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Old 06-07-2011, 11:26 PM   #1
disneyfaninaz
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Our Rockin’ Canyon Tour ~ A GC/Zion/Bryce NP Trip Report ~ w/ PICS ~ Completed!

Well, I’m back again with yet another National Park trip report.

We have had so much fun visiting our wonderful National Parks over the last couple of years that we decided to keep going and planned a week long trip to the Grand Canyon North Rim, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, with a visit to Antelope Canyon too. DH had been to Bryce and Zion as a very young child, and doesn’t remember it, and neither DD nor I had ever been. This year we’re not flying anywhere, we’re going on a road trip!

So that is a total of 4 canyons in 7 days.

Cast of Characters:

Me - Planner
DH - Payer
DD - Passenger

DD’s last day of school was on a Thursday, so we decided to leave the following Saturday and take advantage of Memorial Day so DH only had to take 4 days off of work. We also decided to start our trip by driving to Flagstaff and spend the night to start getting acclimated to the altitude, since Flagstaff is about 7000 feet above sea level, and I don’t do well in high altitudes. I planned on taking Friday to pack and get organized, however, I spent 5 hours going to the doctor, getting an x-ray, blood test, and picking up prescriptions. I was suffering from my annual respitory distress and got some steroids and antibiotics from the doctor. Why share this? Because it will come into play later in my report.

Day 1- Taking it easy.
Saturday, May 28, 2011

2 hours 28 minutes drive time planned

DH loaded the Pilot and we left home around 11:00 AM to climb up the hill to Flagstaff. As soon as we hit the I-17, there was a Road Condition message that it was closed at Sunset Point due to an accident. Well, we decided to pull over at McDonald’s at Tramonto to eat lunch and wait for the road to reopen. Evidently we were not alone as several campers and boat trailers were also parked at McDonald’s. There were also several people on their laptops inside evidently trying to find out about the road closure as well. By the time we finished lunch, the road had been reopened and the parking lot had cleared so we went on our way. Unfortunately, we caught up to the backed up traffic and it took about twice as long to get to Sunset Point as it usually does. But, we made it to the Residence Inn in good time. A front was moving through the state, so it was a very windy drive up and even windier at the hotel. It was about 70 degrees when we arrived, which was very nice considering it was 100 at home. The first thing DD wanted to do was go swimming. The pool was heated but the wind was cold. But, that didn’t stop her. After her swim, we went to our favorite restaurant in Flagstaff, Beaver Street Brewery, for dinner and stopped at the Barnes & Nobel for a bit. We went back to the hotel and DD went swimming again before we called it a night.

Next: On the road again!

Last edited by disneyfaninaz; 06-27-2011 at 01:36 PM. Reason: updated
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:24 PM   #2
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Day 2 - On the road again!

Sunday, May 29, 2011
3 hours and 31 minutes drive time

The hotel provided breakfast, so we ate and headed North on 89 towards the North Rim. Again, it was very windy. We drove up 89 and then turned west onto 89A. We soon entered the Glen Canyon National Recreation Center. As we were driving, we saw the most colorful range of cliffs. The Vermillion Cliffs.



We passed the entrance to Lee’s Ferry (the beginning of many a rafting trip down the Colorado River), but decided it was too windy to go down to the river. Then we arrived at the Navajo Bridge. There are actually 2 bridges, the old one and the new Navajo Bridge opened in 1995. The old bridge is now a walking bridge. You can look down to the Colorado River 467 feet below. This bridge is only one of seven crossings over the Colorado River. We parked on the south side of the river. There were Navajos selling their jewelry and other hand made items. My DH purchased a stone inlayed money clip. I walked out on the bridge and took some pictures. It was extremely windy with 40 to 50 mph gusts. Fortunately, the bridge had very high railings. DD and DH were a little nervous on the bridge with the wind.









We got back to the car and crossed over the bridge and visited the Interpretive Center. Since this is a National Recreation Area, I was able to get my passport stamped. We happened to arrive at the center as a Harley group from Salt Lake City were getting ready to ride out, there must have been about 50 bikes. It was pretty impressive to see them all ride out at the same time.











We continued on our way to Jacob Lake and our turn off towards the Grand Canyon. We drove alongside the Vermillion Cliffs.







We arrived at Jacob Lake and had a picnic lunch outside of the Kaibab National Forest Visitor Center. After lunch we went to the visitor center and then the Jacob Lake Inn gift shop. DD found a rock that she liked, thus beginning a theme for the trip.



We continued on towards the North Rim. It was another 43 miles. We passed through a forest burn area. It is so sad to see these magnificent forests after they have been ravaged by fire. I know that fire is good for a forest to thrive, but it sad nonetheless.





We also saw some mule deer on the rim of a meadow.



We finally arrived at the Grand Canyon. But, had 14 more miles to go until we reached the lodge.



Next: Grand Canyon North Rim

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:50 PM   #3
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Day 2 - Continued

We finally arrived at the Lodge and found a place to park, which wasn’t easy since the parking lot was almost full, and went to check in. While I was lucky enough to reserve a Western Cabin, I didn’t make reservations for dinner at the lodge, so we went to ask if they had any openings. Of course, the earliest they could get us in was 8:45 PM. Way too late to eat for us, so we made reservations for the next night at 5:45 PM. We got our cabin assignment and found our cabin.





The cabin was a little small, but comfortable. It also had an obstructed view of the canyon.







After we unloaded the car, we walked to the rim and checked out the view. Did I mention that it was windy. Now it was cold too, in fact, snow was predicted for the night.







We eventually found our way to the Lodge. The North Rim Lodge has a bronze sculpture of Brighty, the Grand Canyon mule made famous in a book by Marguerite Henry. They say if you rub it’s nose, you get good luck.







We walked to the visitor center so DD could get her Junior Ranger Badge booklet. We found out that there was a ranger program at 8:00 PM in the Lodge.



We headed back to the cabin. Before we left again, DH noticed something on the floor next to my side of the bed. Upon further inspection he determined it was a mouse trap. Unfortunately, it also had a dead mouse in it. We called maintenance to have it removed. Evidently, the cabins were just opened 2 weeks before from being closed up for the Winter. Housekeeping was supposed to keep an eye out for the traps. I guess our room got missed. Anyway, the mouse was eventually taken away. We went to eat dinner at the Deli In The Pines. Basically a fast food place to eat at the lodge. We had pizza. We then went out to enjoy the view and take in the sunset. We walked part way down the Bright Angel Point trail.



We went to climb some rocks off the trail to get a better view. While climbing back up the rock, I lost my balance and fell hard smack down on my knees. That wasn’t a good way to start this trip, I’ll tell you that. My knees were scraped, bruised and sore.







We walked back to the lodge where one of the hotel staff was making a fire in the huge outdoor fireplace. So we sat down to enjoy in an Adirondack chair. Which were also lined up in front the viewing wall on the patio.





Even with the fire, it was still cold. We went back to the cabin for a bit to warm up and ice my knees. After awhile, we decided to head up to the auditorium for the ranger program. I went to the gift shop to pick up the National Park Scrabble game and then went out to get some last photos of the sunset and got snowed on!





I went back inside and told DD it was snowing. She immediately went outside to see for herself. Meanwhile, DH and I had a nice chat with a couple from Charleston, SC. It turned out that they own property in Litchfield Beach, which is where we have gone to spend time with DH’s family at the beach. It’s a small world! We listened to the ranger program and DD got her Junior Ranger badge booklet signed. Afterwards, we went back to the cabin, played Scrabble, took some ibuprofen, and went to bed.

Next: What a view! Please click here for Day 3.

Last edited by disneyfaninaz; 06-17-2011 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:55 PM   #4
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How were the crowds?
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Old 06-11-2011, 02:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyfaninaz View Post
Sometimes we had overlooks all to ourselves.
That is wonderful.

I like the cliff pictures. I haven't been through the desert southwest in a few years and it's nice to see them.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Day 6 - Continued

We decided to drive directly to Sunset Point. This is the main overlook for Bryce Canyon.









From Sunset point you can see some of the famous landmarks of Bryce Canyon as well as many trails.

Wallstreet



Thors Hammer



The Ranger Program was going to be at Sunset Point at 11:30 AM. The topic of Geology. We stayed for the ranger program which was very interesting. If you are ever asked what makes the rocks at Bryce Canyon the color they are, just answer iron. Iron was the answer for everything. The ranger asked us to look at the hoodoos like we look at clouds to see what shapes we saw. Unfortunately, because the rocks are ever changing, Bryce no longer names the formations. But that doesnt keep us from naming them. The talk was delayed for a few minutes as some tourists kept asking the ranger to be in their pictures. After DD got her Junior Ranger Badge booklet signed, we decided to go get some lunch. The Bryce Canyon Lodge wasnt a far walk, so we walked there.





Lunch was very good. DD and Elk Chili, which she said was delicious. We stopped at the gift shop and did some shopping. During lunch DD and DH decided that they were going to take the Navajo Loop trail down to Wallstreet.











I wasnt feeling up to along hike, so I walked along the rim trail to Sunrise Point.













Queen Victoria



I walked back towards Sunset point, hoping to get some pictures of DD and DH in the canyon, but they ended up not walking down that far and met me halfway.







Next: The rest of day 6.

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Old 06-23-2011, 02:08 PM   #8
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Day 6 - Completed

We then decided to move on and drove to Bryce Point (8300 ft.) The walk, uphill, to Sunrise Point really did me in and I was starting not to feel good. I had to use my inhaler as I felt I couldn’t catch my breath. I just walked to the overlook, but didn’t climb up to Bryce Point.









We took a short drive to Paria View (8175 ft.)



We then drove to Inspiration Point (8100 ft.)







We then made it to the Visitor Center and DD got her Junior Ranger Badge. DH and DD did some shopping, while I sat down for awhile.

There was one more overlook outside the park that we hadn’t seen yet, so we drove to Fairyland Point (7758 ft.)







We then headed back to the hotel where I immediately climbed into bed and slept. While I was napping, DH took DD swimming but it was extremely windy. DH and DD also went back to the rock shop, while I continued to rest. After my nap, I was actually feeling worse. DH went up the road a bit to the Subway and got sandwiches for himself and DD and brought back soup for me. The soup helped a bit. What I didn't know at the time, and test results revealed after we got home, I was suffering from a hyperactive thyroid and my pulse rate was higher than normal.

Our original plan was to go back into the canyon for sunset and then go back for the star gazing program. Instead, at about 8:00 PM, I felt well enough to go back to Sunset Point for some sunset shots and to look for wildlife.

On the way into the park, we spotted this pronghorn in the meadow.



We got to Sunset Point just as the last light was hitting the tops of the hoodoos.











Then we caught more pronghorns and deer on the way back to the hotel. Needless to say, we unfortunately, did not make the star gazing program.







We took it easy for the rest of the evening and called it a night.

Day 7 - Just one more stop.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:31 PM   #9
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I am enjoying your TR. We did this exact same trip last year but over a 2 week period, so you definately covered a lot of ground in 7 days...

Which park was your family favorite? Our was Zion..
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZBeth View Post
I am enjoying your TR. We did this exact same trip last year but over a 2 week period, so you definately covered a lot of ground in 7 days...

Which park was your family favorite? Our was Zion..
Thanks for reading!

I wish we had more time, but we did see a lot. I have to agree with you that Zion was my favorite. However, I really enjoyed the North Rim as well.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:35 AM   #11
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WOW! I've been MIA for a little bit and you've finished your TR. Those are great pictures of Antelope Canyon. Only 200 pics? You must have been very restrained!


Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:35 AM   #12
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Now I have inspiration to visit Zion and Bryce. It has ruined my late summer planning to DLR. I want to go hike and camp now.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:49 AM   #13
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I just finished reading your TR... your photos of Antelope Canyon were great. That was our one disappointment of the trip (we stayed 2 nights at Lake Powell Lodge) was that we did not get to go to Antelope Canyon because the day before there had been a flash flood while tourist were in the Canyon, fortunately no-one was hurt!

We stayed at Best Western Grand too... we liked it alot and loved the large rooms after coming from the cramped rooms at Lake Powell Lodge.

Thanks for posting brough back good vacation memories!
Sorry you didn't get to see Antelope Canyon. It gives you a good excuse to go back again. Try going in early June before the rains come. I know flash floods can be very scary.

We really liked the Grand too and thought it was much more "quiet" than Ruby's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
WOW! I've been MIA for a little bit and you've finished your TR. Those are great pictures of Antelope Canyon. Only 200 pics? You must have been very restrained!


Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! I know, what was I thinking to have only taken 200! But, it's not the quantity, it's the quality, right!

Quote:
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Now I have inspiration to visit Zion and Bryce. It has ruined my late summer planning to DLR. I want to go hike and camp now.
I'm glad I inspired you. Hope you make it to Zion and Bryce soon.
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Old 06-27-2011, 04:57 PM   #14
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I just finished reading your TR... your photos of Antelope Canyon were great. That was our one disappointment of the trip (we stayed 2 nights at Lake Powell Lodge) was that we did not get to go to Antelope Canyon because the day before there had been a flash flood while tourist were in the Canyon, fortunately no-one was hurt!

We stayed at Best Western Grand too... we liked it alot and loved the large rooms after coming from the cramped rooms at Lake Powell Lodge.

Thanks for posting brough back good vacation memories!
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