Hello everyone! It’s been a busy last couple of weeks as we left Arizona at the end of February to start heading our way to Utah. We stopped at St. George, Utah for a little over a week to explore the area and see friends. Here is what we did.
Bryce National Park: We debated all week if we wanted to go up to Bryce since it was a two hour drive each way and because the park is between 8,000 and 9,000 feet elevation it would be too cold and snowy to go on a hike. In the end, we decided it would be cool to see the park snow-covered. We could always return for a hike in the spring. It was twenty-five degrees out and windy when we visited but the sun and landscape made up for the weather. One side of the park is all alpine. The tall, snow-covered evergreen trees made it smell like Christmas. The other side is where the tapering, thin rock formations called hoodoos are. They are what the park is known for. Bryce is one of the darkest places in the US that one can get to by a paved road and on a clear, moonless night, the Milky Way can be seen. We already plan on returning so we can see the Milk Way, a sunrise, and go on a hike.
Red Cliff Reserve: Our friends from Washington recently moved to the St. George area and they are outdoorsy like us. They took us rappelling one day, which was a first for both Brad and me. I was a little nervous but our friends picked a perfect spot. They have been repelling for over fifteen years so we were in good hands. Brad and I both really enjoyed repelling and Brad even is talking about taking a repelling class. We will defiantly have to pick a bigger drop next time (but not too big)! We kept busy after repelling and went to Pioneer Park, Red Hills Desert Garden, and saw a black lava flow trail.
Red Reef Canyon: We visited this canyon a few times during our stay because it was so close to the campground, about a five -minute drive and there is a lot of hiking within the canyon. Our first visit we saw dinosaur tracks. It was a very quick and easy hike to the prints and the dino tracks are actually very easy to miss. If it wasn’t for a sign pointing them out one would have thought it was just the way the rock formed. Utah is known to have many areas of dinosaur fossilized footprints and this area had about fifteen.
Our friends told us about a hike within the canyon that ran along a small river and had some slot canyons and small waterfalls. The trail was easy enough and once over the river, we had to scale a small rock wall. The canyon went on and on and we tried to continue but the rock was too steep and the river level was too high so we were forced to turn around. Maybe one day we will return with our friends that know the canyon better ,but we were happy with the way the hike turned out and I got some really cool photos.
Zion National Park: Our campground was a quick 45-minute drive to Zion so we went there multiple times during the week. We went on a nature walk, saw the sunset, and one day we went to Kolob Canyon, which is the Northwest part of Zion and is not visited that often. Kolob is at 7,000 feet elevation vs. 3,000 at the main Zion entrance, which means when it’s raining at the entrance, it’s creating lots of snow in Kolob. That was when we went there. It was really cool to see the canyon all snow-covered as many people do not see it that way. We didn’t do any major hiking that day, just a small nature trail.
The big hike we did was the classic Angel’s Landing, a five-mile round trip hike with 1,500 feet elevation gain. The first two miles are paved with multiple small and large switchbacks. The last half mile is uphill on a narrow, steep, fin shaped cliff with chains to hold onto. Yikes!! We both did really well on the last part, but we were prepared not to do it if we felt too uncomfortable. The summit view revealed the expansive valley with a narrow river running through it and great views of the large, steep red cliffs that Zion is known for.
We were really tired after trekking around St. George so when we got to Provo, we rested for the weekend. We will be here for a little bit and look forward to visiting the many National Parks in this area. Both of us are super excited about being in the mountains again so we can get back to hiking. We have missed the mountains!
Till next time!