SXSW : Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches

 

And the last installment of images from our trip. Phew.

When we added Zion into the trip we also added in Bryce Canyon. Well after we decided to stay an extra night camping in Zion that meant we wouldn’t spend the night in Bryce. This actually worked to our advantage because little did we know that night it would snow 3 feet in Bryce over night! That would have sucked for camping! When we got to Bryce the next day the whole park was covered in snow and it was absolutely gorgeous! The Campsite we were supposed to stay at was completely covered in snow and you couldn’t even drive down the road. So glad we decided to stay in Zion, especially since we didn’t have a strong enough cell signal to check the weather for Bryce. πŸ™‚

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Hiking in Bryce. We were only in Bryce for a couple hours but it was very worth the side trip!

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The contrast of the snow against the red/orange rocks was pretty awesome.

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Running shoes are the absolute best shoes for hiking in the show. Not. Surprisingly it was really hot with the sun out and even though it was below 30 degrees it felt a lot warmer!

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On the way to Canyonlands.

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Our campsite in Dead Horse Park, right outside of Canyonlands.

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So fun story. Last year in the Grand Tetons we met Jorge and Becky. They were at the campsite next to ours and we shared a couple meals over the campfire together and suggested hikes and places to eat in Jackson Hole to each other. When we left we exchanged contact info and social media usernames. Over the last year we’ve kept up with them and since they live in Utah we asked if they wanted to join us on our last bit of our trip. We were so excited to see them again and spend a couple days hiking and staying up late catching up. Having friends in other parts of the country is pretty awesome and we can’t wait to meet up with them again on another adventure!

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Hiking to the False Kiva in Canyonlands.

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False Kiva.

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Find Philip.

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Arches!

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Our loyal Prius that we now absolutely love. Since we travel so much, and drive most the trips, we felt it was finally time to trade in our gas guzzling Jeep and get a Hybrid. Boy were we glad we did! On our last road trip we drove 3,900 miles and spent over $1,200 on gas in a suv. On this trip we drove 4,700 miles and only spent $227 on gas. Winning!

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Honestly on our last day in Arches we were completely exhausted from driving all over the country and hiking about 8-9 miles a day. We saved Delicate Arch as our last hike and we almost didn’t do it because we were so exhausted. Since it is just a famous arch we decided that we needed to suck it up and just do the straight up hill hike. We were pretty glad we did. πŸ™‚

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On our final night of camping the stars were out in full force! I’ve never seen so many stars in my life and even though we just wanted to climb into our sleeping bags and pass out I’m so glad that we took the time to get a few long exposures of the stars.

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This was one of favorite shots of the trip. This was the view from our campsite and I loved seeing the rocks lit up by all the campfires! Getting a campsite in Arches is actually pretty hard and Philip was able to get us this amazing spot, probably one of the best campsites we’ve ever had!

 

After half a month away we were excited to get back home but after just a couple days home we were ready to go out on another adventure!!

SXSW : Zion

 

Zion, oh Zion. When we planned this trip months ago we didn’t plan on going to Zion and truth be told we hadn’t heard of it until two weeks before we left. We are complete dorks and a few weeks before our trip we started watching a 8 hr documentary on the formations of the national parks (from PBS, on Netflix and pretty awesome if you are into documentaries that are really long πŸ™‚ ) and here we were introduced to Zion. Since we were going to be so close we decided that we should go to Zion instead of going back in Arizona after Vegas before heading in to Moab, Utah.

The moment we drove into Zion we knew immediately that we were going to love it and we were so glad we made the change in itinerary. Zion is one of the smaller parks but it is simply breath taking! Our campsite had an amazing view and our first night there was a full moon with a completely clear night. We watched the moon rise above the mountains and fill the night with more light than we have ever seen in Memphis. We had actually planned to just stay one night but within ten minutes of being there we decided to add another day and night in Zion.

In Zion there is a fabulous hike/climb called Angel’s Landing that we did. When we looked into the park before heading out on the trip we discovered this hike and were slightly terrified by it. In the last few years there have been multiple deaths on this hike because it is so dangerous… It is a nontechnical hike but it has shear drop offs that go down hundreds of feet. There is a simple chain along the trail that is supposed to help you… yeah real good for the nerves of someone who doesn’t do well with edges. I told Philip that we would do the hike but only if we wore repelling harnesses so we could hook on if we felt insecure with our footing. And it turns we actually needed it because the trail was covered in snow and ice when we hiked it and many times we couldn’t get our footing and needed to pull ourselves up the mountain and then coming down we pretty much ghetto repelled down… But the view at the top was out of this world and we now have the itch to climb even taller and harder mountains!

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Our campsite view in Zion.
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I love the above image that Philip got the first night! The full moon perfectly illuminated the mountains and river for the long exposure of the stars.

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The sunrise hitting just the peak of the mountains. Β Zion0018

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Zion0030Starting Angel’s Landing. So many switchbacks!

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On the right is the start of the last half mile of the Angel’s Landing hike. A lot of the people we encountered on the trail made it this point (Scout’s Lookout) but didn’t continue on to the summit because of the snow and ice.

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Drop offs on either side of Philip. This is right near Step of Faith which is a part of the trail that is narrower than this and no chain at all… We watched several grown adults get to this point and turn around since it was so intimidating.
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Behind us is the trail and that part was almost completely in shade and had very little snow melt and what had melted was icing over as seen below.

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Zion0038Not going to lie, we felt pretty bad-A at this point of the hike. The Zion valley Β is in the middle of the image.

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The thin ridge behind Philip is where we came from. It was pretty awesome to see how far we had come. Also at this point we were the only people on the trail.

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And the view from the top. Very worth it!

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Philip enjoying the summit view.

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Coming back down from Angel’s Landing.

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Find Savannah! On one of the switchbacks coming back down.

Zion has quickly become one of our favorite places in the US and we cannot wait to go back! Even though the park is super small compared to other national park we felt like we need to go back aspens a whole week here. We barely made a dent in all we wanted to do in this park!