National Parks Road Trip Days 5-7
Bryce Canyon

Let me start by saying a National Parks Road Trip in the Southwest is a great place to break your habit or addiction to your wi-fi toys! I have not typed up a blog due to lack of reliable signal pretty much anywhere unless you pay for a hotel. Since we are camping many nights, we are wonderfully disconnected!

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is my favorite of the 2. There were no shuttles, crowds were much lighter and the views were so much more "alive". We saw lots of mule deer and  buffalo one the way to Zion

Zion was utterly amazing, the trails are pretty much all uphill... just kidding. But since Zion is a park where you are down in the canyon you will have to climb up to see just about anything. We hiked to upper Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, Out to the Narrows and a few others. over 14 miles and we were pooped! The elevation change makes more of a difference than I thought it would and I know now I need to more than double my cardio workout in the future. They have a great shuttle system in season and the staff was very helpful! This is a wonderful refreshing place!

That night we headed over to Bryce Canyon and stayed in a Tipi - that was an adventure. In a future blog I will give you more info and photos.

Bryce is stunning, a feast to the eyes. We saw most of the canyon on a 1/2 day mule ride into the canyon. They do have a partial shuttle service but we chose to visit the viewpoints by car before and after our ride. The mule ride was way less than it would have been at the Grand Canyon and very enjoyable!

The next day we packed up and drove to and through Capitol Reef NP. The rock formations there were so very different. There are no shuttles and a relatively short drive through with overlooks. One of the best parks we have been to for back country hiking. The have wonderful fruit orchards in this canyon and the apples were in season at the U-Pick fields at $1.00 a lb! We stopped and bout home-made cinnamon roll which we split right away and 2 small pies (which we had with dinner and breakfast). Nothing like home-made pie! The cottonwood trees here are huge and driving though the park was very pleasant. It does not take but 1/2 a day if you are just passing through to drive the scenic route.

Now it was time to drive over to Arches. We arrived a couple hours before sunset so we set up can at Horse Thief Camp about 15 miles away before heading over for the evening. Lines were long getting in -It was Labor Day Weekend and ever adventurist from 3 states away converged in Moab. This place is for the wild in you. Hiking, Back country and Front country Backpacking, Rock Climbing, 4-Wheeling, and more. If it can be done, it can be done in Moab and the surrounding areas! Every viewpoint we went to was quite populated. The people there could not deter from the magnificence of the views. In your wildest imaginations you could not truly grasp the size of this place and its stone monoliths. We headed to camp after dark and were greeted by more stars than I had ever seen in on place ever before in my life. Rob and I spent time just sitting in awe of the beauty of the Milky Way as it stretched along the sky right above our tent. We woke at sunrise and headed back to Arches to hike out to Delicate Arch and many others we did not get to the day before. We have so many photos to sort though and links will be added to this blog once we have them uploaded. We had a fun visit and a late lunch (The Burgers was just fantastic!)at a great dinosaur exhibit at Hwy 313 before heading back to camp and to check out Canyonlands NP. Another park where you are on your own. This park is split into two regions with 2 separate entry points. The northern part we explored first. I would advise anyone coming out here to do a  4-wheel drive tour of some sort as most of the park in not accessible by car. After a couple hours we headed back to Horse Thief Camp for sunset. We had 2 wonderful nights at that campsite for only $15 per night - way less than the hotels we have been staying at.... We enjoyed the antics of a jackrabbit and watched the sun go down before heading to bed as we were heading out early.

We rose at sunrise to break camp and head out to see the Needles at the other entrance to Canyonlands. The drive was about and hour or so and we made sure to stop at Newspaper Rock to see some amazing petroglyphs. This was a very quick stop and the drive in was beautiful. We continued traveling south and checked into a hotel in Bluff, UT. We toured Fort Bluff and learned a lot about the history of the area before heading over to 4-Corners National Monument (another bucket list items checked off my list!). Bluff is conveniently located 50 miles from both 4-Corners and Monument Valley.  We head out to Monument Valley Tomorrow!

Tonight we are staying at the Recapture Lodge. We had a wonderful dinner at the Cottonwood Steakhouse and watched sunset by the Navajo Twins Rock Formation. Links and photos to be added I must sleep. I could not ask for a more prefect trip so far!