School’s Out for Summer (sing it with us!)

Alice Cooper

School’s Out for Summer, baby! Thank you, Alice Cooper.

Zion NP

Zion NP

School’s out for summer and we’re leaving on a jet plane!!! Wahooo! This trip we’re traveling south to Zion National Park in Utah where we are looking forward to five days of sunshine, great hiking, awesome photography opportunities, ♥ celebrating our 24th anniversary ♥, and just relaxing.  Erin is also looking forward to some bumbleberry pie at the Bumbleberry Inn where we’ll be staying.  Not that we have any idea what a bumbleberry is.  But if it’s in a pie, it’s gotta be good, right?  We got a screaming deal on Spirit Airlines and are both flying round trip to Vegas for $193.00.  We’ll rent a car there and drive about three hours to Zion.  The five day car rental is nearly as much as the airline tickets.  Crazy!

Luckily, this trip we are packing for a trip with only one climate – HOT.  Erin’s biggest question was whether to bring any t-shirts at all or just tank tops.  She opted in favor of two t-shirts just in case a sunburn ensues, but she’s also armed with Badger zinc oxide based sunscreen, so hopefully it won’t be a problem.  We’ve been reading a lot about sunscreens lately on the Environmental Working Group’s website and how some of the chemicals they use in most sunscreens are not ideal for putting into your body.  Of course we think any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen, but we’re trying out some new brands this year that are hopefully a little better for us.  So far Erin likes the Badger brand but Jeff likes the Alba Botanicals better because it goes on more easily.


We are ready for the sun!

Below you can see what’s going in my (Erin’s) suitcase.  Clothes; swimsuit; hats; toiletries; my new Martha Stewart Living magazine (ooh, since I first wrote this, my Oprah mag and Real Simple also arrived.  Don’t tell Jeff I snuck those in, too), a new book and snacks for the plane; and shoes.  Three pairs of shoes seems a little excessive, and it is, but I’m not confident enough in myself to hike the Virgin River in just Keens; I want a little more support, so I’m taking a more sturdy pair of shoes for that.  The Tevas are for general hiking around, and I just love my Croc slip ons for summer, so I’m taking those as well.  I have one skirt I’m packing in case we want to look a little nicer to go out to dinner or whatever.  It’s actually a skort from Athleta, so I will look good hiking, too.  The jeans and sweatshirt are for the plane (it’s always freezing on airplanes) and for when we go out stargazing at night.  Of course all my clothes are rolled to save space.  (As an aside, I actually read a blog post this week where someone tested this rolling theory.  Read about their results.  It really works!)


Here’s what’s in Erin’s carry-on bag for the week. Bonkers is not coming, but he likes to think he might be invited.

It may be the first time ever there’s room left over in my bag!  There’s even enough room for my new Baggalini purse that my cousin Mary gave me.  She thought it had too many pockets and zippers.  It definitely does have a lot of compartments, but I like being able to keep everything in its own space, especially when I’m traveling.  I love that this bag has a front pocket that my point and shoot camera fits into.  I also love crossbody style of this bag.


My cool new Baggalini bag! Thanks, Cousin Mary!

Of course I am also bringing my good camera gear on this trip, but I didn’t want to bring my big camera backpack because then Jeff gets stuck carrying everything else while we’re hiking, and I don’t think that’s all that fair.  So, I’m going to try taking just my Lowepro SlingShot pack which I can fit inside a daypack and still have room for a few things.  I really want to love this SlingShot pack, but so far I don’t.  I think my biggest problem with it is that it’s really made for right handed people, and although I can adapt to that, it’s a hassle and I already have enough to think about when I’m photographing!  I probably just need to use it more, and this trip will give me a chance to do that.

camera gear

Camera gear ready to go!

Camera Gear:  my Canon 7D with a Canon 28-105mm lens, my Canon 10-22mm wide angle lens (perhaps my favorite lens of all the ones I own, actually – the quality of it is amazing), my filter pack with polarizing filters, a lens brush because it will probably be dusty there and I like to brush dust off before wiping lenses with my lens cloth, my Sea to Summit backpack cover and my Storm Jacket camera cover in case of rain, several CF cards, two extra batteries, business cards, and an emergency twenty dollar bill.  I am sure I will see some wildlife there that I want to photograph and will be sorry I don’t have my longer zoom lenses, but I decided the trade off would be worth it.  We’ll see if I feel that way when I get back!  I’m also taking my tripod.  With just these two lenses I can probably hand hold everything, but I might want to try some HDR shots this trip, and maybe even a star trail shot, and a tripod is really essential for those.

Jeff gets to carry the electronics bag in his daypack.  This is a genius idea my friend Nancy told me about.  We bought an an inexpensive make-up bag to store our electronics (Kindles, phones, and iPad for blogging) and all their assorted cordage.  These bags are generally sturdy, have a handle, and, most importantly, they have see thru compartments so you can spot the cord you need in a hurry.  It’s ridiculous how many charging components we need, but it is extremely handy to have them all in one easily accessible place.  The bright green makes this bag easy to spot in our hotel room, too!


Bag o’ electronica

Jeff also gets to carry the hiking poles which we will need for our hike in the Virgin River that goes up through the Virgin River canyon.  He read a post this week where someone described the hike as like walking on greased bowling balls in water.  Awesome.  Hence the poles and aforementioned sturdy shoes.  Also the drybag we borrowed from some friends who do a lot of rafting!  Thanks, Pat and Bob!  We’re hoping to at least keep the PB&J sandwiches dry.  This short video shows a little bit of the hike.  We are really excited about it.  I will NOT, however, be brave enough to carry my good camera gear through a river.  That is a bold move!

hiking poles

Hiking poles

Here’s the rest of Jeff’s gear:


Jeff’s clothes, etc. for Zion. Note the very important National Parks Passport. Cool kids carry these.

He is bringing just two pairs of shoes, the second of which hopefully arrived in the mail today.  Well, they did arrive.  Hopefully they fit.  (Ed. note:  they didn’t.)  He also brought three pairs of shorts, one pair of pants, 4 t-shirts, a sun protection shirt (even though he didn’t want to), swim trunks, sun hat and tie-dye bandana hat which gives him a really cool tan line.  Socks, underwear, toiletries and done.  Believe it or not, it took him about three times longer to choose his clothes for the trip than it took Erin.  True story.

So that’s what we’re taking, and what we had all packed in our two carry on bags and our daypacks.  And then we realized we’re going on Spirit Air, so it’s actually about $60 cheaper to pack in one big checked bag.  Spirit Air has some great fares, but they charge for EVERYTHING along the way, so be sure you’re a well informed traveler if you go on Spirit.  Luckily, we managed to get all the stuff from our our two bags snuggled into our one monster suitcase.  Bet you can guess who’s going to be wrestling that at the airport.  We’ll keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow us there, and look for upcoming posts with all kinds of tips and tricks for Zion and a report on the bumbleberry pie.  Hopefully there will be lots of fabulous photos, too.

Enjoy your week or your weekend!

Image of Alice Cooper: File:Alice Cooper 2011.jpg – Wikimedia


2 thoughts on “School’s Out for Summer (sing it with us!)

  1. We LOVED Zion. Be sure to take both roads in/out if the park. Both are very different and lovely. Jealous you’re doing the river hike! But go early as it gets crowded and storms (and accompanying flash flooding) are more likely in the afternoon.
    Safe travels!

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