Our time in Utah has been great, and it's time for a recap. Starting off, we visited St. George. This was our last stop in what I call "civilization" for quite a while. By "civilization", I mean that the town/city has a Chick-Fil-A and a Walmart nearby. And St. George definitely met these two criteria. It was here that we visited our first of the "Big 5" National Parks. Zion National Park is known for its towering cliffs and mountains, and we definitely saw a lot of that! However, looking back at all of the 5 Utah National Parks, Zion was our least favorite, and here's why: Crowds. We arrived at the visitor's center to board a bus to go into the heart of Zion, we found ourselves waiting in a 1.5 hour line. Our after-shuttle-bus experience was still great. We ate lunch by a creek, hiked to a waterfall, and enjoyed some amazing scenery! If you don't already know, Zion is known for its sheer rock faces and mountainous terrain.
While staying in St. George, I also got to go on a "hike" with Nate near our campground. I put quotation marks on the word hike because we were technically trekking in wild woods without a trail. Our reason for this hike was because I wanted to film some scenes in the woods. So Nate and I followed a creek down about a third of a mile, climbing down rock ledges and trying to keep the filming equipment from falling in the creek. Finally we came to where we realized the dreadful (ok, not dreadful), truth: We'd have to cross the creek without a bridge/log. After searching for the best place to cross, I jumped in and ferried Nate and our filming equipment across. We did get some good filming in for sure. I'll remember this experience for a while, and I believe Nate will too.
Another truly spectacular experience we had in St. George was going to Snow Canyon. This is a state park that's lesser known, but still very appealing and unique. It was here that we were able to hike to see where settlers in the 1800s wrote their names on rock in axle grease. After this, we hiked to some caves where Nate and I enjoyed exploring around. There was one cave that we decided not to go into because we didn't have flashlights. It appeared (by the description on the sign) to go for a long while underground! On this hike was where we saw our first wild gila monster. If you don't know what a gila monster is, it's a very large, poisonous lizard. As we were hiking, my mom suddenly called out to me, I looked down, and quickly jumped back. The gila monster was just walking along only 3 feet away from us! Something else that we enjoyed doing was rock scrambling, especially at a slot canyon that was in Snow Canyon. Snow Canyon State Park truly had it all.
St. George was a source of yet another great place to go to: Pioneer Park. Pioneer Park is truly a natural playground. It's full of rock slopes, holes, crevices and even a slot canyon! We had a really fun time on this outing, and I definitely enjoyed the entire experience.
After staying in St. George, we traveled to Glendale. It was here that we went to Bryce Canyon National Park for the first time. Each of the National Parks is very unique. Bryce Canyon was no exception. It's known for its hoodoos. Hoodoos are tall spire like natural structures that are the product of erosion. And Bryce Canyon is full of them! We hiked about halfway into the canyon, and enjoyed some awesome scenery. Sadly, the rain prevented us from doing much more sightseeing, but what we did see was definitely breathtaking.
While in Glendale, my mom and I got the chance to go back to Zion from the other side. It was here that we were able to enjoy a lot more of Zion, because significantly less people visit the other side. We did a few hikes, and even witnessed a small herd of bighorn sheep crossing the road less than 30 feet in front of us! We definitely liked that side of Zion much better than the other side.
Another experience that we really enjoyed doing while staying in Glendale was visiting the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Many posts ago I recounted our adventures at White Sands National Park. That was really fun, but Coral Pink Sand Dunes trumps all of the dunes in White Sands. We rented sleds from the state park and waked to a (again, this is a Merchant family estimate), 100 foot tall sand dune, and enjoyed sledding down it for a few hours!
We spent Easter in Glendale. Because it is a small town, we had to look further out to find a church. Finally, we found one about 40 minutes north of us in a place called Duck Creek Village. It's important that I say north, because of what I'm about to tell you. We left Glendale in 60 degree weather, and arrived in Duck Creek Village in 29 degree weather, with a frozen lake and at least a foot and a half of snow. Check out the drastic change in the pictures below. We were astounded. It was here that we visited Aunt Sue's Chalet after the service, and to learn more about it, go back a few posts ago to "Stories Behind the Pictures: Part 2".
Utah is a truly remarkable state, and we've really enjoyed being in it. And really, it just keeps getting better and better. Stay tuned for Utah Rocks: Part 2!
Will is 14, and enjoys running track, writing,