Friday, September 9, 2011

Family Reunion in Zions

Every three years the Benson clan gets together for a blow-out of a reunion.
Before I joined the Benson fam, my family reunions were at Aspen Grove as we hoped and waited until the one day that our extended family would be big enough to fill the Family Lodge. (you must have 25 ish to get the lodge. We were never big enough.)

This reunion had more than 80 people there.
About 40 of them were under the age of 18.
I swear.

This year the reunion was at Zions Ponderosa Ranch.
It was awesome. (Thank, Aunt Mary Jane!)

{What's happening to my hand? No one can be sure.}
We roadtripped it down to Zions with Jacob's sister, Jenessa, who is seriously with child.
You might think it remiss for her to sit in the back seat.
But we sat her next to the cooler, a prime spot for a pregnant woman.

The ranch is on the east side of the park which means we turn off I-15 and go through Beaver to our final destination of Orderville.

It was late when we drove in and Orderville was full of cops.

But upon further inspection, we discovered that the cop cars were full of these....

Sexy mannequins dressed in cop gear.
It definitely fooled us the first time around.

Orderville is also the Home of the Ho-made pies. Klassy.

All 80 of us did not stay in the same place.
35-ish of our immediate family stayed in this vacation home.
This is my kind of camping.
Our place was decorated impeccably.
My favorite decor was Pig in an Apron.

The first day was marred with tragedy.
Making breakfast the first day the flipper was martyred.
I blame lack of sleep. The Bensons keep late hours that this girl is not used to.

Our place was 15 minutes outside of Zion National Park
(Did you know that it is Zion not Zions? I have been saying it wrong my whole life. I'm such a fool.)

With Matthew and Kim at the Lower Emerald Pools.

Four-wheeling with Sam and Jameson in our back seat.
They kept screaming for Jacob to go faster.

You turn around and all of the sudden it is Father and Son splits time.
They might have been egged on.

I love my birthday. I was a bit bummed that it was during the family reunion.
I'm a bit territorial about my birthday, but we found ways to make it special.
(I'm a middle child. It explains everything.)

The biggest birthday event at the reunion was skydiving on Friday.
Very hard to top.

On my actual birthday I woke up to a kitchen decorated with balloons and banners.
Jacob is the best. He supports my birthday neuroticism.

In the morning we hiked Angel's Landing.
Not my typical birthday activity but when in Rome....

To say it was hot would be an understatement.
It was at least 100 degrees and we were hiking in the middle of the day.
Not smart. To think we had a handful of degrees, and a Ph.D. among us.

Sadly, I got heat exhaustion half of the way up.
But I am committed.
I just kept saying my motto "I can do hard things" to the point that I was being mocked. (I'm talking about you, David!)
For those who do not know, Angel's Landing beautiful but strenuous hike.
It is two miles one way and the last half mile must be completed holding onto chains.
On the edge is a cliff.
Sometimes on both sides.

 It was not scary (I just jumped out of a plane. The shock value threshold is pretty high.)
But my legs started shaking because of the heat exhaustion so that was a little scary. (Read: A LOT scary.)

 Jocy, Jacob and Chris.
Jilleena. She hiked this while pregnant.
Not only is she my hero, she is pretty bad-a.

The trouble starts when you are going up and another group of hikers is coming down.
The ultimate road block.
But what is hiking without a little thrill?

But the pay off was worth it. Absolutely gorgeous.

The hiking group at the summit. Chris, Jilleena, Jocy, Me, Jacob, David.
Not pictured: JoEllen and Tanner.

This birthday was far more adventurous than most, which I fear gave Jacob's extended family a false impression that I am a total resident bad-A.

I hate to disappoint so I let them believe it. :)

We finished up the day with a round of miniature golf.
Jacob's ball launched into the water.
It made me very happy.

Gorgeous view, handsome husband.

And cake!
Thank you, Jilleena (and others who helped) to hook me up with a delicious cake and my favorite treats.
I felt very loved.

Then we came home and I took a sick day from work to recover.

Thanks, Bensons! See you in three years.


  1. That hike totally reminded me of the Dr. Suess mountains. Hope you had a great bday!!

  2. @Dani Christensen

    I kept thinking about the Yellow Mountain. At least these aren't stairs. :)


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