We took the last week of April to roam around Southern Utah in search of some hikes. The first hike was in Capital Reef, one of the quieter National Parks in Utah. We hiked up the Grand Wash and into the Narrows. A place you do not want to be if there is a thunderstorm somewhere around. The towering canyon walls close in on you the further you hike up the canyon.
Then it was on to Escalante National Park and a stop at the Kiva Koffee Shop which overlooks the layers upon layers of sandstone creating these giant steps. We only had time for a quick break before we took off for Bryce National Park.
The approach to Bryce is deceptive and I was not ready for the dramatic scene of the Great Amphitheater. We spent two and a half days hiking up and down the canyons, surrounded by hoodoo's, those pillars of stone with a knob on top.
The memorable hike was the Navajo Trail which does a loop down into the amphitheater and then out. The descent is called Wall Street. I just assumed it had something to do with bankers, but, no. It is literally a wall with a trail that switch backs down it. I should have of counted how many switchbacks there are but was busy admiring the view. Down and down the trail wound for some 550 feet before it flattened out in the basin of the amphitheater. That called for a restful lunch before we trudged up the other side of the loop. Eventually, the top came into sight as did the breeze with only a few switchbacks remaining.
The final part of the excursion was to Zions National Park. The canyon itself is one dramatic scene after another. Access into the park is via the park shuttle bus that makes some eight stops along the Zion Canyon. I could spend days upon days painting there and not really capture it all. When traveling with a partner, I have to be careful not to try their patience and so I sneak quick sketches in when I can. (The sketches of Bryce are from photos.)
Zion is a must see as the rock walls and peaks in this one valley are wonderful. But be ready for crowds. We were there in the slow season and it was mobbed. In peak season, you wait for everything. We did take a day away from the crowds and drove to Snow Canyon, about an hour southwest of Zion, for a wonderful day of hiking amongst Petrified Sand Dunes, Lava Flow Tubes, and more giant cliff walls. The best place to eat in Springdale is Oscar's, with a motto on the door of, "If you leave hungry, it's not our fault".
We both agreed that Bryce was the high-lite of the trip.