She says: After the drive through the Mountains of Colorado we entered Utah (land of the National Parks). The first National Park we came to was Arches. The drive in was beautiful. John kept stopping to take pictures and I never thought we were going to get there. He thinks he is a professional photographer..my dad is the same way. Something about having big cameras…it’s definitely a man thing. I just point and shoot with my little Cannon that fits in my pocket and seem to do alright. Needless to say we got there in the evening so we set up for the night and planned our hikes for the next day. We had a nice campfire and admired the stars overhead. It was awesome- it felt like we were in a planetarium with the amount of stars and how close they seemed. Arches was a pretty neat park. We did a long hike in the morning and a couple short ones during the day. I was amazed at the little kids doing these hikes. Some parts were large drop offs with narrow walkways and no containment at all. Oh to be a kid again and have no fear.. After the day in Arches we set off for Canyonlands National Park where we didn’t do a lot of hiking but drove through and went to all the view points…also very beautiful. John said it was like Grand Canyon but on a smaller scale. The only bad part was all the bugs..UGH our car was covered in them, it was pretty crazy. We ended up stopping in a small town called Green River and set up our tent at a state park. We took a shower, did some reading and hit the sack.
We got up early the next morning and headed to Capitol Reef National Park. We did a couple small hikes here and took off towards Bryce. Bryce was AMAZING, if you have never been, GO! I guess I really enjoyed Bryce because it was completely unexpected and like nothing I had ever seen before. They had these rock formations called “hoodoos” that were a sight to see. I couldn’t get enough of them. The first night I took John to his first Rodeo. He had never been..haha. The next morning we went on a 8 mile hike–last 3 miles completely uphill, it was a workout let me tell ya! It was a great hike, so much so J and I had to take a nap afterwards :). Well this was after a great lunch and draft beer we got at the lodge. We have started to reward our long hikes with cold draft beer. I think it’s a good incentive 🙂
We planned an evening hike for the night so after we were all rested we got ready to go at it again. The night hike was only 3 miles, but it was the most unique hike I had been on. It was full of little coves you walked through and high orange cliffs. As far as scenery goes, this one probably ranks #1 so far. It’s called the Queens Garden/Navajo trail. We came back to camp, made some dinner and drank a bottle and half of red wine by the fire. It was an absolutely perfect day!
Off to Zion. Since it was July 4th we stopped at the small town Kanab in hopes they may have a parade or something…and boy did they have a parade. The streets were packed with people. We grabbed our chairs and enjoyed the show. We got some lunch at a really great restaurant in the middle of town and then drove to Zion. It was another amazing park. We wish we had longer to explore but we had reservations in Vegas so only got to spend one night there. It was hot so the first thing we did was go for a swim in the Virgin River. Then we went off exploring. We tried to do as much as possible but couldn’t get it all in one day. We will be back Zion. We made a delicious dinner for a change at our camp. Usually we eat tuna and baked beans…this night we made mango jalapeno chicken sausages and corn on the cob. It was a gourmet dinner for us and we were in heaven. We made some friends that were camping across from us and invited them over for dinner but they had already eaten, more for us!! Later, they invited us over for some adult beverages and a lil music. Like us they were on a road trip but heading to Montreal so we had a lot to talk about. The party got dampened by a late night thunderstorm but they had some good suggestions for Cali which we are definitely going to check out.
Wow what a week, and what beautiful things we saw. We are already planning a return trip despite the crappy liquor laws of Utah. Okay Vegas with no liquor restrictions whatsoever, here we come!!
He Says: Driving west on 70 into Utah was absolutely beautiful. You don’t even have to be in a national park to appreciate the amazing scenery. Just driving on the road is awe-inspiring in itself….maybe more so for me which was driving TB crazy since I had to stop and take pics every 5 minutes. Oh well, no rush right?
I would recommend going to all of these parks to everyone (Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion). If you have the time, take AT LEAST two weeks to do all of them. We’ll definitely be going back in the future and spending much more time at each and hopefully do some back country hiking/camping.
On a side note, we’re starting to realize that many more foreigners enjoy our national parks than Americans. While I think it’s great that people come from all over the world to enjoy our parks I wish more Americans would realize they have some amazing things to see in their own “backyard”.
Next stop, Sin City. 🙂