Weeeeee’re back! So, we had a little extra time in Utah (and this maybe, MIGHT be related to the fact that we thought, like a couple of dopes, that it would be a good idea to go to Wyoming in April.) After realizing that this plan would make for a cold and disappointing time, we found ourselves with a whole extra week to spread around like so much confetti, doling out handfuls to California, Utah and Arizona.
Thus, we were able to hit Utah one more time after Arizona, before heading over to Nevada.
We made way for the last couple of National Parks on our must-see list- Bryce Canyon and Zion. We had limited time in both of them, but we were so glad we got to chance to pass through. Southern Utah taught us yet another lesson about mountain weather- the forecast for Zion was sunny and in the 60’s, but we nearly got stuck in a snowy pass en route to Bryce, and it was blustery once we got there. These Minnesotans might someday figure out that weather can vary greatly due to elevation.
We had just an afternoon in Bryce, which we took advantage of by walking a portion of the Peek-A-Boo Trail, down through the center of Bryce Amphitheater. This is the most picturesque and popular part of the park, although the signature formations can be found at several locations throughout. The landscape at Bryce were so utterly unique- it felt like walking through the Little Mermaid’s undersea palace, rendered in red rock. I swear we saw tritons and turrets tucked amongst the other pinnacles and hoodoos. We thought Bryce ought be called “The Devil’s Pipe Organ”, since it resembled The Fiery Furnace at Arches, and people have come up with an unreasonable number of Devil-related names for natural sites out west (see, The Devil’s Punch Bowl, The Devil’s Garden, Devil’s Tower, etc.)
Soonafter we were off to Zion, where we scored a last-minute campsite (and as anyone who’s tried to make a short-notice campsite reservation at a National Park in peak season will tell you, this is like striking gold).
We stayed in Zion for a couple of days, taking time to explore the giant valley from a few different vantage points. The park is truly gorgeous, yet another jewel in the NPS crown. We had heard great things about it, and it certainly lived up to its reputation.
It may be the most popular hike at Zion, but we felt like following the crowd on this one and braving Angel’s Landing. This steep hike takes you up to a spectacular view of the valley, but it includes chain-assisted sections with 1000-ft. drops on either side. So…spooky, scary! Luckily, we had beautiful weather and were (mostly) up to the task.
At the final platform before things get really crazy, Carl decided to hang back. His fear of heights didn’t jive well with the chains and uneven footing. Weirdly enough, I had anxiety about the climb before reaching the top, but felt confident once we got up there.
I continued to the top alone, but brought the GoPro for proof. You can watch a little recap of the climb below! Eek!
The Narrows, another popular hike, was closed due to weather. Slot canyons are vulnerable to flooding, especially from rain or snowmelt- the Narrows are at the northern part of Zion, where the valley walls come within feet of one another. Below, you can see the walls as close together as we were able to see.
We also explored the Emerald Pools hike, where there’s a waterfall (and, assumedly, pools more emerald in color depending on the season).
We stocked up on hummus and kombucha at the coop in Springdale (yet another cute-as-can-be spot nestled at the opening of a National Park that we regret visiting so briefly), and moved onto the town of St. George, where my aunt Martha has a house. We stayed there for a few days to catch up on rest and work. We took zero photos, but baked brownies, finally caught up with Beyoncé’s Lemonade, and generally chilled to the max. It was a great break and we are so thankful to Martha and Mike for letting us use their space!
More next on our visit to Nevada!