Utah Roadtrip: Part 4

Remember what the heck I’m talking about by catching up on Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this Utah journey!

Well, after spending two beautiful days in Zion National Park, we broke camp at our rugged, isolated campsite (complete with hot tub and wi-fi) and headed early in the morning towards Bryce Canyon National Park. On our entire trip, people had warned us to expect frigid temperatures at Bryce, since it’s higher in elevation than the other parks.

At this point, we were verging on maxed out on photo opps and historic markers, but I was sure that Bryce would not disappoint, since so many people at home and random strangers on the trip had talked about how wonderful and unusual it was.

We decided to drive all the way to the end of the park’s main road and then slowly work our way back to the entrance, stopping at various sites along the way. By driving to the end of the road first, we also started with stops at the park’s highest elevation and then gradually worked our way back to a more moderate elevation.

This was the view at our stop at the end of the road.

On a clear day at Bryce, you can see for miles.

One of the stops as we worked our way back along the road included an arch.

These views of the “amphitheater” are part of what makes Bryce so famous!

After several stops, during which my main focus was taking more photos and MT’s main focus  was obsessively checking license plates to see if we could find the ever-elusive Delaware (thanks for the game, Stacey!),

we parked at the trailhead for the Navajo-Queen’s Garden Loop and ate lunch at a picnic table before heading out. We decided to descend into the lower part of the trail via the “Wall Street” section of the trail and ascend in the Queen’s Garden section, as recommended by several hikers and our guidebook-the ascent is more gradual in the Queen’s Garden area compared to Wall Street.

Here we go down through the “towers” of Wall Street…

The park’s newsletter claims that this is the world’s best three-mile hike, and I would say they’re definitely in contention. It’s a great hike–the scenery is varied, constantly changing. You definitely don’t get bored. We saw tons of hoodoos close up and also enjoyed vistas of the entire “canyon.” (It’s not a real canyon.) Obviously, the sky was absolutely gorgeous.

And with our visit to Bryce Canyon National Park complete, it was time to set our sights back towards home. We splurged and stayed at a Hampton Inn in Cedar City, Utah, that evening, which felt like a lap of luxury! We also ended up seeing Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in 3D–a random ending to our trip. The next day included about eight hours of driving–all the way to Silverthorne, Colo., where we arrived just as all the outlet malls were closing. Our final day was pretty non-noteworthy–we fortunately had the audiobook of “Undaunted Courage” to get us through the boring flatness that is Kansas (sorry any Kansas readers!). After about 14 hours of driving, our sweet little house in the Wood was waiting for us, right where we left it–and it was great to be home.

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