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I could cry I’m so excited to share these photos. And it’s not just because our amazingly talented photographer managed to make ‘super-awkward-in-front-of-a-camera-me’ look good. These photos are extra special because of where they were taken. American Fork Canyon is a special location to our family. Within a few days of moving to Utah Andy and I packed Trinity (not quite 3) into the car and headed into the canyon to explore what Utah had to offer just 30 minutes from our doorstep. What we encountered had our jaws on the floor and saying aloud to one another, “I can’t believe we LIVE here!!!” We were giddy to be so close to such beauty.

The next six and a half years were spent exploring much of what Utah had to offer including all the National Parks, camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and snowshoeing readily available. Every experience was incredible. But one canyon remained dear to our hearts. We have made countless memories in American Fork Canyon as we returned again and again both for big hiking adventures and for seeking rest by the shores of the river that winds through it. I even ran my first (and only!) half marathon down the familiar curving roads of the canyon.

Mere weeks before our move to Delaware our friend Lauren came to visit. It was equally a chance to visit before we moved farther away and a chance for the San Diegan photographer to basque in the beauty of Utah’s Fall glory. Utah went out of her way to show off for Lauren. It was a spectacular week. Lauren not only graciously but enthusiastically agreed to do a photo shoot with us to capture some of our favorite spots in the canyon. A sort of commemoration of our time in Utah. And so, with an extra dose of nostalgia I share our latest set of family photos along with a few memories of the places they were taken:

We begin our journey in the spot along the river that the girls and I came to call “ours” after spending a day out of every single week there one summer. It had the perfect sandy spot by the shore to set up a picnic, dig in the mud for worms, watch for fish, and throw small rocks into the water just to hear the “plunk!” Perhaps it was fitting that Andy was running late from work and it ended up being just the three of us for this portion of the shoot because we primarily spent summer and fall days here together while he was at work:

Lauren is standing on our picnic spot to take this photo of us on the bridge where we have been known to play “Pooh Sticks.”

0004_Shaffer_9247[1]Our primary play spot:

0015_Shaffer_9352[1]Andy arrived in time to head to our favorite annual ‘Marshmallows for Breakfast,’ spot:

0051_Shaffer_9560[1]He was super psyched to take family photos with his newly grown beard. Love that guy!

0062_Shaffer_9666[1]0069_Shaffer_9682[1]He makes me laugh. A lot. I think that’s why I love this one so much. 0088_Shaffer_9759[1]0094_Shaffer_9788[1]0096_Shaffer_9802[1]See where we’re walking? Trinity has run countless loops along that path, galloping and cantering in between roasted marshmallows and sips of hot coco.0101_Shaffer_9806[1]This kid was technically still TWO when we moved to Utah. Look at her now!!0110_Shaffer_9957[1]0142_Shaffer_151[1]Best Lilly photo ever. Or as Andy likes to say, “It’s Lilly’s world and we’re just trying to keep up.”


I stand by the aforementioned laughter comment. I may be guilty of humoring him.

0171_Shaffer_444[1]0190_Shaffer_510[1]Before we lost the light we headed to Tibble Fork Reservoir where we have many memories sledding, fishing (ahem. sort of. never actually caught a thing), hiking, and the location of the start of the Half Marathon I did with my dear friend Jenny.

0205_Shaffer_653[1]0203_Shaffer_635[1]And that was our last time as a family in our favorite canyon. We look forward to many new adventures in a whole new region of the country but Utah will always have a special place in our hearts.

All photographs by Lauren Natalie Photography http://www.laurennatalie.com (Check her out. She ROCKS!!)
The lovely Lauren Bullock (or Auntie Lauren as she is known around our house)