Traveling with very young children (ages 4 years, 3 years, and 3 months) was a fun experience for me. Children definitely travel at a different pace than adults. Sometimes their pace is slower--like when 4-year-old Debbie wanted to stop to pick up many beautiful pebbles along the trail to view Delicate Arch. Here's a photo of them there, with Debbie's shirt full of pebbles whose beauty I never would have noticed without her.
Sometimes children travel at a faster pace than adults, like when 3-year-old Anna wanted to run the entire way back to the parking lot from the Pine Tree Arch. (She and Debbie were well-rested and happy after spending an hour or so playing in the sand at the foot of Pine Tree Arch where we stopped for lunch. Suzy was kind enough to wait with the girls there while I made the rest of the hike up to Landscape Arch). Here's a photo of Suzy and the girls on the Pine Tree Arch trail. I think the other tourists we met along the trail were charmed by the fact that Anna brought along her blanket and Debbie brought along her umbrella...one of the tourists commented that he wished he'd brought his blanket too!
We visited Sego Canyon to see the petroglyphs (ancient Indian art on rock canyon walls), and Anna found that place to be very frightening. I had to smile at Anna's method of finding comfort...she had a toy rat that she clung to! I've never found rats to be very comforting, but she did. Despite her fear, she bravely held her rat in one hand and held onto me with the other as we explored the trails to see the petroglyphs, such as the ones below. (They do look kind of creepy, don't they?)
I was impressed by what a good, smart, and devoted mother Suzy is. She was handing out fruit snacks to any girls who were willing to go potty in an unfamiliar toilet. Some of those porta-potties are pretty scary, but the girls were highly motivated and so we didn't have any accidents! I was impressed at how she could get up in the middle of the night to nurse Lily Beth, but still have enough energy to go traipsing around Utah with three little ones in tow during the day. When the Moab store had only one tube for floating at the pool, and the girls were struggling to take turns using it, Suzy had the bright idea to put both girls in the tube together...with their 4 arms and 4 legs, they were a happy little octopus floating around the pool! Saturday was my birthday, and Suzy had the girls sing to me and present me with hand-drawn cards. Hearing those little ones tentatively sing the birthday song to me (they were just a little uncertain since they're relatively new to the birthday song themselves) has got to be one of the sweetest experiences of my life.
One of the highlights of our trip was going to the Bar M Wranglers Chuck Wagon dinner. Before the dinner, you can explore their very fun area...here's a photo we got there:
They also have this funny cowboy cemetery called "Boot Hill". In case you can't read it, it says "Here lies Dead Horse Dave. Forgot to pack water. Wound up in the grave".
We enjoyed playing horseshoes there, practicing our steer roping, watching a staged gun fight, and then enjoying a lovely dinner and program. They even yodelled, which I love since my mother and my siblings can yodel (but I can't yet, so I especially appreciate people who can)! Here's a video of a yodelling song:
Other highlights of the trip were stopping for lunch in Green River and finding that we were there just in time for their annual Melon Days celebration. Here's a movie showing the fun train ride and toys that the girls enjoyed while we were there.
Of course, visiting Arches and Canyonlands National Parks was really great too. Here's one of my favorite photos from the trip. This is Mesa Arch, which is located in Canyonlands National Park. It's a little scary, because it has a 1000 foot cliff immediately below the arch.
Another place I loved was the Sand Dune Arch in Arches National Park.
Here's another of my favorite photos of Canyonlands.
Canyonlands actually has two rivers flowing through it--the Green and the Colorado--which both have created huge canyons like this. The two of them cut across the park until they join to form the shape of a Y. The part of the park that is in the top of the Y is called "Island in the Sky" because there are huge canyons on both sides of you. You can go right to the point where the two canyons meet and see a stunning view. Because the girls were tired when we got to that point, we took turns going there. Here's a photo of Suzy with Debbie on the Colorado River side of the view: