Bob and I must be gluttons for punishment. Despite freezing our tails off in Bryce on Friday, we went back for more — and upped the ante — by getting up at 5:30 on Saturday morning and heading back to watch the sun rise.
The early hour did not improve the temperature. The car’s thermometer read 25 degrees as we headed into the park. Since our children were still sleeping warmly in their beds, I borrowed Nadia’s jacket (which I judged to be the warmest) as an extra layer. It didn’t seem to help much. There was snow visible on the path and topping the many hoodoo rock formations.
But we joined a small group of intrepid tourists at Sunrise Point (conveniently named by the National Park Service so you don’t need to wonder where the best place to go is), shivering as the sun appeared from over a distant mountain range. This place is amazingly gorgeous at any time, but the sunrise colors in the sky and the early morning light hitting the red rock took it to another level. (Not having to listen to complaining children also helped.) We took a short hike into the canyon and vowed to return again someday.
Then, in a move sure to shock our systems, on to a five-hour car ride in the car with three kids, heading to a loud and crowded indoor amusement park in Las Vegas. Zoe has been very concerned about maximizing this part of the trip, and so actually had managed to get her sisters up and mostly packed by the time we returned to our cabin around 8am. After a quick breakfast (sadly, the Bryce Pioneer Village breakfasts do not hold a candle to the Zion Ponderosa Lodge’s breakfasts), we were on our way.
The car ride actually went pretty smoothly. During the drive to Bryce, I’d decided to approach the intermittent bickering like an anthropologist, and identified each child’s One Fatal Flaw when it came to sisterly relations. My assessment was that we have one child who never lets anything go, one who goes out of her way to provoke people when she’s bored, and one who overreacts to everything.
Sadly, this combination does not always make for harmonious family time. Imagine, if you will, a long car ride where Likes to Provoke People is seated next to Overreacts to Everything. Never Lets Anything Go doesn’t get into arguments as often, but when she does, they’re guaranteed to last for hours and rise again, phoenix-like, days or weeks later.
Between the fun that everyone was having guessing their own and others’ Fatal Flaws, and the candy that Bob doled out occasionally, good spirits mostly prevailed on the drive back to Vegas. We also had the entertainment of watching the car thermometer climb 60+ degrees over the drive. I can’t think of too many places within five hours of each other that would be as different as the cold, snowy, quiet and natural Bryce; and hot, sunny, crowded, loud Las Vegas.