Our Rockin’ Canyon Tour ~ A GC/Zion/Bryce NP Trip Report ~ w/ PICS ~ Completed!

Discussion in 'California & the West Trip Reports' started by disneyfaninaz, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    I am so sorry, I don't know where my mind was. Please indulge me as I backtrack to the Grand Canyon.

    Day 3 - What a view!
    Monday, May 30, 2011

    It was my intention to get up and catch sunrise over the canyon, however, I didn’t sleep well and just couldn’t get myself out of bed. However, DH is an early riser and went out for walk. The rest of us got up at a regular time and headed to the Lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, I went to the back of the Lodge to get some pictures. It didn’t snow enough for any accumulation, but there were signs that it had snowed. There was also more snow on the San Francisco Peaks, Mt. Humphreys.

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    The wind had also died down this morning.

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    Around 9:00 AM we got into the car and drove to the far overlooks of the North Rim. We drove through burn out areas again.

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    Our first stop was Point Imperial, which is the highest point of the canyon rim at 8803 feet.

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    We then drove to the Visa Encantada overlook.

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    The next stop was Roosevelt Point.

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    I took a walk down the short trail,

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    I took some pictures of the flora.

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    and a geological marker,

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    The next stop was Wahalla Overlook. It is one of the lowest points at the canyon and you can see the Colorado River as it meanders through the canyon.

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    next: Day 3 continued - click here
     
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  3. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    The last stop was Cape Royal. We decided to have our picnic lunch here. However, DD thought it was too cold, so we ate in the car. After lunch, we walked to the “Wedding Area.” It is a little known area with a great view so we were by ourselves.

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    There is a trail at Cape Royal that takes to a point with the best views at the whole canyon. There is also a great view of Angels Window. You can also walk on top of it.

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    Our last stop before returning to the Lodge was Greenland Lake and restored Salt Cabin.

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    We then headed back to the Lodge for some relaxation before dinner.

    DH went to the 4:30 Ranger Program on the California Condors, while DD and I rested in the cabin. After the program, we took DD to the Visitor Center so she could get her Junior Ranger badge. We then headed to dinner.

    After dinner, we went out to the end of Bright Angel Point trail. We didn’t go all the way down this trail yesterday because of the wind and because I fell, so we decided to do it tonight. We timed it just before sunset.

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    After sunset it was time to head back to the cabin and start packing and relax for the night. I downloaded some photos while DH read and DD watched her DVD. Then it was lights out.

    I have now been to both the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, and I just have to say that I prefer the north rim. It is less hectic, more relaxing and has more stunning views.

    You can now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
     
  4. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Wendy - great updates. I love the pictures of Zion and Bryce. I only have prints; not digital...which is a sign of how long it is since I last visited. That Weeping Rock walk is different in early spring. I spent lots of time looking at the wild columbines that grow there and also cascade down the weeping rock.
     
  5. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Once again we all slept in this morning. A tour bus had rolled in the evening before and they were all eating breakfast early. We headed down for breakfast at about 8:30. Who should we happen to meet, but the couple from South Carolina that we met at the Grand Canyon. They had spent the day before at Bryce Canyon and were one their way to Capitol Reef National Park. They recommended a hike into the canyon and were on their way.

    We loaded up the car and headed into Bryce Canyon a little after 9:00 AM. It was another very windy day. We stopped at the Visitor Center to confirm times for Ranger Programs and headed on. We headed down the Southern part of the park. Our first stop was going to be Rainbow Point.

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    It was the highest elevation, at over 9100 ft., we had been at all week and there was actually some snow on the ground near the parking lot. It was windy and around 41 degrees.

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    We then drove to Blackbirch Canyon (8750 ft.),

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    Then, Ponderosa Point (8904 ft.),

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    Next was Aqua Canyon (8800 ft.),

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    Then onto Natural Bridge (8627 ft.)

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    Fairview Point (8819 ft.)

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    From Fairview Point we took a short trial out to Piracy Point.

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    Next - Day 6 continued
     
  6. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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

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

    Wallstreet

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    Thors Hammer

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    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.

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    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.

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

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    Queen Victoria

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    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.

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    Next: The rest of day 6.
     
  7. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    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.

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

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    We then drove to Inspiration Point (8100 ft.)

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    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.)

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    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. :sick: 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.

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

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    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.

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

    Day 7 - Just one more stop.
     
  8. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Friday, June 3, 2011
    4 hours and 40 minutes drive time.

    I woke up feeling much better. We slept in this morning but we had to be on the road by 9:30 AM as we had a tour reserved for 11:30 AM in Page. It was going to take over 2 hours to drive to Page, but we were gaining an hour crossing the state line. We went down and had some breakfast, loaded the car, checked out and was on the road right on time. We drove back out through Red Canyon.

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    It was a pretty uneventful drive on highway 89 back to Kanab. We stopped for a break in Kanab at the McDonalds. DH ordered an egg McMuffin that took forever to get. We ended up staying a bit longer than we would have liked before we were finally on our way to Page. We continued on highway 89 until we reached Page. We had a tour scheduled at Antelope Canyon Tours to tour the Upper Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon on the Navajo Indian Reservation. The sandstone canyon was formed from water. We arrived with just enough time to get parked, check in, and use the facilities. Based on the number of people waiting for a tour, the canyon was going to be very crowded. While we were waiting to board a truck, a tour bus arrived full of foreign tourists. It turned out they were on the 11:30 AM tour as well. There were 14 of us on each truck. We were driven about 20 minutes to the canyon. We drove along a sandy river bed until we reached the entrance. I always thought you had to cliimb down into it, but you walk right in.

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    We arrived in these trucks.

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    I had seen pictures of Antelope Canyon, but it doesnt prepare you for when you actually see it.

    We purposely chose the 11:30 tour so that we would see the canyon with the sun shining directly down into it. We were not disappointed. The only thing that I was not prepared for was the narrowness of the canyon and how many people were crammed inside. There were a couple of places in the canyon where 2 people could barely stand side by side. While we were heading into the canyon, earlier tours were heading out. Also, we had 11 foreign tourists in our group that did not speak or seem to understand any English. As we walked through the canyon, the tour guide would throw dust in the air so you could see the light as it streamed down. All the people in our tour would try to get in position and stop every few steps to take pictures and plug up the works. As much as I would have liked to use my tripod, it was nearly impossible. However, I did manage to take a little over 200 pictures. Here is just a sampling going through the canyon.

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    Here is the other side of the 1/4 mile long slot canyon.

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    And, heres going back through.

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    15 minutes after we were supposed to leave the canyon, the remainder of our tour made it out the other side. We drove back to Page where we went to have lunch. We had put on sunscreen before going in the trucks (not sure how much sun we were going to get), and all the dust stuck to us. I couldnt believe how much dirt came off when is use a Wet One to clean up. We then went to the dam visitor center, that is the Glen Canyon Dam Visitor Center. We decided against the dam tour, but looked around the dam bookstore. We took some pictures of the dam.

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    We then went up to a scenic overlook and took pictures of Lake Powell.

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    Right outside of Page is the Horseshoe Bend overlook. It is a magnificent view of the Colorado River going around a rock monolith. It was my original plan to go see it. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a hike in soft dirt and none of us were up to it. DH promised we would come back the next time we came up to Flagstaff. Morning would be better for light anyway.

    By this time it was after 3:00 so we decided to head down to Flagstaff. We stopped at the Cameron Trading Post for some ice cream and a break. We got to Flagstaff at about 6:00 PM. We got our room, unloaded our luggage and walked across the street to Bun Huggers for dinner. After dinner, DH took DD swimming. We then watched as 2 tour busses pulled up in the parking lot full of what appeared to be high school aged kids coming back from Disneyland. We got a note under our door that breakfast was going to be very crowded until about 8:00 AM. No problem, none of us had any intention of getting up that early! We then vegged out for the night.

    Next - Going home.
     
  9. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Saturday, June 4, 2011
    2 Hours and 25 minutes drive time.

    We slept in since we had no where we had to be and went down for breakfast around 9:00 AM. We packed up and checked out at 10:00 AM. We drove straight through without stopping and pulled into our driveway at 12:15 PM.

    Looking back on the trip, I really wish I had felt better. Despite that, we saw some incredible sights and amazing natural wonders.

    That is the end of my trip report. I hope you enjoyed it and inspired you to visit any of these parks one day. :wave2:
     
  10. AZBeth

    AZBeth Mouseketeer

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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..
     
  11. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    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.
     
  12. AZBeth

    AZBeth Mouseketeer

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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!
     
  13. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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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! :lmao:


    Thanks for sharing.
     
  14. skiingfast

    skiingfast <font color=teal>Has had no bacon<br><font color=b

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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.
     
  15. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    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.

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

    I'm glad I inspired you. Hope you make it to Zion and Bryce soon.
     
  16. Kirby

    Kirby DIS Veteran

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    Gorgeous pictures! I'm going to the Grand Canyon South Rim for the first time and am very excited about it. I've been able to book room at the Kachina Lodge. Looks like I'm going to have to get me a new camera! ;)
     
  17. skiingfast

    skiingfast <font color=teal>Has had no bacon<br><font color=b

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    It's something I feel I should do on the way to DLR. Always go down I-15 and think they are almost just off the freeway. I just need to take the time and do a longer trip. Maybe more pictures will help.
     
  18. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    I'll see what I can do! ;)
     
  19. DisneyMomma81

    DisneyMomma81 DIS Veteran

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    Joining in a bit late but.... early Oct last year was plenty warm. in S UT - I took my DH *goodness back then just my boyfriend* on this same National Parks tour - I really impressed the Brit ;) He enjoyed Zion the best.

    OP ~ fantastic fotos *aren't we lucky to live so close to these beautiful places?? Have you been to Arches/Canyon Lands NPs? Those are DS's favorites.

    As I said ~ I took DH last Oct *2010* and we took the kids + my mom to the same parks *Bryce was covered in snow, Zion was lovely and the North Rim was still closed* in March of this year. We also visited Yellowstone & Grand Teton *they're really close to us here towards the top of UT.
     
  20. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Thanks! Yes we are! We also enjoyed Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. We were tossing around a possible trip farther north into Utah to see Arches/Canyon Lands NP in the next year or so. It looks like lovely country.
     
  21. iHEARTflorida

    iHEARTflorida DIS Veteran

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    I'm making my way through ur TR's disneyfaninaz! We did a pretty similiar trip back in 2010..takes me back.

    I think I took around 200+ of Antelope Canyon alone too! It's crazy how many people they let through it at one time, amazing sight though!

    It's a shame you missed Horseshoe Bend, it's definitely something. I was hoping while you were in Zion, you ate at Oscar's in Springdale, if you ever go back Oscar's is a must!! Great food.
     

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