Besides the later wedding of Granny Carol and now-Grandpa Doyle in early August, the highlight of our 2008 summer was the four or five days we spent in southern Utah at the "Rockin' R Ranch" outside of Antimony, Utah (population 78). The rooms were only fair, but the food was made for us and good, the setting in southern Utah was spectacular, and there were loads of fun activities for families to do all day long. These included a small pond with a zipline over it, foosball and crafts, tubing down a long stretch of the Virgin River, and animal activities of all kinds. Overall, the chance to ride horses by themselves was the best thing for the older kids. Here are photos of Adam in action on a horse of his very own:
Horse-riding was probably the highlight for Emma also (and notice the great used cowgirl boots she picked up in the ranch commissary for only $10), though she also had fun one night learning how to country line-dance with the older ranchhands and guests.
Erin has been riding horses since she was young and knows what she's doing. That also means that she usually got the toughest, most ornery horse around whenever she was riding since the ranchhands figure she might be the only one who could tame the savage beasts.
Anna also loves animals, and the highlight of the ranch for her was the chance both to be up on her very own horse, and then to feed and talk to the animals all the rest of the time.
One day we had the chance to visit Bryce Canyon National Park, about 45 miles south of the ranch. The highlight of the day was probably a hike we took downhill from the rim about a half-mile past many of the most spectacular formations. Luckily for us, the hike was downhill both ways (not).
Sam sitting outside on the lawn outside the lodge. As hard as it is to believe, that smile is what you see on his face about 90% of his waking hours. He is one happy kid!
We also took a guided hike into the hills surrounding the ranch one day and Mark, true to form, couldn't resist raiding the town dump on the way back into town to scavenge ("rescue" he would say) a big Coke sign. Anna, not surprisingly given her genetic heritage, thought the sign was great and climbed into the back of the minivan with it one day. In the end, we decided to not keep the Coke sign, but to definitely keep the Anna.