So we managed to fly right past our intended post date of Friday (maybe some of you can imagine how busy our family of 6 is!). Anyway, we are excited to be sharing the next set of favorite memories from our Utah parks as part of our countdown to our official book release celebration. Here you will get to hear from Harley and Tavin McAllister as they share their favorite memories from Canyonlands National Park. They didn't even consult with each other prior to writing but you will see that some of the same moments deeply touched them both.
Canyonlands NP is an interesting park that is often overlooked. It is within an hours drive of the much visited Arches NP. It has three very distinct regions that you cannot access internally but rather must travel long distances around the outside of the park to go from one region to another. Two of the regions are rugged and remote beyond the abilities of many families but one of the regions, the Island in the Sky region, is very accessible and worth the visit. Find out more in our guidebooks described elsewhere on this site.
With no further introduction, here are Harley and Tavin...
One day in Canyonlands we were all feeling pretty tuckered out due to all the travel, but there were a
couple of hikes that we knew we had to check out to include in our book, so I volunteered to head out
and tackle them. I asked for volunteers from the kids, and to my delight Tavin said that he'd accompany me. Thus began about a 2 hour excursion with just he and I, and we really made the most of our one-on-one time together.
We started off by hiking to Upheaval Dome, which is a fantastic and bizarre formation that no scientific
theory has yet to explain. We simply don't know exactly what caused it. There are multi colored rock
and dirt formations in grey, tan, and red located in the bottom of a gaping opening in the ground that
loosely resembles a huge natural amphitheater. The side you approach from terminates in steep,
rugged cliffs that drop several hundred feet, with some natural rock precipices that you can stand on.
Upon seeing this, Tavin's imagination immediately took him to the climactic scene in the Lord of the
Rings trilogy where Frodo throws the "One Ring" into the lava to break its hold on all who possess it.
As we tried to recreate that scene with photos, Tavin walked out to the precarious edge of the
precipice and held my wedding band out over the chasm, giving me at least two good reasons for the
lump in my throat to rise near the top.
We soon crested the mesa and found the ancient rock walls of the former dwelling, complete with
sweeping views of the surrounding area. With our mission accomplished we headed back to the
trailhead, eager to rejoin the rest of the family for the evening meal. Looking back I do remember the cool sights that we saw, but most of all I cherish the time spent together with Tavin. In our hectic world it is rare to find quality time like that - time with no interruptions, no smart phones, no internet, and no 'connectivity' other than the connections you are building between father and son.
Imagination takes over
By Tavin McAllister (12)
Last fall I went to Canyonlands National Park (along with a few others in Utah) and went on some fun hikes. Hikes are fun, and where you are going is usually better, but, my favorite part is being creative about where you hike and what you see. I went on a fun hike with my dad after a day of looking around the rest of Canyonlands, and we went on a trail called Upheaval dome. It was really cool because it was a big dome, that fell in on itself. First we saw it from one overlook and then we hiked a little bit and got a better view. Okay creative idea time. I saw a ledge sticking out over the pit and got an idea. I told my dad my idea, and he said I could do it. So I walked out on to the ledge with his gold wedding ring on my finger and stuck my had out like Frodo Baggins in "Lord of The Rings". My dad snapped a picture and then we hiked back down to the car laughing. This is what I like about hiking and looking at things a different way because sometimes you can see a good way to make the activity, or hike even more fun.
We, Harley and Abby, are the parents of 7 boys and 1 girl whom we regularly drag into any and every national park we come near to. We love our parks and know that the only chance we have of keeping and maintaining this priceless resource is to give our children a love of them too.