Littles in Zion

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Littles in Zion

Zion in Novebmer....I can't tell you enough that the best time to visit national parks or anything touristy is during the off season. Yes, it was a tad bit cooler...ok it was freezing like full on frozen waterfalls...but man, what an experience. My children and I had the place to ourselves...no worrying about shuttles or getting stuck behind slow hikers. It was rad. As you can see from the pictures we just bundled everybody up. Living in Oregon and having a large family we have accumulated the right outdoor gear for many adventures.

 

she rocks

she rocks

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Angel's Landing

A must do...

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This is an image from the top of Angel's landing. Oh my goodness this use to be our ultimate hike, until we hiked amongst pit vipers, tarantulas etc. in the thick underbrush of Thailand. This is a strenuous trail in Zion National Park with steep drop-offs and very narrow sections. Not for anyone afraid of heights! ( Well, I shouldn't say that because I am deathly afraid of heights, but I make myself do it) The first 2-miles are paved and well-maintained. Ends at summit 1500 feet above Zion Canyon. Last 0.5 mi (0.8 km) follows a steep, narrow ridge; chains have been added in the most difficult areas. Ummm...yeah, this was covered in slippery Ice and snow when we went...a bit more challenging but an adventure for sure. The last half-mile is across a narrow sandstone ridge. Anchored support chains are attached along some sections of the sheer fin. Sheer cliffs at high elevations while hiking on a narrow fin is crazy and Im not sure how more people don't die here every year..But I tell you one thing its has amazing views of the whole park...it doesn't even look real. 

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"What if I fall?"

oh, but my darling..what if you fly?!

Emerald Pools trail head was one of the kid's favorite. There are three pools. The trail to the lower pool is .6 mile one-way and is paved. Pretty easy peasy. The Middle Pool is a short but rugged hike up and is not as cool as the other two. The Upper Pool is .3 miles beyond that and it is a rugged uphill hike, but our kids did it no problem and one of us always carrying a baby. The Upper Pool is surrounded by red rock cliffs and when we were there frozen water was pouring out and just breathtaking.

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Weeping Rock. is a 5 mile round-trip, mostly uphill going there and back. During winter there is frozen ice through out the trail so be careful and some water will probably drip on you, but extremely beautiful! 

The Narrows

The Narrows

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The Narrows is the reason I was so drawn to Zion. It has an absolutely breath taking and awe inspiring terrain like no other.The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. This gorge, with walls a thousand feet tall and the river sometimes just twenty to thirty feet wide, is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park. You can get there by hiking along the paved, Riverside Walk for one mile from the Temple of Sinawava. If you wish to see more, you will be walking in the Virgin River. This can involve wading upstream for just a few minutes or it can be an all day hike...Being here in November we decided not to rent wet suits this time and only waded to our knees... I wish we could have gone further...It's indeed on our list to come back and do it when the babies are older. If you go to Zion please please check this hike out.

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An outdoor

upbringing 

We sat here after a long day of hiking and ate our sack lunch..(Phoenix showing Phorest a few chords on the ukulele) When we went on this trip it was during the school year. Nick and I find it just as important to spend time as a family and witness some of the landscapes our massive earth has to offer just as important as reading, math etc.. Thats why we are dedicated to raising our children outdoors. We thrive in it and so do they.

sun setting on the horizon 

sun setting on the horizon 

There are campsite in Zion, but having snow on the ground and lots of littles we decided to go with VRBO in ST. George. Springdale is closest to Zion and has several good lodging options.  Cedar City, Hurricane or Kanab also make a good base for a trip to Zion and other nearby attractions. Our favorite spot in ST. George was only 77 a night with an arcade and two bedrooms one filled with bunk beds not to mention a Cafe Rio down the road...mmmmm

 

 

zzzzzz's in Zion

zzzzzz's in Zion

Court of the Patriarchs....a quick and easy two-minute trail takes you to a little viewpoint above the trees and offers a good view of the mountain formations across the canyon that are known as the "Court of the Patriarchs." This collection of peaks are individually named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but two other formations named The Sentinel and Mount Moroni are also featured prominently from this vantage point. This is a great spot for a photo opportunity, especially in the morning sunlight.

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Other near by places to visit.....

 There was so many awesome memories made on this trip. Zion has such a different and unique landscape unlike any other with it's rock faces to it's beautiful emerald pools. There is just too many things to do to list them all, but I hope that this inspires another. If we can do it with all these kids so can you and don't forget Zion in Winter can be just as beautiful if not more.

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How to find a secret water hole

Growing up in Oregon with an abundant amount of lakes, river and creeks we know our share of secret swimming holes...But I'm not about to give those out for pure popularity...Sometimes keeping it simple is classy.  What I am going to do is give you a few examples of what to look for when searching for that all time favorite spot...

Somewhere along the Smith River

Somewhere along the Smith River

Before heading out please rember that some of these holes are sacred to many and proper etiquette and ethical behavior is crucial*

TIPS 

Think lakes, river, creeks...head towards them they almost all connect.....

Watch for parked cars in remote areas...this is a tell tale sign you've got your self a water hole.

Make friends with the locals.

Before heading out think about what gear you have....

Do you have the right shoes (although I have one child who sometimes insists on flip flops and hikes pretty well in them), a packable cooler, chairs, ..etc? I myself am lost without my river sandals.

Do you want shallow waters for littles or cliff jumping.....we prefer both!

Are you up for a long hike, or prefer not to....

The majority of our swim holes take a bit of adventure skills to get to...lugging gear down to a river hole for a family of ten can be quite challenging, but we have become totally the pros (adventure parents) over the last 16 years.

We have a very helpful rule: everyone carries something

Safety First

Safety is key. if you're into cliff jumping, please please be careful...yes you occasionally see my kids jumping cliffs, bridges etc...but that is because we know where we are. We know to check the depth of the water each visit. Water levels are at a constant change...wether it be low or extremely high and over powering...please make sure to check your surroundings. Especially when you have littles by an early summer river...they can be swept out so easily. Its always a good idea to talk to kids about what to do if they get swept down stream, to let the current take you, not fight it until you are near the shore or can grab something like a tree branch.

PICK UP AFTER YOURSELF

Please, please pick up after yourself, this means everything to me.

Every time we go to the river we lug out a handful of trash from the previous guys. Lets keep our beautiful lakes and rivers beautful not only for the next guy, but for all those creatures that call it home.

Keeping it a secret

Now this ones totally up to you...who you tell and who you don't. I respectfully decline to give our favorite spots, but choose to take a few with the same values and who I know would treat it like home. Just remember once the words out, it might not be so easy to get a spot next time...so choose sparingly and

Happy Hunting!

The Ficeks


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Mt. Hood National Park/ Bagsby Hotsprings

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Mt. Hood National Park/ Bagsby Hotsprings

 

My husband wanted to do something nice for Mother's Day so we decided to take a quick trip. It doesn't take much to make me happy. I love road trips with beautiful scenery. So into the woods we went. The whole way there and back had a magnificent view.

 

I knew I wanted to stay somewhere secluded and away from it all. We are hugehttps://www.vrbo.com/ andhttps://www.airbnb.com/ so we started a Mt. Hood list and landed with a quant little tiny house on a beautiful and charming farm. It was the prefect size for us and the littles. It had no tv, a lovely skylight to watch the stars, a compost toilet ( interesting, but cool!). This place was just for us. If you're curious here is the listing http://abnb.me/EVmg/X2eYdjILcD

Stuart was the nicest man who welcomed us with a friendly smile. He Introduced us to all the farm animals. Took the kids on a horse ride, let them walk the goats and to top it off brought us locally made croissants in the morning. 

 

I'd call that a beautiful start to one fun day. 

On the way to the hot springs they could not stop talking about how much fun they had and how they wanted to go back. 

 

From the AIRBNB it takes about and hour drive to Bagby Hotsprings https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagby_Hot_Springs .... this place was amazing. 

 

It's about a mile and half hike in with a 300ft elevation gain. The kids did great. This hike is unbelievably beautiful. We have hiked all over the world and this has to be one of the tops! 

 

There are quite a few bridges and every once in awhile you would pass a fairy ring with glittery and shinny things. The kids loved it. 

Tiny little waterfalls in every direction. Phorest loved these. 

 

When we finally reached our destination it was time to soak! There wasn't too many people this time, although I have read that it can be over crowded and you can wait awhile. There are private tubs and big tubs. The rule is 45 minutes and required clothes in the giant shared tub. Although, there are some who choose not to follow them. 

 

What is neat about this hot spring is that you are able to drain the water and add fresh new water. The one downfall is that the water is too hot to just jump in. You'll need to take buckets of cold water from the creek to cool it off. A bit fun!

 

What an absolutely relaxing day. I love spending time with the people I love in the place I love ( the forest).

 

My husband knows how to spoil me that's for sure. We were hungry and only about 45 minutes to Portland so we decided to grab some food. We ended up at the recently opened Jack Rabbit http://www.gojackrabbitgo.com/

This place is cool. Caters to kids although fancy. I have to say it was my first time eating pig's feet and duck liver. Man, it was good. 

 

As we drove home the kid's talked about all the fun adventures they had. They couldn't wait to share the peacock feathers at school and tell the kids about a magic hot tub in the middle of the forest. It was so neat to follow the horizon and see the pink sunset behind it. Now, I call that a great Mother's Day. 

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forestNfolk - Squarespace

forestNfolk - Squarespace

Many friends have been asking for our homemade playdough recipe or should we call "dough" as little miss Willow would.i actually have it memorized so I thought why not jot it down. So here ya go:

2 cups boiling water

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

3 tablespoons cream of tarter 

2 tablespoons of olive/ avacodo oil... or whatever you got

option : food coloring 

Optional: I tablespoon peppermint, lemon, vanilla extract : but be careful littles might want to eat it! 

I like to add our flour slowly whiling stirring, but there's no wrong or right way to do. Basically you throw it all together;) When the dough starts to form I throw it on the counter and kneed it like flour ( you would want to add your food coloring before hand if you choose)  and it turns out perfect. Be sure to check the tempature... don't let little play with it while it's too hot.

Well, here ya go. Have fun with your dough!