Violet and I have been so busy, we've been to the Salt Lake City doll show, out to tea, we played in the woods, and I'm even teaching her all the naughty words I know in Russian. Tyotya Jess thinks I'm only teaching Violetka new verbs, but sometimes I tell her a bad word, and when she learns it we laugh and laugh.
The weather is crazy here, worse than NYC or Ukraine! One day it is snowing all over my head and freezing cold, and the next day it is clear and warm.
Violet has been wanting to show me around downtown Salt Lake City so she can get her next badge in girl scouts. Anyway, Violet needed to get her "Tour Guide" badge, and finally it was nice weather, so we went to Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. All the flowers were in bloom and there were brides galore! Every few minutes I saw another one, until finally Violence started counting, she said there were 16! Holy Hot dogs that is a lot of brides.
Then we saw the temple itself! It was so big and tall! I was surprised. Violet and I couldn't go inside because we are not members of the LDS Church. I wonder what it looks like inside!
The very next day it was time for me to go home to New York. Violet gave me a big hug. It is so hard to be best friends who live on opposite sides of the country! We chat on the phone a lot, but we don't see each other very often. I wish I knew when I would see Violet again!
On the drive home to Violet's house from Canyonlands, we stopped at Newspaper Rock. Newspaper Rock is a flat rock with one of the largest known collections of petroglyphs, like a newspaper! Neat, huh? Violetka and I thought so!
We also stopped at Wilson Arch. Arches are formed when wind hits the soft sandstone and carves it. It was so cool! Then, it was time to get back on the road to Salt Lake City. What a great mini-trip!
On the morning of our last day at Canyonlands, it was pretty chilly! We kept our jackets on while we took our toys out to play in the space-like park. Ice Bat was really excited to see Canyonlands!
Doesn't Ice Bat look happy?
Violet and I played that Cheburashka and Ice Bat had been sent to explore the planet Mars! The little holes in the rock were perfect little caves for our toys.
I had the best time playing with Violet and our toys. I know that day will always be one of my most special memories.
Doesn't Cheburashka look a little hesitant to be exploring Mars? I think Ice Bat is comforting him.
Soon, it was time to walk- or climb- back to the campsite so we could go turn in our Junior Ranger books!
Violet and I sat in the sun to check our work on the Junior Ranger booklets. I think we got it all right, but it would be up to the ranger to check our work!
The last step to becoming Junior Rangers was to go on another hike. This time, we chose the Cave Springs trail. We had to climb a ladder. Cool!
When you hike on rock it is sometimes hard to see the trail, so these stacks of rocks, called cairns, mark the trail.
If you were to get lost, it is hard to find the trail again because everything looks the same!
After the hike it was time to go back to the visitors center and become Junior Rangers! We had to take an oath, tell about our favorite parts of the park, and show our completed activity book.
We had passed the test with flying colors! Violet and I each received our own Junior Ranger badges. Hurrah! Sadly, that meant it was time to head back from the park. It was a fantastic visit! I hope I get to come back someday!
At the campsite, we settled in for one of DyaDya Ethan's famous dutch oven dinners. Yum! We had hot dogs and water too. Food cooked on a campfire always tastes extra delicious.
The sunlight was so golden that I had to take a pretty picture of Violet. We had put on warm jackets because it gets chilly at night!
We took a little walk around the campground. Everything looked so beautiful in the golden light. Don't we look tiny in the wild landscape? As the sun set, we headed back to the campsite.
It was time for s'mores! We roasted marshmallows and smushed them into little sandwiches with chocolate on graham crackers. Yum!!
It was a great celebration for Yuri's Night! Yuri's Night is a special holiday that celebrates Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. He was Russian, like me! We ate so many s'mores that we felt a little bit gross. Finally, we grabbed our lovies (Ice Bat for me, Cheburashka for Violetka) and climbed into our sleeping bags.
After we checked in at the Visitor's Center, stamped our National Park passports, and picked up our Junior Ranger booklets, it was time to get going! We decided to hike. Hurrah!
Does Canyonlands look a bit like Mars? The water features are ephemeral pools, or potholes. You have to be very careful not to disturb them because all kinds of little creatures live in them! The ephemeral pools form tiny little ecosystems. Cool!
Our hike was great. Violet and I both wore our special Junior Ranger outfits of hiking sandals, cargo pants, and t-shirts! I even carried our water and snacks in my backpack. We worked hard to follow the motto "Take only pictures, leave only footprints!"
Canyonlands is so beautiful! The colors are so bright and wonderful. It was such a difference from New York City! Even better, I got to experience it with Violetka, my best friend in the whole world!
Violetka took this photo of me in front of the red red rocks. So far, Canyonlands is the most beautiful place I have ever been!
Violetka and I sat down to rest a lot. We ate string cheese and granola bars. Violet and I agreed that hiking in Canyonlands is the best way ever to spend an April day!
As we hiked back to our campsite (that's right, we camped!), we found some cactus! Wow!! The funny thing is, we have cactus back in New York City at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. My grandma and Mama are from New Mexico, so I have seen cactus there as well. Still, it was fun to see cactus in Canyonlands!
We hiked and hiked! We had to scramble up the rocks in some parts! It was totally fun.
Have you ever been on a long hike in a new place? What was it like?
Hello hello! I am having a great time in Utah. On my first night, Violet and I stayed up late talking. Violet has a great bedroom! We cuddled with our lovies and discussed all the important things that best friends have to discuss when they see each other.
Finally, we fell asleep. I knew we were going on a special adventure the next day, so all my dreams were filled with fantastic ideas of what it could be!
The next morning we drove and drove and drove! After LOTS of driving, we saw a sign!! Violet and I got out and jumped up and down. We were at Canyonlands National Park! Hurrah!!
Canyonlands was so beautiful. The red, red rocks were everywhere and the ground was red too! The sky was blue blue blue! I knew Violet and I would have an amazing time.
Did you know Tyotya Jess and Dyadya Ethan have been helping Mama plan a trip for me to visit them in Utah? And that means I get to visit my friend Violetka too! Mama said I had a surprise coming, but I had no idea it was a trip across the country.
I haven't really ever traveled alone before, but I wasn't scared, Violetka told me all about it when she visited me last year. When I finally got to Utah Violet was so happy to see me, she just kept hugging me and hugging me.
And guess what else? We are going to go camping this weekend, it is a good thing I brought my sleeping bag. Violet says Southern Utah is the prettiest place in the world. I told her the most awesome was Ukraine, but she just smiled, and said that is because I haven't seen Southern Utah yet.
Here I am on Dyadya Ethan and Tyotya Jess's doorstep-