Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gorgeous Gorges Trip, Day 3

Spring Break, Day 3
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Kanab to Cannonville, UT
Bryce Canyon National Park and Kodachrome Basin State Park

We started the day off with an early morning hike on Squaw Trail in Kanab. We hadn't done so well with letterboxing up till now, but this 2 mile hike to a great box with a quality carve made up for that! Kanab has such beautiful red rock mountains surrounding it - the kind that you can just stare at and wish you were up there. It wasn't too strenuous of a hike, but it took us up high enough to get a good overlook of Kanab.

Why is Curtis so white?? Haha!

After finding the box, we went a bit further down the trail because it was just so lovely. It was also quite chilly for us though - we bundled up and brought hot drink with us. :)

After that, we continued on our trip North. Over the course of this trip, we learned another important fact about traveling between the parks in Utah: Just because you have 120 miles to drive does not mean you'll make it in 2 hours. While these highways are beautiful, quiet, and scenic, they also take time to drive, especially going up and around mountain ranges and down through canyons. Just be aware. :)

We loved the scenery on highway 12. We stopped in Red Canyon to find a couple letterboxes, but only ended up going after one due to all the snow on the South side of the road.

The hike to the letterbox took us along a frozen creek and up the side of a red mountain. We enjoyed the quiet area so much, we hiked a little further and enjoyed the sunshine.

As we were hiking back to our Jeep, we noticed that the creek that was frozen earlier was now running, so we rushed ahead and got to see the ice dam breaking! It wasn't anything huge, but it was exciting nonetheless. Curtis tried lots of angles with the GoPro to record the water in action. :)

After that, it was on to Bryce Canyon National Park! It was early- to mid-afternoon at this point, so we didn't plan on doing any hiking today. Instead, we first stopped at the Visitor's Center to ask about the trail conditions. As you can see from the pictures, there was quite a bit of snow, so we were hoping that we'd still be able to drive through the park and hike the trails. Fortunately, the entire road that ran to the end of the park was open, with only the campsites and one lookout closed. They told us that the Peek-a-Boo Trail would be passable, just muddy, icy, and snowy. We decided this might be a great opportunity to try Snow Shoeing, so we learned about where we could rent those. 

Scenic overlook from the end of Bryce Canyon

After that, we took the scenic drive all the way to the end of the road. We wandered off through the snow and found another quiet place to have lunch and enjoy the view. While the snow was over a foot deep in some places, the weather was actually very pleasant - perfect weather for hiking!

After lunch, we drove back through the park, this time stopping at nearly every single lookout point down the line. I have way too many pictures of this me, I'm really limiting myself with only sharing the following pictures. ;) While hiking in Bryce may be more difficult this time of year, this is certainly the best time to visit. The canyon is gorgeous in the snow - the white, orange, and green colors work together so well, and the snow makes all the evergreen trees and hoodoos stand out. I am so glad we were able to see the canyon in all its winter beauty!

A Natural Bridge

Hoodoos on hoodoos on hoodoos!

After our very long driving-and-stopping tour, we stopped at the snow shoe rental place to see how that worked. The price was reasonable, no overnight rentals, and they open at 7 am. The sunrise for the next morning was at 7:30, so we planned on being there right when it opened so that we could see a sunrise at Sunrise Point before beginning our day of hiking.

While driving to our hotel, we stopped to do a short hike to see a waterfall and an ice cave. These were both still on national park land, when heading East on highway 12.

The waterfall

Sadly, we found the ice cave to be lacking, due to the warmer temperatures. I only say it was lacking because next to the cave was an informational board with a picture of the cave being full of icicles like this one. While the weather may have been pleasant for us, it sure wasn't for the cave!

We continued on to our hotel in Cannonville, UT. Some friends of ours recommended we stay here - it is located about 20 miles East of Bryce Canyon, and VERY reasonably priced. It's called the Grand Staircase Inn, located in Cannonville right off of highway 12. The rooms are large with high ceilings, and the ground floor is a convenience store - they sell frozen pizza and will bake it for you for free, so we took advantage of that the second night. :) 

Usually when we travel, I book rooms through Expedia and just choose a cheap hotel where we're staying. This one does happen to be the least expensive in the area, and is one we'd really recommend to anyone going to Bryce Canyon!

We wanted to go somewhere scenic to watch the sunset that night, so after settling into the hotel room, Curtis did a little research and found that Kodachrome Basin State Park was only a short drive away from us. And so we took off once again to explore another beautiful spot!

Shakespeare Arch

We started off with a short hike to see Shakespeare Arch and other rock formations. We found this trail to be very muddy and tricky to get around in some areas. This was just a sneak peek at what our longer hike would be like the next day!

After that, we went to a trail that the Park Ranger recommended to hike to see the sunset. The trail was called Angel's Palace, and was about 3 easy miles long. 

We followed the trail up the hill, and once we were at a certain elevation, we were able to just wander around and check out all the overlooks. We enjoyed checking out all the viewpoints and finally choosing one to sit down at and watch the sunset. (We also had our GoPro out recording it - coming soon to our Youtube channel, savingtimeinabottle!) :)

The park itself was lovely. It had the red rocks and formations all around, but the higher mountains faded in color toward the top. There were patches of snow on the ground, but not up where we were. The clouds were also lovely that night! Ideal for a lovely sunset.

There goes the sun!

We hiked back to our Jeep quickly to beat the fading light, and drove back to the hotel.

We had brought our own skillet from home, so we made our own hotel room quesadillas for dinner that night. (Aside from the hotel convenience store, there are no restaurants in Cannonville!) We went to bed early, ready to get up early and see the sunrise!

Day 2 Wrap Up: Drove 120 miles, Hiked ~8 miles, Found 2 letterboxes
Highlight of today: Watching the ice dam break!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Jessica, I enjoyed reading about your journey. It seems like you guys enjoyed being there too. I wish I could plan a trip with my family soon. My planning is for France. After watching France Travel Videos, I just couldn't stop myself from thinking about being there in Paris. I hope I'll share about my experiences soon in my blog. Thanks for writing this interesting blog. Keep posting about your experiences.