Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Utah Road Trip day 5

It was a very peaceful night and we were up early to hit the road!  These guys gave us a nice good-bye as we left the park . . .
We stopped at the Bryce Canyon Visitor's Center to turn in the Junior Ranger book and then we were on the road again for today's adventure.  We made a quick stop at Red Canyon State Park . . .
It was a quick drive to our stop for today at Zion National Park . . .
It was empty as we entered from the east and it quickly became very crowded.  We stopped to check out Checkerboard Mesa . . .
. . . and after that it was impossible to find a place to stop and park due to the crazy traffic and cars just parked where ever they pleased.  I was already not enjoying myself but continued.  We managed to see the Great Arch . . .
. . . but got right back into the traffic.  Ironically, I thought this was a park that did not allow car traffic in some areas and often shuts down due to crowds and parking lots being full.  The parking lots are super small so cars are just pulled off the road half way which makes it difficult to drive.  All the  hikes we wanted to do as we entered had no parking so we just drove on.  We needed to pick up the Junior Ranger book so I circled the parking lot while Colin ran inside to get it.  It was just crazy! The one great thing was we were staying at the Zion Lodge so we had a special pass to drive to the lodge that was limited to bus only transportation which was fantastic!  So we gave up and just went to the lodge to park and catch the bus to get where we wanted to go.  Our first stop was Weeping Rock . . .
As we waited for the bus, it was so nice to enjoy some signs of fall and leaves changing . . .
Then we continued to Grotto Trail where we saw a lot of deer.  We just stood back and watched them continue about their day.  I was amazed at how they could have cared less we were near by.
We headed across the road to the Lower Emerald Pools . . .
This was by far a very popular and crowded trail but glad we went . . . when you have amazing weather and beautiful views you sort of forget about all the crazy people . . .
Again, there were many trails we wanted to check out but due to some being super crowded or closed or we just were not prepared with gear; we did what was near by.  It turned out to be a perfect day for us.  There are times I forget to just slow down and enjoy the moment.
While it is beautiful at Zion National Park it is super crowded too . . . I thought since it was a weekday in November it would not be that crowded but was I wrong . . . I can not imagine the crowds in the summer.  I just happened to read that on this day in 1919 Zion became a National Park so that was pretty cool!  It was getting dark so we called it a day by checking into our room and having dinner.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Utah Road Trip day 4

It was on the road today with the final destination for today being Bryce Canyon National Park.  I am loving the cold weather and sunny skies!  It was an easy drive from Kanab to Bryce Canyon where we spend our entire day and night.
Our first stop was the Visitor's Center to watch the introduction movie and grab a Junior Ranger book.  It is always good for us to get the history of the park before we set out to explore.  We learned that hoodoos have a cap rock and once it is broken the hoodoo will begin to erode.  Erosion and weathering is changing Bryce Canyon National Park each and every day.  In order to get to our first stop you had to exit the park but it was a short hike to Moss Cave.  First we got to see hoodoos . . .
. . . and then Moss Cave . . .
It was back into the park.  Bryce Canyon National Park is an easy park to visit in a day.  There are a lot of areas to pull off and see the views.  Several of the trails we wanted to hike were closed due to recent fires or damage so we enjoyed what we could.  We stopped at all the viewpoints but enjoyed some more than others. 

Natural Bridge . . .
Rainbow Point . . .
I guess you need to be warned about the obvious . . .
Colin made a friend too . . . he loves ravens!
Agua Canyon . . .
Bryce Point . . .
 
It was time to check in at the Bryce Canyon Lodge . . .
Colin finished the Junior Ranger book while I enjoyed the porch.
It was nice hung out in the room with no TV and very limited wi-fi which was a great way to get ready for tomorrow's adventure!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Utah Road Trip day 3

Wow it is cold today.  Of course we have a morning outside tour scheduled so hopefully the sunshine makes us forget how stinking cold it really is outside!  I booked a half day tour with Dreamland Safari Tours to visit two places.  These places require a 4x4 vehicle to get to them and well I am not an experienced driver in a 4x4 so the tour was my only option.  Since it is winter we were the only two people on the tour so it ended up being a private tour which was awesome for us!  Our first stop was to Peekaboo Slot Canyon.  So after riding with our guide to get there I can so see why you need a 4x4 vehicle.  The tour was worth every penny just so I didn't have to drive . . . that in its self was an adventure!  So we arrived at Peekaboo Slot Canyon . . .
Some times I forget to look up . . .
It was back in the 4x4 for a stop at White Wave.  We climbed to the top . . .
. . . and wandered around.  Colin played and had fun even though if you ask him I am sure he was bored.  We saw some petroglyphs . . .
. . . and then you see graffiti that someone decided needed to be etched with history!
It was fun to try to figure out what they might have been trying to communicate.  Our lesson of the day was the difference between pictographs (images painted usually in caves or areas protected from the elements) and petroglyths (images carved or scratched in stone).  We enjoyed hiking around and enjoying the views
It was back to the hotel to grab a quick lunch and head out to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  Colin was so excited we were finally going to do something fun.  Of course we had a problem . . . the ranger station was closed which meant we could not rent a sled.  So we drive back to Kanab.  I stopped at the visitor's center and the lady was insistent that no one in town sold sleds that you could only rent them at the park.  I immediately took it as a challenge and went to the grocery store and found half a dozen different sleds.  So back to the sand dunes we went with our $12 neon orange sled.
About this time Colin made the comment sledding is a lot of work and not much reward!
I laughed but back up the hill he went over and over and over . . .
 . . . and down again!  Apparently there was enough reward to keep doing it.
I continued to stand around and be bored but enjoyed the scenery while he seemed to be having a blast and wearing himself out.
He gave up on trying to slide down with the sled.  Off came the pants legs and shoes and he had the best time just running around going crazy!
The moon was out so we knew we had to get back to town before dark but had fun with some pictures . . .
The walk back to the car was painful . . . sand is so hard to walk in, but we got back and had at least a gallon of sand in our shoes and pockets and just about every crack of our body.  While it was a huge pain in the end it was worth it.  Of course someone was starving and insisted we go back to Vermillion 45 . . . no complaints from me.  As we arrived back in town I was considering stopping back at the visitor's center to donate the sled but decided to just let it go!  We quickly changed because we still had sand coming from every inch of our clothing.  A quick walk to Vermillion 45 where Colin ordered the most awesome looking filet mignon which he ate before I could snap a photo.  It was at least 3 inches thick and cooked perfect.  I ordered Beef Bourguignon which was very good . . .
We decided to end our meal by sharing three scoops of gelato; espresso, chocolate, and cinnamon.  The cinnamon was amazing!