Utah is absolutely amazing! I used my GoPro Hero2 and made a few small time-lapse movies in some of the parks we visited. This is a quick stitch of the movies.
In this video you see Grand Canyon (1st shot is from Grand Viewpoint, 2nd is from Angles Landing trail head), Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, The Wave (this is in Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument; we were lucky to win the lottery for a walk in permit the day before our planned hike) and finally Monument Valley National Park (technically this is the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and is in Arizona but the features are in Utah).
Monument Valley is a great day excursion. There is a road that is accessible to park visitors that takes you through the park and offers some incredible photo ops. Be sure to catch sunset from the Navajo visitor center. The accommodations in the area are less than ideal though (at least for those on a budget), so plan ahead.
We won the lottery. As you know, it wasn’t Powerball, but we did get a permit to go and see ‘The Wave‘ in Utah. George had been talking about the Wave for weeks, and then we found out we needed a permit. They let 20 people in to see the wave each day. 10 slots are made available online months in advance. 10 slots are handed out by lottery the day before your hike. The day we arrived there were about 18 people hoping to visit the wave the following day (and this is off season). You submit your application and they literally put balls in a lottery type spinner and pull the out until there are no spots left. We were the first group called…woot woot! The fun thing about getting to the wave is that the hike is not marked. They do provide you with a series of picture instructions, so it turns out to be pretty easy to get there. If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. The Wave was incredible. Beyond the Wave, the Coyote Buttes area offers a lot more really great hiking.
Our next stop after the Moab area was Bryce Canyon. Bryce is known for Hodoos, the tower like rock formation you see in the photos. It’s pretty high elevation (close to 9000 feet at some of the rims), so G and I bundled up for a hike and tour around the park. The hike went down into the amphitheater area of Bryce past the Hoodoos and into a Ponderosa forest which smelled wonderful.
Our next stop was Zion. Driving into Zion is like driving into a stone fortress. You’re surrounded by incredibly tall rock faces. We did some hiking and bedded down for the night at the only open campground in the park. The next morning we set off to grab some breakfast before heading out of the park. Almost immediately, we heard a terrible grinding noise coming from the back wheel. We assumed the noise was coming from the brake after a little investigating. This meant a day delay and a small detour to the closest town. The good news is that it gave us time to refurbish our coffee maker. The next morning we headed to a local mechanic only to discover that our brake problem was actually the mud flap grinding up against the wheel. George had backed into a rock leaving the campground the day before and bent the flap. Lucky for us, the mechanic didn’t charge us and topped off our tires to boot.