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Published: September 30th 2017
Geo: 40.7595, -111.888
We left on a Saturday in late April and returned the next Saturday. Except for a one hour or so delay leaving GSP airport, all of the flights were on time, and the delay at GSP did not cause a problem since we had a long layover in ATL built in to the schedule.
We arrived in Salt Lake City at 1:00 PM, MST, picked up our rental car around 2:00 PM, and drove 4 .5 hours through rain and snow (yes, SNOW) to our motel, Ruby's Inn, for the next three nights. Except for a bit of walking around the airport in Atlanta, we missed our daily walk, but we made up for it on the next 6 days.
On Sunday, our first full day at Bryce Canyon, we hiked a figure eight composed of a combination of three trails. Queen's Garden, Navaho loop, and Peek-a-Boo loop, a total of
about 8 miles with elevation lost/gained of around 1,000 feet. On Monday, we hiked the Fairyland loop which was again about 8 miles but with over 2,000 feet in elevation lost/gained.
Probably the main thing that Bryce Canyon is famous for is its hoodoos. Since everyone may not know what
a hoodoo is, I'll explain. Hoodoos are tall, thin spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos, which may range from 5 to 150 feet, typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations. Bryce Canyon has thousands of hoodoos.
On Tuesday we checked out of Ruby's Inn and drove to the town of Escalante where we stopped in at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Visitor center to check on
hiking trails. We ended up hiking the Lower Calf Creek Falls trail, about 5.5 miles with only 250 feet of elevation gain. The falls, at 126 feet tall, were impressive. Along this trail we were able to find a pictograph of three figures painted on the canyon wall some 800 to 1000 years ago. Finally found out the difference between a pictograph and a petroglyph. A pictograph is painted on a wall while a petroglyph is carved or chiseled into a stone wall. After the hike
we checked into our motel in Escalante, the Circle D motel, our lodging for the next
On Wednesday we drove about 26 miles down the dirt and gravel, very washboardy, Hole-in-the-Rock road to some slot canyon hikes at the Dry Wash trail head. There are three
main slot canyons there – Peek-a-Boo, Spooky, and Brimstone canyons. We were able to get into Spooky and Brimstone but Peek-a-Boo required about a 25 foot climb up slick rock (really slick rock) that we were not able to negotiate. The trails to and from the canyons were mostly sand which made for some pretty strenuous hiking but we managed – total of about 8.5 miles with maybe 400 feet elevation loss/gain.
Thursday we drove to Capitol Reef NP and checked out the visitor center, then hiked portions of the Cohab Canyon and Frying Pan trails. About half way down the Frying Pan
trail, we decided to turn around and do the Cassidy Arch trail from the other end. We had done this on our first visit to Capitol Reef some 10 years ago and it was interesting to revisit that trail and see how little had changed in 10 years. Total hiking on Thursday was again about 8.5 miles with over 1,000 feet gained and lost. Checked into the Broken Spur motel in Torrey and had dinner at their steak house. Having eaten beef for several previous nights, I opted for a
salad this time. Pretty good.
Friday we had breakfast, checked out of the motel, and took our last hike of the trip, the Chimney Rock trail, again in Capitol Reef. This was a fairly short, 4 mile hike with an elevation gain of around 600 feet, a nice hike to end the trip on. After the hike, we drove about 4 hours to our motel in Salt Lake City where we checked in and got ready to head home the next
On the next pages I'll include pictures from each place we visited. Bryce Canyon was without a doubt the most photogenic of the three parks we visited so you'll see a lot more pictures from there.
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