We followed family tradition this year by taking 5 of our 22 grandkids, ages 10 through 13, on a trip through the American West. My Mom and Dad began the tradition, showing their grandchildren the majesty of our country and teaching them about the sacrifices and character of the pioneers. We visited Goblin Valley, Spooky Gulch, Peekaboo Slot Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce National Park, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Rainbow Arch, Grand Canyon, and the four falls in the Havasupai Reservation. All totaled, we hiked over 50 miles: quite a feat for the young—and for Ann and me.
With the grandkids a captive audience, we taught them about their own ancestors: Ann’s side played instrumental roles in the foundation of the country, including William Bradford and Grover Cleveland. Mine were key to the establishment of our Church and the settlement of the American West.
The adventures were more than we had planned, with unexpected obstacles during our nine hour hike down the Subway trail of Zion National Park, a breathtaking descent to Mooney Falls in the Havasupai Reservation, and a very close encounter with a rattlesnake.
We came away more appreciative of the landscape God gave us, of the sacrifices of the pioneers, and of the comforts of air conditioning and home cooked meals!
We were also sobered by the tragic events in Ukraine and Israel. True is the principle that guided America’s founders: united we stand, divided we fall. As we experienced the grandeur of the West, our hearts went out to those millions in the world who suffer.