When you live an ocean away from your closest friends and family, you need to be creative with the ways you use vacation time, i.e. combine visits with vacation! And last week this was in the form of week long roadtrip rampage around the great out west. The itinerary went something like this:
- Zion National Park, Utah (2 days)
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (1 day)
- Escalante, Utah (1 day)
- Page, Arizona (2 days)
- Grand Canyon (20 minutes)
- Las Vegas, Nevada (1 day)
And even though I lugged my camera all the way out there, like 90% of the photos were taken with my iPhone 6S. So here are 47 of my favorites!
Zion National Park
We started in Zion National Park, first hiking up Angels Landing, which was simultaneously exhausting/rewarding/terrifying. You trek your way up, with the last half mile requiring you to hold onto a chain to prevent you from falling off the steep cliffs on either side of you. Anyways, here’s us at the top, not dead.
We also hiked an insy bit into the narrows, a potentially long hike upstream through narrow passages (though we cut ours short due to flash flood warnings).
Anyone who’s followed along with my travel posts knows I’m not usually one for hotels, but when your travel buddy works for good ole corporate America and has hotel points to spare, you stay in the Springhill Suites!
And any long/potentially deadly hike warrants pizza, namely the pizza from Zion Pizza & Noodle Co.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Next stop was to Bryce Canyon National Park! There were some gorgeous lookout points here and a few trails worth piddling around in (like Mossy Cave Trail which led to a secluded little waterfall), but you won’t need more than a day.
From Bryce we made our way to Escalante, a small town that was the starting point for our most adventurous endeavor. We drove 26 miles down a bumpy dirt road towards the Peek-a-boo, Spooky, and Dry Fork slot canyons. Being in a two-wheel drive rental, we walked the last two miles, only slightly nervous about our lack of service and potential rattlesnake run-ins. From the trailhead, it was two-ish miles down into the canyons, where we explored and wiggled our way around the narrow canyons for a while.
We got out of there before the inevitable afternoon monsoon struck (side note: were we the only ones to not know about these daily monsoons??)
But the monsoons couldn’t stop us from playing around in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes on our way from Escalante to Page.
We camped in both Bryce and Escalante. We considered camping out in the wilderness in Escalante (it’s allowed…and free!), but fear of snakes and other dessert critters (as well as a strong appetite for s’mores) brought us into the campgrounds in town.
Our last stop before Vegas was in Page, home to the infamous Antelope Canyons and Horseshoe Bend. Against the advice of our Airbnb host, who suggested we skip the overpriced Antelope Canyon and go to Canyon X instead, we did a tour of Upper Antelope. It was a bit crowded but still unlike any of the canyons we had seen so far.
We also hiked down to Lake Powell for a mid-afternoon swim.
Our Airbnb host was a wildlife rehabilitator, meaning he had animals tucked away all throughout his house. A big tortious, baby owl (though her size could fool you), loads of snakes and ferrets, and a scorpion!
Dinner and drinks (or should I say, drinks with a side of dinner?) at El Tapatio!
We head out of Page after two nights, driving around the Upper Rim of the Grand Canyon and swinging by a few view points on our way to Las Vegas. But after a week of exploring gorgeous, colorful, massively impressive canyons, we were all canyoned out. We snapped a few pictures and pushed on to Las Vegas.
What to say about Las Vegas…being two ladies who hate excessively spending money, let alone gambling with it, this might not have been our cup of tea. As we tried our luck at the penny slots, someone remarked “I mean, you’re not going to win. The most you can hope to “win” is a free drink, so just bet slowly”. We proceeded to nurse the free drinks brought around the casinos, gambling away our pennies and watching fellow gamblers lose much, much more.
And with that, our great hiking out west trip was over! I flew to Atlanta for a few days to hangout with my grandpa and his dog (which entailed many hours of reading old cookbooks and magazines by the pool), then spent the weekend exploring Pittsburgh before flying back home to Holland.