Hi friends! I’m back from an awesome family vacation out west, and even though I had a blast, I’m really happy to be back to my routines today. It’s Sunday as I write this, and I’ve already unpacked, cleaned the apartment, done grocery shopping for the week, and planned my weekly workouts. Vacation is fun but it’s nice to get back into the swing of things, ya’ know?
Anyway, this week I’m going to be recapping my trip, and I’ll try to break it up into manageable portions so you’re not overwhelmed with photos. Even still, I have a TON of pictures to share, so pull up a seat, make yourselves comfortable, and get ready to scroll!
The first part of our family vacation took us into Bryce Canyon, Utah. After landing in Salt Lake City on Saturday afternoon, we made the 4.5 hour drive to Bryce Canyon. As we got closer, the views got better and better, and we knew we were in for a real treat.
Upon arriving in the town of Bryce, it was too late to explore the park much, so we stopped into the Visitor’s Center to figure out where we should go the next day. Afterwords we spent a bit of time exploring the town, which is really cute and Western-themed. A lot of it was set up for tourists with old-looking buildings with words like “Jail” painted on them, and being the tourists that we were, we ate it right up.
Our hotel had a bonfire planned for the evening with a live country music band, which we thought sounded really fun. While we were in town we purchased some local Utah beers, and then headed back to the hotel for the bonfire.
The bonfire area was really cute too, and was similarly decorated with old-style western buildings and props. I have to give credit to my dad for most of these pictures; he took a ton with his good camera and multiple fancy lenses while we were away.
As the sun set, we joined a bunch of other hotel guests at large picnic tables for the family-style dinner.We enjoyed our delicious steak dinner while the band set up.
Once dinner was over, we moved to the bonfire to enjoy the music next to the warm fire.
The band was a lot of fun, and a bunch of the hotel guests got up to dance. I was tempted to dance when they played boot scootin’ boogie, but no one wanted to dance with me so I stayed put. I definitely should have just gotten up to dance! Oh well, next time.
Toward the end of the evening, our hotel hosts brought out marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers for s’mores, which was perfect. What a fun first night of vacation!
The next day we were all up bright and early to explore Bryce Canyon!
We decided to drive around to the view points first, so we could get acquainted with the park. Even anticipating that this was going to be a really cool place, I don’t think any of us expected it to be quite so stunning.
We were blown away from the very first view point!
Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon at all; it was a prehistoric lake that dried up millions of years ago. All of the big rocks that you see are not really rocks either – they are made from silt that used to be on the bottom of the lake. Since it snows so much in Bryce Canyon, the fragile silt rocks change their shape each year as they freeze and thaw. All of the funny-looking rocks are called “hoodoos” and the Native Americans who used to live in this part of the country used to tell legends about some of the ones that look like people. They were so cool! It’s amazing how different prehistoric lakes can look, isn’t it?
One of the lookout points overlooked a natural arch, which was made from the silt underneath the arch crumbling away over time. It was so, so beautiful.
Here’s a cool looking hoodoo! I think this one looks like a fox or something. I can definitely see why the Native Americans told legends about these things.
Each view point was more and more beautiful, and we were all totally in awe with the views. From the red rocks which get their color from iron and other minerals, to the endless mountains in the background, we knew we were in a special place.
After spending a couple of hours driving around looking at the view points, it was time to hike! Based on reviews online and what we learned at the Visitor’s Center, we decided to do the 1.3 mile loop on the Navajo Trail. Although it was only a 1.3 mile loop, it involved a 550 ft climb, which was pretty intense! The hike started near one of the famous Bryce Canyon amphitheaters, which has a whole bunch of hoodoos in an amphitheater-style horseshoe.
From there we hiked down into the canyon!
There were a ton of narrow switch-backs in and out of the giant hoodoos. It was truly an amazing climb down, and I could not get over the awesome scenery.
Once we reached the bottom, there was a really narrow passageway you had to go through.
Here’s my sister, who was happy to have reached the bottom!
In this area there was a really cool/terrifying rock overhang, which was suspended by literally nothing. Fabio thought it would have made a nice little cave, but I wouldn’t go near it. BTW, that’s a gopro camera on his head. He recorded this hike, as well as a number of other activities from our trip, and I hope to make a compilation video in the next couple of days. Stay tuned!
After exiting the narrow passageway, we could see more of the canyon around us, which was just beautiful. There were a lot of ground squirrels in this area, which were really
friendly hungry 🙂 My sister fed them a few times, which she obviously got a huge kick out of.
Hey there, little man!
I love that picture, haha!
Before we knew it, it was time to climb back up the mountain! There were a lot fewer switch-backs going up, meaning that the incline was a lot steeper than it was on the way down. It was a challenging hike, and I got pretty winded at one point! My dad and stepmom were going a bit slower due to my dad’s poor knees, so they got this picture of Fabio and I halfway up the trail. Can you spot us in our blue and green?
We’re so tiny! Although the climb was tough, the view at the end was oh, so worth it!!
Wow, I just cannot get over what a gorgeous place Bryce Canyon is. Even looking at the pictures now takes my breath away!
After our hike we piled back in the car, grabbed a quick lunch, and drove over to Park City, Utah where the next portion of our adventure took place. I’ll cover that next!
Question of the day: Have you ever heard of (or been to) Bryce Canyon?
Apparently it’s really popular internationally, and we ran into a ton of French, Italian, and German tourists while hiking. I had never heard of it before, so it seems like the park really needs to up its PR game in the United States! It’s such a beautiful place!