Capitol Reef National Park, UT.

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A wrinkle in the earth, called the Waterpocket Fold, Capitol Reef is a geological feature that spans 100 miles long. The forces of water and gravity create towering cliffs, massive domes, arches and canyon walls that call Capitol Reef  home.IMG_4721

 

The Fremont River provides lifegiving water to beautiful orchards and pastures located within the park.IMG_4717

 

Presence of Native people of the Fremont Culture can be seen here at Capitol Reef. The cliff walls are adorned with rock art dating back to 600- 1300 AD. IMG_4894

 

We hiked the 2.2 mile Hickman Bridge Trail. This 125 ft. high natural bridge is named after a Utah school administrator and legislator.IMG_8382

 

Cohab Canyon and Grand Wash hikes took us to some unique rock formations and deep hidden canyons.IMG_8328IMG_4735

 

Because we spent 2 days exploring, instead of driving back to the motorhome, we camped overnight in our new tent.IMG_4513 (1)

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This was our view from camp.

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As the sun set, the moon rose.

 

We had a blast camping out. It brought back a lot of fond memories of past camping trips of long ago!

We closed out our visit with a drive to Goosenecks Overlook. IMG_4922

 

 

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT.

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It’s a place like no other. Bryce Canyon is not a canyon but a collection of natural amphitheaters. The displays of grand fins, windows and hoodoos actually are formed by rain, snow and ice melt, eroding into the shapes we see today.IMG_4359 (1)

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This landscape is never static. The forces of weathering and erosion never rest, not even for a day.

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The colors are truly incredible.

The erosive force is widening the canyon by 1-4 feet a century.

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There is a scenic 18 mile road that was closed at Natural Bridge turnout. The snow was too deep to open the road further.

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Natural Bridge

We walked the Rim Trail to view the amphitheater, with formations named Thor’s Hammer, The Bridges, Silent City, The Cathedral and Queen Victoria.IMG_4684

A hike on Queens Garden trail took us below the rim, to spectacular views of Bryce Canyon from below.

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I don’t think a sky can be any bluer!

 

Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park left us with thoughts of how powerful the force of erosion is.

 

 

 

Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument

This vast, 1.9 million acre monument offers incredible hiking and other activities. This area was the last place to be mapped in the continental U.S. We have been exploring just a speck of this beautiful monument.

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Lower Half Creek Falls Trail winds through a colorful canyon with life-size pictographs. At the end of the trail is a spectacular 126 ft. waterfall fed by cold underground springs that flow year round.IMG_8054

 

A drive down Hole-in-the-Rock road led us to Devils Garden. These whimsical rock formations are made of Entrada Sandstone. It’s a great place to have lunch too!

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I see people.

 

 

A little further down the road, we explored an area that has 150 million year old dinosaur tracks. The footprints are forever cast in stone.IMG_4275 (1)

 

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I’m not actually touching the print, just hovering above it !

 

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The amazing road took us further south to some slot canyons. The two we explored were named Dry Fork Narrows and Peek-a-Boo Canyon. This in and out three mile hike was very strenuous with slickrock climbing and tight narrows.

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Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park are coming next…. stay tuned folks!!

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is the first of 5 national parks we are visiting in Utah. The RV resort we’re staying at is located about 12 miles from the entrance to the park. We ended up hiking 7 trails. 4 were in the easy category, 2 moderate and 1 strenuous.IMG_3996

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We parked at the visitor center, then jumped on the shuttle. Getting an early start and beating the crowds is key!

 

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Our first hike was Riverside Walk that leads to The Narrows. Unfortunately, the Narrows was closed due to high water levels.

 

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This is as far as we could go on this trail. The Narrows start just around the corner.

 

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This is Weeping Rock. A short but steep trail that ends at a rock alcove with dripping springs.

 

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The Grotto Trail got us to Zion Lodge. This flat, easy trail is great for wildlife viewing. We saw turkeys and deer.

 

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Emerald Pools Trail is a paved, easy hike to some beautiful waterfalls. A bit crowded, but the hike was still fun.

 

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Angels Landing is a very steep hike to the summit. Long drop-offs and narrow climbing will lead you to amazing views of the valley below.

 

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Halfway there!

 

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This section of the trail is called The Wiggles.

 

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There were sheer drop-offs at every turn. Not for the faint of heart!

 

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Getting to the very top of the trail requires holding on to a chain. We thought this area was good enough for us!

 

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You can see the valley floor below, with no guardrails here. Sheer drop-off!

 

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Canyon Overlook Trail is a rocky, un-even hike that ends with breathtaking views of Pine Creek Canyon and lower Zion Canyon.

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Incredible Views!

 

 

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This was the best hike in Zion!

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Our last hike was Watchman Trail to Watchman Overlook. There, views of Towers of the Virgin, lower Zion Canyon and Springdale could be had.

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The weather was perfect for taking photos!

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We had a great time in Zion. It’s a special place. What made it even more special was that we were able to share it with family. Our niece Alexa and her boyfriend, Andrew came out to visit us! We spent the days exploring Zion, and the nights hanging by the fire!

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