Do you enjoy relaxing vacations on the beach? Well, me too, but only for about 2 hours and then I have to MOOOOOVVVEEEE! At the beginning of August, my family invited Ryan and I to hike and explore the US National Parks in Utah. While I never thought I would vacation in Utah, we had a wonderful time.
After flying into Las Vegas airport, we immediately headed northeast into Zion National Park in Utah. On our first visit to the park, we were caught in a fast-moving rainstorm during a short hike. Luckily we are waterproof (just like our camera bags) and it was amazing to hear thunder roll through and echo through the canyon.
On day #2 we all suited up for the legendary hike through The Zion Narrows. We rented these ridiculous looking (but very necessary) neoprene socks/rubber shoes/walking sticks from an outfitter in town. The Zion Narrows is an out and back hike along the bottom of the Virgin River bed. At some places in the river valley, the river is only 20′ wide with 1500′ sandstone cliffs on both sides. Amazing!
Who’s that guy on the far right? Well that’s Traveling Dave! Dave is Nicki’s friend from Semester at Sea with whom she traveled with last year in South America.
On Day #3, Ryan, Dave, and I left early in the morning (the best way to avoid the 104F high temperature) for a hike to Angel’s Landing. Over 2.5 miles, we climbed 1500ft of elevation starting at the river bed. The first two miles of the hike are entirely uphill through switchbacks.
Nicki was too tired to come on the hike. Too bad because we saw her favorite celebrity–Evgeni Malkin!
The last half of a mile is very dangerous–often you have to hold onto a thick chain and the path is less than 3′ wide with a deadly drop on both sides.
On our way to Bryce Canyon, we drove through Cedar Breaks National Monument. At an elevation of over 10,000ft, the climate is much drier and cooler than what we had experienced in Zion.
On Day #4 we made it to Bryce Canyon only to learn that it is NOT a canyon at all. To be called a canyon means there is a river in the valley. No river, no canyon.
On Day #5 I punched through this wall so we could hike on the “Best three mile hike in the world” (said a sign), the Queens/Navajo Combination Loop. It was pretty great to hike through the hoodoos.
My favorite models during a scenic drive in Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon is one of the best places to stargaze, but rain kept us indoors for the night.
It was a great trip and I can’t believe that our trip went from conception to execution in less than two weeks!