By Abby McAllister
So...we don't blog much in the summer...that's because we're too busy being outside! Duh! I am in between trips at the moment and am struggling to get photos downloaded, sorted, edited and posted. I recently shared on FB our gallery of photos from Pinnacles NP and today got photos from Sequoia NP up. You can find the inspiration galleries for each park under our "trip reports" tab above and then under the "National Parks" tab or by clicking the green linked text above. We loved our time in California and will be posting more photos from the other parks as soon as we quit playing outdoors and find the time to get in front of the computer again!
We are excited to begin a countdown to our official Utah guide book release. Although it is already available on Amazon and doing well, we have been planning to have a special release event in March. In order to count us down to March 11th we will be posting our favorite Utah national park moments each Friday. We will feature a favorite moment from one parent (Harley or I) and one moment shared by one of our kids. Today we kick off the countdown with our Zion National Park most memorable moments!
Surprised by Unexpected Beauty
By Abby McAllister
Feeling Like An Action Movie Star!
By Kaden McAllister, age 14
The most memorable part of Zion NP for me has to have been the hike to Hidden Canyon. This particular hike took us along a really steep cliff wall. The trail was carved out of the rock or sometimes followed a narrow ledge. In some places chains had been drilled into the rock wall for you to hold on to, so you wouldn’t fall down the few-hundred-foot drop. I remember looking down and being glad of the chains! It made me feel like I was in a movie or something, hiking along that precipice. At the top of the mountain, the end of the path, there was a ravine with boulders that you could scramble over and around. We spent hours jumping over and crawling under the boulders. I also loved the view from the top. You could see all the way back to the trailhead, and see all of the people, as small as pinheads along the trail. It really let you see how far you had come. Going down was fun too because I didn’t have to work as hard as I had coming up.
By Abby McAllister
by Harley McAllister
By Abby McAllister
Let me start out with the campground itself. Nestled in the trees on a hillside rising above Coeur d'Alene Lake is Hawley's Landing campground. Boasting a horeshoe pit, it's own dock, showers, flush toilets, 42 electrical hook-up sites and 10 tent sites, this campground is a sweet little spot. There are a few other overnight stay options (info here) but I'm just going to review Hawley's for now. Even though the campground is just off the "main" road, it seemed much more remote. Instead of car noise, we heard the honking of geese and the chatter of other waterfowl. It felt private and close to nature.
The sites themselves were well spaced, clean and each had a level spot for your tent, chairs, a picnic table and fire pit. There were water spigots scattered around in most areas to make for easy access to potable water. We were camped in the loop that was the farthest up the hill, the furthest from the lake. Still, it only took moments to walk down to the waterfront where our kids enjoyed throwing rocks in the water, walking out on the docks, and trying to identify waterfowl from sight and sound. Oh, and all those trees make for great hammock hanging!
One of the main attractions of the campground for many people is it's proximity to the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. The Friends of the CDA Trail have this to say about it: "The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike path follows the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Mullan, a mountain mining town near the Montana border, to Plummer, a town on the prairie near the Washington border. More than 71 miles of paved path takes you from high mountain splendor, through the historic Silver Valley, into the chain lakes region, along the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, over the Chatcolet Bridge to Heyburn State Park, and finally climbs to the Palouse prairie: an adventure for the entire family!" Now we only did the section from the parking area near the Chatcolet Bridge to Harrison, ID but we agree that it is fun for the whole family!
You can get on the trail right out of Hawley's Landing campground but we chose to shave off two miles each way by driving the bikes to the parking area in Chatcolet. From there we headed out on the path toward an intimidating looking bridge. Because the path is along a former train route it is mostly flat. This bridge is the only part that deviated from the norm. It is intimidating to approach but it was constructed with an ingenious method of rises and rests that make it managable. If you find it to be too steep to ride, you can always dismount and walk to the top. Other than that it is smooth sailing along the banks of the beautiful Lake CDA. We rode the approximately 7 miles to Harrison on a gorgeous, sunny early spring day. The promis of an ice cream stop in Harrison spurred us on when we felt tired (mostly that just refers to me, as my boys never seem to tire out!).
To summarize: Hawley's Landing in Heyburn State Park (Idaho) is a great place to take your kids camping. Attractions like water, docks, bike paths, grassy play areas, wildlife, waterfowl, and nice campsites make this a place your kids will enjoy. And we all know, when the kids are having fun, mom and dad can relax and have fun too!
Harley & Abby McAllister
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