After breakfast in the Rainbow Room of Lake Powell Resort we boarded our bus for the drive to Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. The weather had turned chilly with a light drizzle. Our tour guide had advised us the night before to have our sweaters and rain jackets handy. We were prepared and looking forward to seeing the spectacular vistas of Bryce Canyon.
On the way we stopped at Ruby’s Inn, Bryce Canyon City for lunch. There was an adjacent gift shop where I purchased two souvenirs, a sandstone rock carving and a Guide to the Parks of the Southwest, a picture book that would remind me of this trip and also help plan future trips. We then continued towards Bryce arriving around 2 pm ready for some hiking. Because of the rains some of the more strenuous trails were closed. That was fine with me. We were at a decent elevation, at places over 8000 feet and the trail sloped upwards. I walked slowly and carefully. No point in overexerting oneself.
Legend has it that the canyon was accidentally discovered when a farmer’s cow strayed into the canyon. The farmer, when he finally found it, had exclaimed, “this is one hell of a place to lose a cow in.” I could believe the sentiment though could not vouchsafe for the authenticity of the story. But, just look at the pictures. The multicolored “hoodoos” of intricately shaped rocks still cast a hoodoo (a spell) on visitors. It certainly cast a spell on me.
I slowly walked about a mile along the Rim Trail stopping at Sunrise, Sunset and Inspiration points that offer magnificent views of the vast amphitheater and the hoodoos. My camera was busy. It was cool and misty which added a whimsical touch to the setting, I thought. Occasionally the clouds parted and the colors would suddenly change to a glowing orange. How lovely this would look at sunrise and sunset! How would it look covered with snow? I would have to come back some day to find out. Too soon it was time to board the bus and head back to Bryce Canyon City where we would stay the night.
We stayed that night at the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand. We went out to grab a sandwich and beer for dinner and as we were walking back saw a beautiful rainbow, a nice bookend to a lovely day.
Next day we headed for Zion National Park. The drive was lovely, with pristine land and rock formations around us glowing in the morning sun. We were lucky to see a herd of pronghorn antelope grazing in the distance. The road led through a very narrow tunnel with literally inches to spare to get to Zion. We arrived and stopped for a quick lunch at the Zion Lodge. And then we set off to hike the famous Riverside Walk.
This walk is beside a stream that flows through the park. It ebbs and flows with the rains. But since it had rained the day before, it was flowing at a decent pace. I could hear it babbling in the distance. It reminded me of Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Brook”.
I looked all around at the giant, multi hued rocks around me as I walked up to the park shuttle that would take us to the Temple of Sinawava, the start point for the hike. The Riverside Walk trail winds along the river and was reasonably crowded. That was to be expected, it was peak tourist season. But everyone was walking in an orderly manner, courteous to other hikers. That was good. I saw tourists from abroad which indicated life was slowly returning to normal after the disruptions of the pandemic.
We reached the end of the trail, stopped to take a break, enjoy the scenery and take pictures. Then we headed back to our bus and were soon speeding along towards our last stop, Las Vegas.
The landscape soon changed to scrub and rock desert under a blazing hot sun as we approached Las Vegas. We were dropped off at Treasure Island for the last night of our tour. We said farewell to our capable coach driver Brian who had to leave immediately to prepare for his next trip. By now we all had developed a camaraderie with the other members of the tour. We chatted amiably at the final, farewell dinner as the wine flowed. We said good bye to our fellow travelers and our excellent tour guide Sven, who saw to our comfort and took care to explain everything we needed to know in great detail. On the bus he was also quite entertaining regaling us with jokes and anecdotes. I was glad I had chosen the Globus Journeys Canyon Country Adventure tour. I was quite satisfied.
Then my son and I stepped out for a walk in Las Vegas. It was hot outside and I was glad I was in shorts. We strolled along taking in the sights; the lights, the hotels, the flow of thrill seekers. I was told people watching would be entertaining. It certainly was. It was the start of Labor Day weekend and Las Vegas was packed. After a while we had had enough and were ready to head back to our hotel and bed. It had been a long day.
Next morning we woke early. My son had an early flight to catch. I saw him off, then headed for breakfast. After a shower and shave I left for the airport for my own flight home. I was back by evening. The only hiccup was American Airlines had misplaced my check in suitcase but it was eventually found and safely delivered to my house the next day.
Back home I went through my many, many photos deciding which ones to keep and which ones to discard. Tough choices. As I write these blog posts my mind goes back to the trip with my son, a very pleasant father-son bonding experience and a relaxing vacation. Seeing these places was on my bucket list for a very long, long time. I can finally cross it off.
Where should I go next, I wonder. Some places occasionally flit through my mind…
End of Canyon Country Escapade travelogue.