Saturday, July 17, 2010

Swagger Wagon

Our trusty Toyota Sienna minivan carted us all over Utah and did a swell job of it.

Nice having all that room in the back.

This picture actually inspired this post, as it kind of looks like a shot you might see in the product brochure. (Near the Colorado River crossing.)

And for those men who feel emasculated owning a minivan, here's a hip video about the Sienna "Swagger Wagon". You can feel proud.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Utah Road Trip -- Part 4

Our campsite in Bryce Canyon was the most primitive on our trip. No internet, no showers, no grass. But it was very convenient, and we were glad to have it. And we loved the refreshing cool temperatures at 7000 ft. elevation or more.

I remember how much I liked Bryce Canyon from our brief family visit there in 1993. So I was looking forward to this stop. The hiking brochure from the visitor center recommended the most scenic three mile hike in the world (Queen's Garden and Wall Street loop), so off we went. At the overlook to start the hike we were greeted with these other wordly views.

And we got the obligatory photo of us. Are we enjoying our vacation or what!

I wish we had more time to hike more trails, but we were anxious to get back on the road to Provo and home. We'll definitely make another trip to Bryce Canyon.
We drove up through Provo, taking Steven out for an early dinner and bidding farewell once again. We spent the night at a campground in Snowville, UT. The following morning I hit some complimentary golf balls on their driving range.

We encountered so much green landscape all along our trip. Areas that are normally rather brown and arid were pleasantly green. I think all that spring rain made a difference.

We arrived home around 6:30PM Wednesday, June 23, and it was back to the grindstone. But what marvelous memories!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Utah Road Trip, Part 3

We departed Hanksville and drove 40-some miles to Capitol Reef National Park. The scenery was fantastic once again, though perhaps a step down from the previous two days. We decided on a hike up to Cassidy Arch, and started up a fairly steep canyon wall.

We got a good view of what we thought must be the arch.

But somehow we hiked on and on, well past the 0.5 miles a previous sign indicated. We did enter a scenic valley on the other side before turning around.

We encountered another couple hiking up on our way back, and warned them it must be the wrong trail, so we weren't the only ones who went astray. We studied the sign and the fork in the trail on our way back. You can see a trail on each side of the sign, and we took the left trail. However, the correct trail was actually behind my left shoulder. (We gave feedback to the park ranger later that they should improve the signage.) So I figure we got a bonus two miles added to our hike of around five miles.

We hiked over some interesting rocks out to the arch. In fact, it reminded me a lot of some of the Yosemite domes we hiked on. It was a bit windy and precarious looking down into the arch. I walked out on the top of the arch for this picture--it wasn't as scarey as it might appear.

We did another short hike out to some ancient petroglyphs and some pioneer autographs. Then we headed south on highway 12 towards Escalante and Bryce Canyon. I had heard this highway was spectacular, and it was indeed. It was only completed within the last few decades and traverses some seemingly impossible terrain. At one point I felt like we were driving on one of those canyon blades. There was a steep drop off on either side of the road. We also reached pretty high elevations (9,000 feet plus or minus), and the air temperature was in the 60's (so refreshing!).
In Escalante we ate a steak dinner at the only restaurant in town, and got some groceries at the only store, then headed on into Bryce Canyon National Park, and were fortunate to snag the 2nd to last campsite in the park just before dark.

Next up, Bryce Canyon!