Friday, October 7, 2016

NZ Reunion in Zion!

As most of you know, 10 years ago I went on a 4 week-long trip to New Zealand with 41 strangers from across the US and Canada. On that trip, I met 5 girls who were just my tribe, you know? Just awesome girls that I loved and got along with so well. A couple of shots of us together in NZ:

(One of the cabins we stayed in during the environmental conservation portion of the trip)

One of my favorite shots is this one from the very first day on the trip. Our giant group walked down to the local beach, and at some point we just grabbed whoever was standing nearby and snapped a picture. What a coincidence that we just happened to grab the exact 6 that would become so close later!

Our group has gotten together about 6 or 7 times since that trip as little reunions, sometimes for a wedding. We've done Phoenix a few times, Chicago, Napa and San Diego. For our 10 year reunion, we decided to up the ante a little and do something outdoorsy as a nod to the trip that brought up together. So after some deliberation, we decided on Zion National Park in Utah!

After some flights and some driving, we arrived at our rental house just outside of the park (as opposed to staying in a lodge in the park or something). While it did mean a 30 minute drive in and out each day, the view was gorgeous and it meant we had unbelievable seclusion and awesome views. We planned our day around the ability to sit on the porch for our morning coffee and cocktails in the evening!

After the drive into the park, we parked the car and took a shuttle up into the canyon (during high traffic months, they don't allow cars into the canyon and you must take the shuttle).

Then it was time for our hike! 

If I had to describe this hike in one word, other than 'beautiful,' it would be 'up.' As in, I felt like I was climbing up for 2 miles. And not just like a gradual switchbacks, burning muscles and the relentless sun.

But it was so fun to be with these girls and really great to catch some incredible views.

We started a part that was so steep that chains had been driven into the cliff to allow people to hold onto. Right next to where I took this photo, there was a sign cautioning people to be careful of the cliff off to the right since 6 people had died there since ... 2012? I think?

Anyway, we went up a bit, but eventually we all turned back and ate our snacks on the top of this little bluff.

Our delicious dinner and drinks on the patio looking up at these mountains was so good, and felt well-earned!

Part II coming next... I could not bring myself to cram all these photos into one post!

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