Not your everyday religion

Finally came a day when there was plenty of time for what we have planned – driving home. Actually, we had so much time that we decided spend some in Salt Lake City to see the famous Mormon Temple. Two girls gave us a tour and confirmed the fact that we were too sinful to be allowed inside the temple. We couldn’t see the interior of the Assembly Hall either (there was something going on inside), but they took us in the small visitor room of the Tabernacle.

It was about a year ago during our relocation from Virginia to Washington that we were supposed to drive along I84 and we decided to take the Payette River Scenic Byway through Idaho instead. After driving up on I84 – boring – we concluded that changing the route last year was a good decision.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6

This is part of our trip to several canyons: Bryce Canyon | Zion Canyon | Grand Canyon – South Rim | Grand Canyon – North Rim | Lake Powell | Needles District in Canyonlands | Arches | Bridges and Capitol Reef | Salt Lake City

Related posts:

Nothing special

We chose to follow route 95 to Capitol Reef because it was going through Glen Canyon Recreation Area and we expected to see some spectacular views. While driving, we realized that Natural Bridges National Park is also on the way. Due to a spontaneous decision, we spent about an hour looking at a few natural bridges from some distance. Good thing we didn’t plan a full day to see the park!

After stopping a little to see the Colorado River from the bridge on 95 and from the Hite Overlook, we drove straight to Capitol Reef. We had lunch in a really scenic picnic area, then drove along the Capitol Reef Road all the way to Capitol Gorge. On the way back we walked the Grand Wash Trail and went through the Narrows without realizing where they were – we figured them out when we returned. The Cohab Canyon trail was a little better, at least we can brag about hiking, not just walking. About an hour before the sunset we drove next to the Castle and Chimney Rock, then hiked to the Sunset Point. The sunset was not spectacular – just good enough to end a not very spectacular day.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

This is part of our trip to several canyons: Bryce Canyon | Zion Canyon | Grand Canyon – South Rim | Grand Canyon – North Rim | Lake Powell | Needles District in Canyonlands | Arches | Bridges and Capitol Reef | Salt Lake City

Related posts:

Big stones with big holes

The strategy of driving all the way to the end of the park was not as successful as other times – the parking lot at the Double Arch trailhead was completely full. After turning around and – finally – finding a parking spot, we started touring the arches. The trail was very busy for the first part and stayed busy for the most accessible arches (Tunnel, Pine Tree, and Landscape). Following the guidance from the Visitor Center, at Landscape Arch we went counter-clockwise on the Primitive Trail. For quite a while we seemed to be some of the very few people on the trail. While having lunch – very close to the Double O Arch – we decided that we weren’t interested in the Dark Angel (mostly because of lack of time). We closed the loop after seeing Black, Navajo, Partition, and Wall Arches.

Next we stopped at a few attractions which were visible from the parking lot: The Fiery Furnace (where you need a guide or a special permit to hike), the Balanced Rock, and the Garden of Eden. A few other spots were concentrated along a short hike: the North and South Windows, Turret Arch and the Double Arch. The highlight of the day, however, was the Delicate Arch. We got there in about half an hour, right on time for front-row seats during the sunset spectacle. Lida was convinced that she witnessed the most beautiful thing of her life. I think that people who didn’t see the Delicate Arch at sunset cannot claim visiting Arches.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

This is part of our trip to several canyons: Bryce Canyon | Zion Canyon | Grand Canyon – South Rim | Grand Canyon – North Rim | Lake Powell | Needles District in Canyonlands | Arches | Bridges and Capitol Reef | Salt Lake City

Related posts:

No need for a haystack to find needles

It may seem that we had put the highlights of our trip behind. For Canyonlands National Park we scheduled only one day, even though we knew that there was no way to visit all its three districts: Island in the Sky, Needles and Maze. For some not very clear reason, we decided for Needles, even though Island in the Sky appeared to be more popular. We knew we took the right decision after getting into the park and being told that Island in the Sky resembled a lot the Grand Canyon. Nevertheless, when we heard that we can see the Island in the Sky in the distance from the Slickrock Foot Trail, we decided to check it out.

The trail itself was not very interesting, but it taught us how to look for the piles of rock marking it. Since most of the trail was rocky, finding a different way to mark it would had been difficult. Walking on the rocks didn’t give us many opportunities to hide from the sun, but some friendly clouds helped a little. All along the way we noticed rock formations resembling mushrooms with white caps and red stems. We were walking on top of white rock, which erosion will eventually transform into the cap of other mushrooms. What we thought was Island in the Sky was very distant and we cannot claim we have an idea of how it really looked like.

Thinking that we were on our way to Elephant Hill, we ended up at the Confluence Overlook trailhead, where we just took a few pictures and moved on. Curiosity made us walk the Pothole Point Trail, which was a really bad decision. Finally we got close to the Elephant Hill, right at the Chesler Park trailhead, where we had lunch in a beautiful setting.

Unexpectedly, Chesler Park Trail was the most beautiful trail we’ve hiked during this vacation. Initially we were hoping to make it to the Joint Trail, but after reaching Chesler Park we realized that we risked spending the night somewhere on the trail if we wouldn’t return. This was such a beautiful place that we decided to come back and hike all the trails around Chesler Park. We got back from the trail when the sunset colors started to show up. We could only complain about the lack of a place that would take your breath away at sunset.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

This is part of our trip to several canyons: Bryce Canyon | Zion Canyon | Grand Canyon – South Rim | Grand Canyon – North Rim | Lake Powell | Needles District in Canyonlands | Arches | Bridges and Capitol Reef | Salt Lake City

Related posts:

Some massive rocks

We started the tour of Zion National Park in its Northwest side, called Kolob Canyon. I wish somebody advised visiting Kolob Canyon in the afternoon to avoid looking at the sun the whole morning. Even after hiking the Timber Creek Overlook trail, the sun was still in our faces. This part of the park should look much better in the afternoon.

Once getting through the South entrance, we used the same plan as in Bryce: we took the shuttle all the way to the end of the road (no private vehicles allowed along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive) and hopped off at each shuttle stop on the way back. At Temple of Sinawana we joined many other tourists on the Riverside Walk up to the point where you need to go through water if you want to get closer to the Narrows.

The Weeping Rock trail is steeper, but much shorter and takes the visitor to (surprise!) a weeping rock. The tourist lacking an umbrella (and how many of them carry one?) definitely gets wet when getting close to the rock. However, this feels amazingly good, especially if the sun is too friendly (as it was in our case).

Taking the Angels Landing trail was very tempting but not feasible, so it got on the “to do” list for the next time. Instead we took the Emerald Pools trail, which kept us both in a breath-taking ambiance and (luckily) away from the sun. The only disappointments were the actual pools, which could not be qualified as emeraldish by any stretch of imagination.

After getting back in our car, we drove East on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. Right after the tunnel we stopped to hike the Canyon Overlook Trail. Again, I wish I knew that the viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the canyon earlier in the day. At the time we reached it, the sun was shining right in our faces, making it very difficult to enjoy the panorama.

Despite the small disappointments, Zion became my favorite canyon, while Lida kept Bryce on top of her list. On the way to our next hotel, while each of us was trying to prop their choice, we both expected that the Grand Canyon tour during the following days would bring some changes in our preference lists.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

This is part of our trip to several canyons: Bryce Canyon | Zion Canyon | Grand Canyon – South Rim | Grand Canyon – North Rim | Lake Powell | Needles District in Canyonlands | Arches | Bridges and Capitol Reef | Salt Lake City

Related posts:

Finding some hoodoos

Nothing like a long drive in the night, haunted by the thought that if you don’t make it to Provo by 2 am there won’t be anybody to give you the hotel room key… Especially after you realize that Utah is not in the Pacific, but Mountain time zone, so you lose one hour just by crossing the state border. But we made it a little bit after 1 am and we even got a few hours of sleep.

We still had a few hours of boring drive to Bryce Canyon. Boring with one exception: a few miles before Bryce, the Red Canyon offers a short and amazing preview. We drove all the way to Rainbow Point, which is the end of the park. We hiked (or better said walked) the Bristlecone Loop Trail, which took us close to Yovimpa Point. For the rest of the day we did mostly what regular tourists do: get in the car, drive to the next view point, get out of the car, look, take pictures, then repeat. Below there is at least one picture from every viewpoint we stopped at, so I will not make a list here. Suffice to say that we liked Bryce point the most.

After seeing almost all the viewpoints, we decided it was the time to hike down in the canyon. We left the car at the Sunset point and took the shuttle to the Sunrise point. While hiking to the Queens Garden, we realized how impressively big those hoodoos really are. It is a feeling you get only if you get close to one. We continued on the Navajo trail and climbed out of the canyon at Sunset point along the Wall Street. After admiring the sunset, we drove all the way to Cedar City to our next hotel.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

This is part of our trip to several canyons: Bryce Canyon | Zion Canyon | Grand Canyon – South Rim | Grand Canyon – North Rim | Lake Powell | Needles District in Canyonlands | Arches | Bridges and Capitol Reef | Salt Lake City

Related posts: