Friday, November 13, 2009

Bryce - Zion - Valley of Fire

We arrived in Glendale, Utah to set up camp before our company arrived. The location was ideal in verdant Long Valley in the fall of the year. Our RV Park was on a working farm in Glendale complete with apple orchards, donkeys and llamas. The family had worked this land for generations.

While waiting for Erin, Brad, Rachel and Dylan to arrive we completed the final runs before the New York Marathon. Hopefully all this training at higher altitude will produce rewards when running the marathon at sea level.

We woke the next morning with cold but sunny weather and drove to Bryce Canyon National Park. At 8000 to 9000 ft. it was colder than we had anticipated. Thankfully we were able to visit here before the approaching winter set in.

We drove to the end of the road and on our return stopped at many viewpoints each

more breathtaking than the previous. The most

spectacular was Bryce Point where we had our first view of the complete Bryce Canyon


At Sunset Point we hiked into the Amphitheatre starting along the Rim Trail, dropping down into the canyon at Sunrise Point along Queen's Garden Trail and climbing back out to Sunset Point through the Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop Trail. This is touted to be "The Best 3 Mile Hike in the World". While on the trail we had lots of discussion about this ranking but all in the group decided it was one of the most beautiful hikes we had been on.

That night after all the hiking we walked to the uniquely decorated Buffalo Bistro to savour Wild Boar and Bison ribs with cheap Pitchers. With Utah's strict liquour laws the owner told us they were able to get a beer licence but it was too much hassle to get a wine or cooler licence.

The next morning we all piled back into the rented mini van for our visit to Zion National Park. We had expectations of warmer weather as this time we would be on the floor of the valley and not on the rim. The drive to Zion Valley passed through unique landforms on it's way to a one mile tunnel and multiple switchbacks into the Valley.

Along the way we stopped for a short hike to the rim of the canyon to catch our first glimpse of Zion. We toured Zion Valley the first day that private vehicles were permitted to drive after the busy summer season. We did two hikes and even though water levels were low the fall colours were beautiful. It is amazing that the present slow flowing Virgin River could have created this beautiful valley but I guess it had a long time to do it.

Rachel and Dylan left us the next day but not before picking apples for the road. The remaining four of us had 2 days to make our way back to Las Vegas. On the way we visited Pipe Springs National Monument, an early Mormon settlement in the desert. We camped at Valley of Fire State Park and wished we had more time to spend here.

Next off to New York and Toronto.........

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