In 2004, Tom and his family came to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort for a family reunion. This past Tuesday he brought his family back here after spending a few nights in the Grand Canyon. They’ve rented one of our vacation homes through Saturday morning, when they return to their home in Corpus Christi, Texas.
After watching Tom with his family, especially his sons, I realized that Father’s Day is being spent here at Zion Ponderosa, just a week earlier than what’s on the calendar. Not only was it wonderful to see them participate in the various adventure activities here, but it’s been a privilege to tag along on a couple of their excursions. I was never without a photo opportunity that included smiles, laughter, and pride of a father for a son.
Instead of tagging along one of our horseback trail rides yesterday, Kourtney, one of our Adventure Activities Guides suggested I go to the rifle range with a small group. We piled in one of the shuttle vans and Colton, another guide and avid hunter from Mesa, Arizona, drove us to the shooting range located on one of the mountains here. I got to meet and get to know Tom and his 13 year old son, Jacob on the ride there. Tom cracked a joke about Jacob barely being out of diapers the last time they were here.
The session began with a short, detailed lesson with safety instructions before Colton set them up at the range with shotguns. I’ve been to a few trap shoots in my life, but none with such a beautiful view, silence, and a valley that the “pigeons” are thrown across. I was in awe. The interaction between the two men with Jacob kept my camera’s eye on them. Not once did it wander to the vista behind us without someone in the photo.
Colton led the two in a couple competitions – both shooting at the same pigeon, throwing out two pigeons at once, and an overall best shot. Before the last round of five shots, Tom and Jacob were tied at eight each. The end result was Tom winning by one. Maybe Jacob let him win as a Father’s Day gift.
First thing this morning I signed up to tag along on a guided ATV ride. To my surprise, it was Tom again. This time he was with his 17 year old son, Zachary. After getting permission to ride along with my camera, our guide took us through some instructions and safety guidelines before assigning us each to an ATV.
Kourtney led our private group with Zach directly behind her. She guided us on the Checkerboard Mesa ATV trail which takes us to the Zion National Park property line with a spectacular view of the east entrance to the park. She recognized Zach’s ability to handle the ATV, so she kicked it up a notch and pushed us to the next level. Tom drives a motorcycle and Zach is, well, a 17 year old young man, so no complaints or fear from either of them.
On the final part of the ride, Tom and Kourtney discussed a photo opportunity. He and Zach switched places before our “final descent” where Tom was able to get some take-home shots of Zach riding down and up through the trail. What a great memory to have and to keep – for all of us. I thank Tom and his sons for making memories with us and for letting me witness it. It makes me wish that my dad were here at Zion Ponderosa to spend Father’s Day with me!