, under the shade, and past the cactus. Where are we going (clap, clap, clap) – The Loop Trail! Huh? The Loop Trail? When we got to what we thought was the end of the Watchman Trail, we saw a sign that said “The Loop Trail”. So, what the heck, we had already gone this far and figured we might as well do the short Loop Trail. This section of the trail took us out to the point of the plateau we had been hiking up for the past hour and a half. We enjoyed the view and Gabriel (age 8) was so excited that we made it until his older brother told him, “We’re only half way. We have the whole down trip.” So, back down we went, taking a few short breaks along to trail to get a snack, drink some water, and use the restroom behind a tree. And then two other hikers walked past us and said, “Is that your stuffed animal back on the trail?” So, older brother Cody had to run back to save 3 year old Tytus’ PBR bull stuffed animal. It was a near tragedy.
By the time we made it back down to the bottom of the canyon, all the kids had sore legs and were ready to get another granola bar (what did I tell you about snacks?) and sit down for a little while. We made a stop at the van and then walked down the hill from the parking lot to the Virgin River. The kids played in the sand. Josie made a castle and Gabriel poured water in the sand until he made his own canyon. Science in action.
It’s great to see kids out and about enjoying nature. In our age of technological advancement, it’s important to be reminded that we need to unplug the laptop and turn off the cell phone every once in a while and get outside. My great great grandma used to say, “a dirty child is a healthy child.” Well, these kiddos were covered in red dirt and sand and their little hands were wet from scooping buckets of water from the river.
And then we went home and the kids ate dinner and crashed without pitching a fit about it at all.
I tell you, nature is wonderful.
Bye for now,