Back in my middle school days, my parents took my family on trip to Utah, Arizona and Colorado. “Well, it’s no Disney World,” I thought to myself quickly before my thoughts drifted back to the important topics on my mind at the time … like the mall and pre-algebra homework.
Oh, and my parents made me do a hike where you literally had to hang onto a chain while pulling yourself up rocks. “Child labor, anyone? Like, am I right?” 12-year-old me half-sarcastically asked myself .
Anyway, although middle-school me had to wear SPF 1,000,000 and a giant sun hat due to the side effects of some medicine I had to have emergency-called into a pharmacy out West (different story for a different day), I ended up having a really great time.
But, last week, I had the chance to visit Utah and Arizona again, and this time I came equipped with something better than my sunscreen and giant desert hat. Instagram.
OK, I’m sort of kidding. I ended up putting my phone away for a lot of of the trip to try to enjoy the amazing sights around me. (Honestly, I was just afraid of dropping my precious iPhone into a lake or right off the side of a cliff.)
I landed in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, went two hours away to Zion National Park on Thursday and Friday, drove about three hours to Arizona on Saturday, contracted food poisoning Sunday morning, (you were great while you lasted, In-N-Out) and headed back to Vegas late Sunday night.
If I did it all over again, I’d push everything back to give myself another day in Utah to revisit Bryce National Park, but overall, I was pleased with the itinerary.
I’ll probably have a ton more to share, but here are some photos of my trip,
Angels Landing was my favorite hike back in the day and is still my favorite today. This is the one with the chains on the rocks. Such amazing views and just absolutely huge mountains. During our mid-October visit, there was a lot of green in addition to the vastness of the rocks and mountains.
I’m training for my first half marathon in a few weeks (!!!) and was nervous that I didn’t plan any runs during my excursion. However, I still got quite the quad workout (werkout, as I like to call it) from The Narrows. We hiked roughly four miles through a river in a slot canyon. While some of the hike was bank to bank, a lot of it was simply trudging through water – sometimes up to my chest – with walls on both sides. So nuts.
The experience was so unique (except for all the other people doing it, it was pretty crowded). Definitely recommend.
We rented dry pants, socks and shoes from Zion Adventure Company right outside the park. I still got wet, but the equipment definitely helped and the staff could not have been more helpful.
We switched to an upper-body werkout for the third day, kayaking Lake Powell. If the kayak rental company asks, NO, WE DIDN’T GET LOST FOR TWO EXTRA HOURS ON A LAKE … Kayaking through canyons was really cool, and we ended up being on the lake for about six hours.
After the kayak, we headed to the tourist trap known as Horseshoe Bend. I’ve seen some of the most amazing professional photos here, but since I was just shooting with an iPhone, it was hard to capture the water in the depth of the canyon. Although it was packed, it was such a short hike and an amazing view, so I definitely recommend it. It was a bucket list item, for sure.
And check out how amazingly clear the water at Lake Powell was …
We had originally planned to go from Page, Arizona to Bryce National Park to our flight in Vegas, but it was too long of a day. Instead, we visited one of my favorite spots from my childhood trip: Antelope Canyon. We did the lower end, and you have to go in with a tour guide. Ours knew her stuff. She was so helpful and knew all the photo tricks. While my photos will never properly show the erosion and power of the water that carved the canyon, I could stare at these pictures all day. The creations in the canyon are breathtaking.
After this, we headed back to the airport to wrap up a truly breathtaking trip. More photos on Instagram @oliviawitherite.