Visitors from the East

In early August, the Utah Shenks were happy to welcome Stacy P. and her kids, Reese and Quinn, for a visit. Jill and Stacy have been friends since high school and James was super happy to have playmates here for a week. Their vacation was definitely not restful, but we were determined to show them as much of Utah as we could cram into a week. The kids were great sports for being stuck in the car for hours at a time. Thank you, portable movie players!
Stacy, Reese, and Quinn with Mt. Timpanogos
We went camping over the weekend in the mountains near our house. The kids had a great time playing in the dirt and going on nature walks. 
Making a wish!
Lovely butterflies joining our hike
Leo loves being outside 
No camping trip is complete without camp food
On Sunday morning, we hiked the trail up to Timpanogos Cave National Monument and enjoyed the tour through the caves. 
The view of Utah Valley from the trail to the caves
There are so many beautiful areas here that it can be difficult to decide which ones to share with visitors. We chose to take a drive up to the Mirror Lake area and have a picnic with the kids. It was going great until the sound of unidentified wildlife growling nearby sent us hightailing it out. We still don’t know what it was, but we weren’t going to stick around and find out. Despite that adventure, the area was a hit.
Reese balances on a rock at Mirror Lake
James and Quinn prefer throwing rocks. Boys…
Provo River Falls 
James never tires of “funny face” pics
Southern Utah has a very different landscape from northern Utah, and one of our favorite places there is Moab, so we piled the kids in the car and drove the 3 hours southwest to Arches National Park. The kids didn’t seem to think the drive was worth it, but Stacy did, so that’s good. The views are always worth it for us. 
Really cool tree
James and Reese heading off to explore
An absolutely beautiful day
The ever-fearless Stacy getting a great shot from the rocks
Arches National Park in all its glory
Since we were so close, we took a brief detour over to Canyonlands National Park as well. We wished we had more time to explore the road we were on, but alas, we had to head home. Next time.
That road is calling us…
On their last full day here, we all enjoyed a train ride on the Heber Valley Railroad with lovely views of Deer Creek Reservoir and the Provo River. 
Lost in thought or just enjoying the view? 
It’s always a great day for a train ride
We are so grateful to Stacy, Reese, and Quinn for sharing their vacation time out here with us, and can’t wait to do it again! 
Stacy, Reese, and Quinn at Bridal Veil Falls

For more pictures, check out Stacy’s blog at