Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 Turkey Shoot

 It's November, so time for the annual turkey shoot. We don't shoot turkeys, but the winners take home turkeys. Desert Boy competed in archery.

He had a nice grouping.

Desert Girl and I had been practicing quite a bit. She didn't do all that well, but had fun.

This was the kids' archery winner. Three bulls eyes!

Then it was on to pellet guns.

And kids' .22s. Desert Boy really likes shooting. Okay, so do I!

This photo cracked me up. The picnic table is a nice resting spot.

There were many different categories of rifle and pistol shooting at various distances. At least four people had to be signed up for the category to go. I had perfect scores in two of the contests I participated in, but lost in the shoot-offs, so alas I didn't go home with a turkey. Neither did my husband, although he also did some nice shooting. The kids each got a cornish hen.

All ages participated. And there were some stylish dressers!

There was also a raffle, and we were lucky to get a gift card.

There were also hot dogs, elk chili, and other snacks for sale. Add fun times with friends, and it was a most enjoyable day. Until the wind really picked up. But that's another story!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Hiking in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

 After our Padre Canyon hike, we spent the night in Snow Canyon State Park in late October during our fall break. The campground is small and often fills quickly, but we were able to get one of the last spots. The state park doesn't allow climbing on the nearby rocks (Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas does allow scrambling on the rocks at the campground, if this is important to you). So we decided on a hike the next day that would allow us to do lots of scrambling. Since we had brought our bikes, we thought it would be fun to make a combo hike-bike trip. I drove the truck with everyone's bikes uphill to where we wanted to end our hike, then biked down to the parking lot where we would start the hike, which was near the campground.

We started on the Hidden Pinyons trail, which has great parts like walking between these rock features.

There was even an optional jump. The kids realized that this wasn't going to be a normal hike. They were happy.

We soon were on the sandstone. Our basic plan was to take the trails north.

Soon we didn't even see the trail markers. But the park isn't big and we figured we couldn't get lost, so we just scrambled where ever we wanted to.

For the kids, that meant vertical trails!

My brother was a good sport. The clouds made hiking really comfortable.

We saw a few other people wandering around, but we had plenty of space to ourselves.

The cross bedding was amazing.

At this point, the kids didn't look that thrilled with the route I chose.

But we got to see some cool Hemiptera (true bugs) mating or something.

We kept going up...

...the views were stupendous, with contrasting red sandstone, white limestone, and black lava.

And finally we reached the top of a sandstone knoll. The kids thought they should celebrate by sticking out their tongues.

Next we descended and tarted the lava tube part of our adventure.

This is what we had the helmets--and lights--for. We met one family with no helmets and just one phone light for all seven of them. There were flip flops in the group. Hopefully they made it out. Unfortunately there's a lot of trash in the lava tubes and more glow sticks than you can imagine. It was sad. The kids really seemed upset about it. Hopefully some scout troops will go help clean up the lava tubes.

When we finished the hike, it was the biking part. It was all downhill, so super fun. I drove down to pick them up and get my bike.
I highly recommend hiking in Snow Canyon State Park, especially during the fall, winter, and spring. In the summer it can get so hot you have to take some special precautions. Here's their website to learn more.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fun Things to Do in St. George

 I'm finally catching up on blogging after some whirlwind travel. During fall break, we spent several days in St. George. We wanted to go someplace close and warm, and I knew there would be no shortage of things to do. We visited a new park, Thunder Junction, which has a dinosaur and train theme. Here's Desert Girl getting rocked as she pretends to be a baby dinosaur.

And then the kids got their shower.

The train is 1/4 size of the original and runs on a track around the playground. It costs $1 to ride the train, and the engineer and conductor were super nice!

The train can hold a lot of people, but we were the only ones for our ride!

The train even goes through a tunnel that I tried to convince the kids was from Dinosaur Train. They didn't quite believe me.

Also at the playground was a sensory park with musical instruments. It was really cool and there was always someone there playing music.

The next day we hopped on our bikes to take the bike trail to the Johnson Farm Dinosaur Tracks Museum. Along the way we spotted a snail and stopped to get a closer look.

We're not used to seeing snails, so we had a good, long look! Then we saw several more snails. They seemed to like the riparian area, and as the trail went right along the Virgin River, there were lots.

The bike trail doesn't lead right to the museum (yet--hopefully it will in the future!), so we had some route finding to do, but we eventually made it to find the amazing dinosaur tracks there.

Our future paleontologist wasn't so thrilled. She much prefers to dig than just see things displayed.

We went for a foodie lunch at the Twisted Noodle Cafe. Desert Girl particularly liked the chocolate mint mousse. Hmmm, go figure!

We saw a tarantula near the Santa Clara River Reserve, but we decided not to hike there due to some impending rain.

Desert Boy had asked repeatedly to go the trampoline park. So we went, and it was underwhelming and the kids got trampoline burns and they may have it out of their system.

What was much more fun was Pioneer Park, on the north side of St. George. This is a park without any playground equipment. Instead, there are rocks to climb!

There's not much official climbing, you can just scamper whereever you want.

Plus we found a good squeeze.

It was so much fun we went back to it again a couple days later and found new places to explore.

Another excursion was to Staheli Farms. My husband had joined us by this time so we took a family photo in the big rocking chair.

And here's my brother with the kids.

The kids loved doing the little activities, like milking the cow...

...and playing with the pumps...

...and going through the corn maze. Okay, I loved the corn maze too. I wandered off on my own and it was so quiet. I may have stayed lost for a little longer than necessary! :)

From there we headed out to Warner Valley to see some dinosaur tracks. When we got to the trailhead, we saw we weren't alone.

We took the short trail into the wash where we found the trackway, some of it protected with a water diversion.

It wasn't hard to spot the tracks.

We had a lot of fun imagining the dinosaurs walking here.

An interpretive sign gave us some more info and also showed a map where we could find more tracks.

It's so cool to think that these tracks have been preserved for millions of years!

Dinosaur track vs Desert Girl's foot. She's got a ways to grow.

Back to a couple other things I like about St. George. Their trail system is marvelous! And now they've added a bike fixing station! You can pump up your tires or use one of the tools to adjust your bike.

And they've added signs that tell you how far things are and how long it will take you to bike or walk there.

Kiosks along the way have maps. It is so well thought out and done. We're trying to get trails in our community, so I was taking notes!

It was so great to have Uncle Ed with us on our adventures. We still have one more post of our fall break adventures--an all day hike in Snow Canyon State Park.

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