Trip Start Aug 29, 2012
Trip End Oct 06, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We were glad that we could leave Las Vegas. Some say you need more than 5 days to see it all but I agree with the ones that say 24 hours is more than enough. Time for a new chapter: The National parks of Utah. First stop is Zion National Park. The campsites are overflowing but we found a nice RV park just outside the park entrance in Springdale, a lovely although a bit touristy town but beatifully situated. Like in Yosemite transport is really well organized here. There is a shuttle bus service that makes a roundtrip in the canyon and you can get out at several stops where there either is a nice view or several hikes start. The first day we do a sort of introduction hike, the Emerald Pools hike. A bit busy but you get a good idea of the beauty of the area. Big red and white cliff walls with dramatic shapes that end in a green canyon. As it is not formed by Glaciers like in Yosemite but by water so the deeper you get into the canyon the narrower it becomes. The next day we decide to do a more challenging hike. A hike that brings us to the top of the canyon. As you have to climb a lot you immediately loose the big crowds. It is an absolutely great hike with great vistas along the hike but when we get to the top at the end of the hike we were rewarded with a spectacular view over basically the whole canyon. A perfect spot for a nice picnic lunch! Facebook friends will be able to enjoy the 360 degrees picture we took here. After lunch we slowly walk down and take our time to enjoy the scenery. We do a final small hike walking deeper into the canyon but it is a bit too crowded on this walk to our liking. We take the bus back to Springdale and enjoy a nice evening in the RV park. The next morning we head off early at 6.30 am as we want to make sure that we have a spot on one of the campgrounds in Bryce Canyon. As it is first come, first serve on the campgrounds in Bryce Canyon we don't want to arrive too late. So at 9 am we arrive in Bryce Canyon and find a beautiful spot on one of the campgrounds. After having breakfast we start to explore Bryce Canyon. The campground is in the middle of the National Park on top of the canyon in a forest and we don’t have to drive or take a bus but can do everything on foot. Bryce Canyon is sort of a horseshoe shape and when you get to the rim of the canyon you are looking down into a canyon that is filled with these bizar shaped pillar structures (called hoodoos). Every layer of a pillar has a different color ranging from white, green, yellow, red to orange and every shade of these colors imaginable. One area is called the amfitheatre and you just keep on looking at these hoodoos. A popular walk (The Queen and Navajo trail) takes you down into this amfitheatre and seriously around every corner you take you get this real american feeling of Oh My God. You just don’t know where to look. All these shapes and colors it is just overwhelming and eventhough it is quite crowded on the walk you can still enjoy the beauty of it. In the evening we enjoy a nice BBQ and an evening aorund the firepit with a nice campfire. The next day we go for a more serious hike and do the Fairyland loop. A not so crowded hike but the views are as spectacular as in the Amfitheatre and we just keep on being amazed by all the shapes and colors. Again FB friends can enjoy the 360 degrees picture I posted on FB. I think I took around 300 pictures on these 2 days we hiked here in Bryce. I can say that Bryce Canyon is definitely the highlight of the trip sofar and we’ve had many highlights on this trip already. Next day we take the scenic highway 12 and 24 to go to Moab where we will visit Arches National Park. The first part of the trip is indeed a very scenic drive where the scenery changes from driving through red rocks to on top of a vast white / yellow rocky area into an alpine like mountain area that is already in its autumn colors. Then into a part of the Canyonlands National Park with again amazingly shaped rocks on all kinds of shapes and shades of red. Then the last part of the trip we drove through these grey colored mountains and end in this vast flatland that seems to go on forever without a bend in the road. Just before we arrive in Moab the scenery changes again into a red rock canyon scenery. Only one mishap on this trip! In Escalantes, a small village on the way, I drove an itsie pitsie too hard and was pulled over by the cute sheriff of Escalantes and got a fine for speeding. Just 115 dollars that I have to send by moneyorder from a post office within 14 days. Yes sir we will do that but first a cold beer in a bar in Moab. The next day we explore the arches in Arches National Park. No bus service or walking from the campsite but here you have to drive through the park to get to the points of interest. We do a couple of short hikes in the morning to see the rock formations like the Three Gossips and Balancing Rock of which you really think how the hell does this rock stay on top. The formations here are not like in Bryce called hoodoos but are called Fins. So the rock formations are not pillar like but more flat slabs of rocks lined next to each other. Over time the inner parts of these fins start to fall down and thus forming Arches.Time to see some of these Arches. First we go to the viewpoint of Delicate Arch. The most popular and photograhed Arch. You get a good view of the arch although it is a bit far away. You can walk to the base of the arch but that would mean a whole day of walking and then we wouldn’t be able to see other sites in the park and decide not to do this. Instead we head to Devils point for a hike. Here we get to see several arches like Landscape Arch, Navajo Arch, Partition Arch and finally Double O Arch. The latter two with a nice view through the Arch. In the end of the afternoon we also visit the Window Arches and Double Arch that is one of the most beautiful ones in our opinion. Again a great day of hiking with some spectacular scenery. It is a bit cheesy to say but I agree with the words on my newly bought cap that says: UTAH ROCKS!

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Ron Vlietstra on

I want to go there ... and maybe next week. I loved Yellowstone last year and your spirited enjoyment of Utah has turned me on!!!

Ron Vlietstra on

I hope your trip has been a total pleasure.
As I "promised", I fly to las Vegas on Wednesday (chill there for a couple of days) and then drive up to Zion and Bryce until the next Tuesday.
I'm not so diligent a photographer as you so I hope you don't mind me using some of your gems to illustrate what I see. OK?

Ron Vlietstra on

On FB only!

paulandton on

Hi Ron, Great to hear that our stories inspire people to visit the places we write about. I'm sure you are going to have a fantastic time. No worries about using the pictures. Have a great week!
Paul and Ton

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