Sunday, April 24, 2016

Zion, Bryce and Nature, Oh My!!!

There is something quite healing about nature.  It calms the soul, it refocuses the mind, it brings inner peace ... ooohhhmmmmm.

But this is not what came to mind when planning our "2016 Girls Trip" to Southern Utah this year. We wanted adventure, memories and all the challenge that (almost)-50-year-old ladies could handle! And that's exactly what we got!  Rather than bore you with all the stories and belly laughter that happened on this trip, I'm going to pass along some how-tos about traveling to Zion and Bryce Canyons for YOUR trip of a lifetime.

1.  Plan at least a long weekend to hit both canyons.  We stayed two nights at the Desert Pearl Inn  in Zion and The Lodge at Bryce Canyon in Bryce.   We made our reservations about three months before we traveled.  Book early, the lodges fill up quickly!

 2.  Hike as much as you can.  Zion offers more hiking than Bryce, which is why we stayed two nights there.  Make time particularly for the Angel's Landing hike and the Observation Point hike, two of our favorites.  There are short and long hikes available to the visitors,  so do your homework and pick what works best for your group.  We are preparing to return to the Narrows hike in July.

 3.  Transportation within Zion National Park is done only by tram.  Whether you camp or stay in a lodge, keep in mind you won't be using your car much. What a treat!  These trams were convenient and ran from sun up to sundown.

 4.  If possible, take along an expert guide!  Lisa, our dear college roomie has been to both canyons numerous times and her information was invaluable.  Talk to people who have done the park.  Read up on social media.  It was nice to come knowing which hikes we were doing in advance.

5.  Pack appropriately.  You won't need heels, skirts or makeup on this adventure, but pack for quick changes in weather.  The vest I brought was the perfect outer layer to keep me warm after we summited Angel's Landing.  I was sweating on the way up, but cold on the way down.  Layers are your friend.

 6.  Bring cards!  We were pooped each night as we returned from our hikes, but card games kept the fun going and the laughter coming into the evening after dinner.  The Desert Pearl Inn "river" rooms face a beautiful babbling brook and emerald-green lawn with adirondack chairs for lounging and visiting.  All of these amenities make for splendid chill session at the end of a long day.

6.  Keep your iphone close by for spectacular scenery photos.  Ah-mazing.  

 7.  Be friendly!  There are people visiting the Southern Utah national parks from all over the world!  We met and made friends with travelers from New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark and France.  Don't be too shy to say a quick hello.  These folks have traveled around the world to see these sites -- let's represent our wonderful country with a polite greeting and a smiling face!  Interesting story, we said hello to a solo hiker who was sitting next to us on the tram to Angel's Landing-- saw him again when he was descening the trail -- saw him the next day at the lodge in Bryce -- and then again the next day on the Glen Canyon Dam bridge overlooking Lake Powell.  There are hundreds of thousands of adventure seekers on the same journey that you may be taking -- take the time to ask them about their adventure!

8.  Be accommodating.  Not every hiker is meant for every path.  Be aware of your limits and choose your hikes carefully.

9.  Stop and look down.  Or look up.  Don't rush your journey. The beauty is everywhere.  Enjoy...

10.  Leave a comment or email me with any questions.  I'm by no means an expert in these parks, but I can surely direct you to a good source for more information on Zion and Bryce!  Namaste.  

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