We have arrived in National Park Territory and are awed by the beauty and how fortunate we are to have these magnificent parks in our country. We have traveled to many different countries and seen many beautiful places but the US parks are simply majestic.
We departed Colorado Springs on May 21st and crossed over Loveland pass through all the ski towns on our way to Rifle Gap State Park. Rifle Gap sits at a higher elevation with a reservoir which made for cooler weather and beautiful scenery. The hiking system was pretty limited but we did find a great trail and at the end we were treated to the sighting of our first pair of bald eagles. They were quite exciting for us to see.
After departing Grand Junction we arrived in Moab, Utah and visited Arches, Dead Horse State Park and Canyonlands. Considering the close proximity of the parks, each are different in many ways. The elevations are different as well as the looks and feel of each of the parks. Canyonlands is a deep chocolate covered canyon sitting on top of the mesa. Arches, well, you can guess has many rock arches and guarantees perfect sunrises and sunsets. Arches is also the closest to Moab at only 5 miles away. Dead Horse is the least visited of the three. On the day we hiked Dead Horse we were the only ones on the trail which ended at a spectacular lookout. All three parks are worth a stop if you are in the area. Moab is a hip little town that offers a nice oasis for all the tourist that flow through the area. The Colorado River flows freely through the area and luckily for Ola we were able to find an area that was safe for her to swim close to our campsite. Otherwise, we are deep in the desert with hot temps, no lakes/water and sunshine all day.
From Moab we headed to Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Bryce Canyon is strikingly beautiful. While the Grand Canyon tends to get the fame (because it truly is spectacular) , Bryce is the sometimes overlooked pretty younger sister. When you peer over your first lookout you are in awe of the canyon. It reminds me of making sand castles when we were little. The “sand castles” are actually called hoodoos. Besides hiking at Bryce we also hiked two state parks. Kodachrome and Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. Both were beautiful and great hikes. Luckily, the Petrified Forest was on a mesa in the mountains which offered cooler temperatures and a reservoir.
From Bryce we headed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where we spent our day yesterday. Of the 5 million people who visit the Grand Canyon each year only 10% head to the North Rim. It was a perfect day to be at the canyon. We hiked the main trails by the lodge (along with everyone else) for a while, but eventually, we decided to head out to some of the back trails. We met only a few people on the trails along the way, and felt like we had the Grand Canyon almost to ourselves. Today is a catch up day for us, but we will head back to the Canyon tomorrow.
Monday we head to Zion to finish off the Utah/Arizona National Park tour. Following Zion, we will shoot through Nevada and head to California.
Happy and safe summer travels to all.
Erin, Jeff and Ola