Travel

Joshua Tree National Park : Family Road Trip 2018

Joshua Tree was definitely one of the most memorable places out of all the places we visited on our 2018 15-day family road trip! If you ask any of my three kids what their favorite parts of the trip were, Joshua Tree is always on the top of the list.

The park is very easy to enter and navigate. There was almost no one else in the park while we were there in June. We had stayed in Kingman, AZ the night prior; therefore, we had a 3 hour and 40 minute drive to the park that morning. We woke up early, stopped at a grocery store for a lunch to pack with us, and arrived at the park before noon.

Being from Tennessee, the landscape was drastically different than anything else we had ever seen. The contrast of the deep blue sky against the shapes and formations of rocks and trees as you look out over the horizon were unbelievable. Interesting little creatures hopped and crawled out of every shrub as we walked through the park. My boys loved finding all sorts of lizards, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels and jackrabbits. My daughter and I let out a couple squeals as lizards ran past our feet! We had hoped to see the bighorn sheep but they were no where to be found during our trip. There were several signs posted that many of them were being treated for a sickness that had spread among them.

First, we found the White Tank Campground and began the hike to Arch Rock. It was a very easy 10 minute hike. This trail is filled with jumbo rocks that my kids enjoyed climbing all over! Their excitement at this point of our trip was over the top! What kid doesn’t love climbing rocks!? But, these rocks are something from another world. It’s the goldmine of rocks for kids!

Next, we headed towards Barker Dam hiking trail. This is an easy, flat trail and is the only area with water in the park. The bighorn sheep are often found here. This is where we saw that amazing landscape I was describing earlier! If you don’t have a lot of time in the park, this trail is a good overview of what the park has to offer. You will find thousands of Joshua trees and cacti, animals of every kind and rocks of every shape and size!

This is a huge park with so much to offer. There are even 9 campgrounds and I’m pretty sure they are all amazing. We definitely wished we had a little longer than one afternoon at Joshua Tree. We only saw a tiny glimpse into its greatness!

That evening, we stayed in Twenty-nine Psalms at Fairfield Inn and Suites. We highly recommend this hotel. They upgraded our room for free and it was a wonderful experience! It is a very nice, new hotel.

We LOVED Joshua Tree National Park. It is definitely one you don’t want to leave off your itinerary if you are going to be anywhere near the park!

For more information on our 15-day family road trip, you can find the information here.

IMG_6909IMG_6918IMG_6914IMG_6900IMG_6902IMG_6890IMG_6889IMG_6870IMG_6874IMG_6875IMG_6877IMG_6882IMG_6866IMG_6865IMG_6862IMG_6861IMG_6855IMG_6856IMG_6860IMG_6851

Travel

Bryce Canyon National Park: Family Road Trip 2018

IMG_6611

Bryce Canyon is truly remarkable. It was the second destination on our 2018 family road trip. Bryce was one of the first places I’ve visited that was so incredibly unique that my eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing. I heard so many “ooh” and “awes” as my family of five hiked along the trails!

One great thing about the park is that it is easy to get in and out. This is a huge plus considering we spent hours just trying to drive into some of the other parks we visited!

We had visited Zion National Park the day prior and stayed right outside Zion. We woke up early and had a 1 hour and 45minute drive to Bryce. We stopped while traveling to pick up some lunches to pack in the park with us.

I have three kids who were 12, 9 and 6 during the time of our hike. They had no problem hiking the trails at Bryce. Keep in mind that the entire first half of the hike is downhill. You know what that means? The entire hike out is uphill! My husband and I are in our 30s, in good shape, and we admit that it was quite tiring. We stopped several times along the path on the way out, but it is totally doable.

We hiked the Navajo Loop trail. However, the Wall Street portion of the trail is often closed. Therefore, it’s not really a loop. Basically, you hike down into the beautiful amphitheater and back out the same trail. You can combine this trail with the Queen Garden Loop to see more of the park. We had planned to do this but decided not to once we were there. By the time we got to the bottom of Navajo Loop, the kids were a little worn out and the sites begin to look the same. If my kids weren’t with us, we totally would have stayed longer to enjoy the park. But, with three kids, a half day felt appropriate. There is nothing quite like the hoodoos and natural bridges at Bryce Canyon!

We stayed right outside the park at Best Western Ruby’s Inn and I highly recommend this place! It is a very quaint little area which includes a general store and restaurant on site. There is also a little set of stores right across the street that resembles an old western town. We had a lot of fun walking around the area and enjoying all the amenities.

My family really enjoyed the “Bryce Day” of our 15-day trip. Because it is easy to get in and out of Bryce, it wasn’t a whole day’s event. We were able to spend half the day at the park, then go back and enjoy our hotel that evening.

IMG_6614IMG_6626IMG_6621IMG_6638IMG_6624IMG_6636IMG_6625IMG_6634IMG_6639IMG_6640IMG_6641IMG_6655IMG_6660IMG_6661IMG_6663IMG_6664IMG_6665IMG_6667IMG_6668IMG_6669IMG_6673IMG_6674IMG_6680

TIPS:

1. Bring something to cover your head and use sunscreen. It’s hot in the summer and there isn’t much shade anywhere in the park.

2. Bring something to shield your face. When the wind blows, the orange sand can blow up into your face. My daughter used a bandana to tie over her nose and mouth. Sunglasses would also be helpful to cover your eyes.

3. Bring in water and snacks. There isn’t anywhere in the park to eat. However, you can drive outside the park within 30 minutes to find food.

Family Life

Brain Injury Adventure Camp

Untitled-6

 

 

BIAC serves those with brain injury, special needs and other disabilities.The camp is on 42 acres in Henderson County, KY and is an outdoor site created to provide adventure activities for those with and without disabilities.

The facility is also used for team building and outdoor education.

The camp has low ropes course, fishing ponds, one mile trails, zip lines, therapeutic horseback riding, adaptive trikes, gardening and arts.

BIAC began after David’s cousin, T.K., suffered a traumatic brain injury while snowboarding in Colorado in 2003 at the age of 25. T.K. was in a coma for three months. David’s uncle, Tim, T.K.’s father, never left his side and when therapy ended, Tim continued to encourage and work with his son. Although doctors did not give much hope for life beyond bedridden, T.K. continued to improve. Tim explored opportunities for T.K. to grow physically and mentally and discovered an adventure camp in Colorado. After volunteering at this camp several times, Tim was convinced that such a camp was much needed and would be utilized in the western part of the US.

That began the long road of prayer, work, donations, research and so much more. Today, this is an amazing nonprofit organization that serves people in an awesome way.

We were amazed at the passion and love found within this organization. Most of all, we loved spending time with family we hadn’t seen in a very long time.

You can find more information about BIAC here:

http://www.biacky.org/index.html

 

IMG_1184 copy

 

IMG_1092 copy

 

Untitled-9

 

Untitled-13

 

IMG_1270 copy

 

Untitled-7

 

Untitled-12

 

Untitled-10

 

Untitled-5

 

Untitled-8

 

IMG_1103 copy

 

Untitled-10