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Published: September 20th 2018
A few months back, my husband and I were able to go out west. We had never seen the Grand Canyon before and during this trip, we made it a point to do so. We also visited the incredible and breathtaking Monument Valley, Hoover Dam and Sedona, Arizona as well. While I have written and shared in length about those legs of the journey, I have not gone into detail discussing the last, and perhaps my most favorite, part: the trek to Zion National Park and the night spent in Las Vegas, Nevada.
We planned this trip to end our last part of the journey here, then to make the trip back to Scottsdale, Arizona to fly back when we left Las Vegas. After traveling from Seattle to Los Angeles along the West Coast Highway, we quickly realized that while it might be more convenient to pick up a rental car at one location and drop it off at another, it is far from cost-efficient. As such, this time around, we were more savvy travelers and planned to simply drive in a circle and end up at the same spot where we began.
That wasn’t the only way we
planned better this time. We also made sure to research issues we had formerly overlooked, such as whether or not you can bring the solution for your contacts
onto a plane, the exact amount of liquid TSA would allow on board, how wide our carry-ons needed to be and more. By planning ahead of time, we were able to enjoy a much more seamless and smooth trip out there and returning home.
The drive into Zion National Park was incredible in and of itself. Everywhere you looked there were inspiring vistas that were unlike anything we had ever seen in our small town of Wallburg, North Carolina. I was fortunate enough to be the passenger for this part of the trip, which was an advantage, as my husband couldn’t look out the window and enjoy the view because he was so intently focused on navigating the hairpin curves down the mountain! When we finally arrived, however, the journey only got sweeter. Zion National Park has a lodge inside of the park called the Zion Lodge. We had reserved a cabin in the lodge and we were directed straight for it. During this time of year, the weather was pretty
cold, which we were told was par for the course, as deep within the mountain range, it hardly ever gets unbearably sunny.
We warmed up by a little fireplace inside our cabin and then headed to the on-site restaurant for a delicious dinner of salmon and fresh vegetables. We spent the remainder of the evening exploring the gift shop, taking a look around and just soaking in the amazing view. The next morning, we grabbed breakfast at the same restaurant, this time indulging in homemade granola and yogurt.
Then, we put on our hiking boots and started down one of the paths that branched off just yards away from the threshold of our cabin. It was a relatively simple and short hike, but a rainfall the day before meant that much of it was slippery. I didn’t mind it too much, except there was one part where my foot slipped on a bridge and that gave me a fright. We ended up turning around once we reached a part of the hike that required waterproof boots to navigate.
After completing that leg of our hike, we hit the road once again. This time, our destination was Las
Vegas. Before we got there though, we packed a light lunch and took a brief tour of the Valley of Fire State Park. This was a gorgeous park with redstone rock formations that were perfect for climbing up and enjoying a view while eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The climbs were very short and not too tedious, but the vistas were priceless. There were also a ton of natural tumbleweeds and prickly plants growing all over the rocky ground. All in all, it made for a memorable experience and certainly one of the most interesting lunches we have had in a while!
That evening, we entered Las Vegas. As two kids from the country who had never really traveled too far away from our hometown, we had no idea what we were getting into. I, for one, did not pack the correct footwear. I started out the evening in stiletto boots and quickly realized that Las Vegas is a walking city. You travel on foot to the different places you want to go and as such, by about an hour into our experience, my toes were hurting so badly I could hardly move. Thankfully, there was a
department store near our hotel. My husband and I ran up and found the sale section and I purchased a pair of hard-soled moccasins and fuzzy black and white socks, which felt like heaven. We enjoyed seeing everything around the various hotels and even caught the tail end of a country music festival that was happening at one resort.
The next day, we spent some more time traveling around the city and learning about its history. This is the day we took the Hoover Dam bus tour, which was interesting and informative but to us ran a little too long. That evening, we ate shrimp cocktail at a famed hotel on Fremont Street and took in the fun light show above us afterward. The shrimp cocktail was by far the cheapest but sweetest meal we ate on the entire trip. I’m sure the waiters rolled their eyes at us and thought we were such tourists, but when in Rome! This was such a fantastic way to end our journey and I can’t wait to go back! I’m sure there was plenty that we missed along the way, but that’s what makes road trips so memorable. You see what you
can and don’t worry about what you can’t. That just gives you an excuse to plan a return visit!
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