Monday, May 13, 2013

Adventures in the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks

Tad and I took a week-long camping trip to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. It was my first visit to the parks and certainly not the last as their incredible awesomeness left a lasting impression on me and a yearning for more.

We flew into Vegas and stayed in a resort where we enjoyed amenities such as indoor plumbing and hot showers before embarking on our adventure

The first sun my feet have seen in months.

It is impossible to go to Vegas and not try your hand at gambling. There is even a casino in the entrance of K-mart. We went into a random casino after dinner and got out as quickly as possible. I don't know, but sitting for hours in a smog of cigarette smoke drinking alcohol and concomitantly losing money does not appeal to me. But hey, to each his own.
We lost $10.00 in less than 90 seconds...

While at the Grand Canyon we hiked down South Kaibab, across the canyon on Tonto Trail, and up Bright Angel for a total of 13.3 miles, according to my Garmin. 

A lone cactus. 

Don't fall off, Tad!
View from South Kaibab.
I have some training to do before I break the R2R FKT.

We left the Grand Canyon and drove four hours to Bryce Canyon National Park where the temperature dropped 20 degrees. While making dinner, an abrupt hail storm started dropping huge ice balls into our pasta and forced us to grab everything and run to the car for shelter.

Isn't this supposed to be fun?
Pasta with tomatoes and ice balls, yum!

After a cold night in the tent, we were not in the mood for making breakfast on our camping stove. We spoiled ourselves with pancakes and coffee next to a fire in the Lodge. 

Overnight low of 30 degrees.
This is more like it!

We hiked the "Figure 8" loop which took us through Navajo Loop, Peak-a-boo and Queen's garden with stunning views of the hoodoos.

Water stop.

Tad on the edge.
The hoodoos.

In a quick 90 minute drive and a couple thousand feet drop in elevation, we were at Zion National Park. We woke up that morning at Bryce with 30 degree weather and snow and now we were in shorts and a pleasant 72 degrees and sun. We hiked the legendary Observation Point which climbs several thousand feet and shows off unbelievable views of the parks massive sandstone cliffs.

Tad and I at the top. 

Coming back down.
After watching some YouTube videos and some disturbing accounts of people's experiences on Angel's Landing, we decided to scratch that hike off of our to-do list and hike the West Rim Trail instead. We were not disappointed.

Looking at the infamous (and terrifying!) Angel's Landing from a safe distance.

A plateau on the West Rim Trail.
Nobody else around to take our picture.

It's hard to believe a tiny river is responsible for this.

One of the many rock mountains.

I wasn't ready to return home, but after another night in Vegas, I couldn't get back fast enough. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore these places on a very intimate level. I like to be fit and competitive and receive all of the attention and accolades of a great running performence, but there is something special about being in such a spectacular place with no time frame or agendas. Just me, a trail and an appreciation for life. What a gift!

The Colorado River.


  1. What a wonderful trip and experience, one that you will remember for many years. Glad you and Tad got to experience that. The picture of you over the stack of pancakes is precious :)

  2. Pretty nice and awesome adventures, hope to visit this place again..

    Dinner in Bryce Canyon

  3. It seems you are really enjoyed your trip. The pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us.