|Utah National Parks 2007|
We decided to make our what has become "annual" trip to San Diego a little more adventurous this year by touring some of Utah's National Parks on the way there. We've seen these parks before, but this time decided to spend a couple of nights at Bryce Canyon, allowing us to explore the park a little bit more in depth in the midst of winter.
So just before we flipped the calendar from 2007 to 2008, we journeyed to Capitol Reef National park first. We essentially just drove through the park as it's fairly small. The only pictures you'll see below were taken all from the parking lot of the visitor center and the West entry point of the park.
We continued on and made it to Bryce Canyon just before nightfall. Early the next morning, Mike decided it would be a good idea to brave the near zero degree weather to get Sunrise shots at (aptly) Sunrise Point. After about an hour of freezing his tail off, he decided he wouldn't be the only one experiencing the cold, so he went back to the hotel, picked up the whole family and dragged them out for a brisk morning hike to Mossy Cave.
The hike was only about a mile and a half round trip, and with temperatures soaring to 10 degrees, everyone enjoyed the icy, snow-packed hill up to the cave, including Zack, our 3 month old. Jacob had the time of his life until he got back to the car and realized he couldn't actually feel his fingers.
While the kids regained feeling in their extremities and dozed off, the intrepid family decided to drive the length of the park so Mike could take more photos, this time at Rainbow Point. They then returned to the visitor center to buy gifts and check with the park rangers on the status of the hikes into the canyon.
After Mike dropped the family back at the hotel, he turned back around for more punishment, this time in the form of a 3.2 mile hike known as Navajo Loop. Thanks to the park rangers suggestion and armed with a pair of yak trax to keep his footing (thanks to the suggestion of the park newsletter), he ventured down 32 stories into the bowels of the canyon via the Queens Garden Trail from Sunrise Point. Instead of turning around and heading back out the easy way, the day's prior activities combined with the sub-20 degree temps must have turned his brain to ice and he decided to connect up with the Navajo Loop trail and climb back up to Sunset Point - a whopping 55 stories up! The total distance travelled according to the trusty GPS was 3.2 miles in just about an hour. He was forced to take lots of photos so his camera wouldn't freeze and was startled by a pack of deer eating along the trail.
Once everyone was thoroughly thawed by spending another night in the hotel, we ventured on to San Diego, throwing in a brief drive through of Zion National Park (as well as a quick stop in their visitor center). Jacob now thinks that all tunnels should have view windows carved into them much like the 1.1 mile long tunnel that winds through a mountain in the park.
That was the short, but eventful 3 days that we took to get to San Diego just before the New Year...enough rambling, enjoy the photos by clicking each of the images below!