When we say park hopping for this episode, we mean fast and furious park hopping. As a full-time travel family, it’s EXTREMELY important to do as much as we can when Dad takes an entire week off from his work. Of course, that whole week it was scheduled to rain….in the desert, go figure:( We didn’t stay very long in these national parks, so bear with us here as we go through these parks and move on to the West Coast!
Bryce Canyon was an amazing park! The hoodoos and sculptures were so tall, standing tall like trees of rock. The switchbacks to go down into the canyon were a breeze, but on the way up, we seemed to have forgotten about the switchback part….that and the fact that it was a very steep incline at a higher altitude than what we’re used to. After about 20 breaks and 45 min. of burning lungs later, we made it to the top, got some ice cream for our effort, and marveled at how beautiful the canyon was.
Arches NP was unique in it’s own special way. Simply put, there was a lot of red rock. At that point, we had been in the desert for quite some time, so for us Arches would have been super cool if we hadn’t been a little weary of the terrain. Don’t misunderstand me, the arches were quite fascinating; it just wasn’t my cup of tea. The two things that really put in that wow factor for us was the thought that the arches that we saw may not be there in a few years (maybe months!) from now; they were so fragile. The ground also looked like someone had sprinkled teal food coloring on it; anyone have any idea why the ground was blue?!
Fun Fact: there actually was an arch that collapsed recently. In 2008, the Wall Arch on the Devil’s Garden trail collapsed overnight. A huge chunk of Landscape Arch almost fell on some hikers walking underneath it in 1991. Of course, the trail was then deemed too risky and the Park Service shut it down, feeling grateful no one was injured!
After leaving Arches, we decided to stop by Canyon Lands National Park to see what it was all about. It was close, so why not, right? We took a short hike that lead to a view of the canyon under Mesa Arch. It was I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E! Even though we only got to do one hike, the scenery and views we got were outstanding, so THIS was a park we marked as coming back to! In my opinion, better than the Grand Canyon, but you’ll just have to visit and see for yourself:)
Capitol Reef was incredible, but not necessarily for the rock forms. We took a hike through what was once a pioneer wagon trail road. On the enormous walls lining the canyon were hundreds of names of pioneers and their wagon trains! Some of the names were so high up on the walls, we sat just trying to figure out how the heck they got up there?? I really enjoyed hiking this park, even though we didn’t stay for long. We took a nice trail through the canyon, and got some incredibly amazing pie and cinnamon rolls. Yes, it may seem that we can sniff out good food anywhere, but if you remember from our last post…we don’t eat in national parks. Why, then, eat here? Well, in Capitol Reef, there was a group of Mormons who settled in what is now called Fruita (which is in the NP) and planted fruit trees. The homestead, called Gifford Homestead, has been preserved and the NPS sells baked goods and other treats from the historic site. When we found out that there was a little historic store that sold pies in the old settlement, well, we had to see what this was all about. The fruit pies and cinnamon rolls were a real tasty treat, and we enjoyed a nice picnic before venturing deeper into the park. If you look real close at the picture of the wall you can see the names on it.
Next post (coming sooner than y’all think) will be our trek to Colorado and the final stop in Phoenix for Dad’s impending business trip! Thank you for reading and we’ll be back with more adventures soon!