Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The week with Mom (Part 1)

Shannon, Thomas, Amy and Diane

 This was our busiest week of the trip, with Amy's Mother and Sister (Diane and Shannon) joining us for a jaunt across the Central Western States, zig-zagging from National Park to National Park. This landscape was full of surprises, landscapes of unbelievable proportions and small friendly desert towns. This was a busy week planned down to the second, so it was nice for the week to just go with the flow and drive where I was told. Diane did a excellent job of cramming so much into the week but after the week it was nice to revert back to our casual less planned wanderings of the country.

Zion Canyon
The first trip we ventured from Las Vegas to the Hover Dam, just and hour or so away, doubled by traffic unfortunately. Quite the impressive structure, but I was expecting it to be bigger. Departing our pyramid hotel we headed for Utah, to Zion National Park. Having had a big and busy experience in Vegas this was an appreciated transition back to nature. We got to Zion perfect timing for a picnic, graced below towering canyon walls cut through the red Navajo Sandstones. Using the Parks bus service we shuttled around the park for small walks, sights and to reach the head of the canyon where it narrows to a slot canyon only meters wide and hundreds tall, with a small creek flowing through. This the driving creator of the canyon over millions of years! Again we had stumbled upon a place like no where we have ever been before. A colourful towering predominance above with a light cover of greenery blanketing the valley floor.

Bryce Canyon Hoodoos
Heading that afternoon out of the park leading along a stunning drive that continued everyday for the following weeks. The next day in Bryce Canyon National Park, the surprise gem of the trip. Have you heard of Bryce? . . . We had not either! Have you heard of a hoodoo? . . . you might recognise them from the odd western film. Anyway, a cool start to the morning below 0°C high up on the Paunsaugunt Plateau, these fluctuating temperatures is how the hoodoos formed. Driving ourselves this time we follow the amphitheater rim stopping at endless views of the strangest, brightest, colourful orange landscape, questioning how such unique formations come to being. We took the most rewarding 3 hour walk down right into the hoodoos, snaking down around and through. This day was completely unexpected, just another dot on the map, but something truly spectacular!

Getting amongst the hoodoos

Our first sighting of the Grand Canyon
 Really getting our zig-zag on now we headed south back into Arizona, and today being my brithday, and the way to spend it, at the Grand Canyon! We cruised in and were initially just blown away with the grandeur of the chasm beyond. Layer after layer of rock beds disappearing so deep down to the turquoise river far below. Amy and I took a walk meandering on the crater rim walkway, a track that really just hangs to the edge of the cliff.

My Birthday beers

Crater rim walkway
  I would have loved to head down into the canyon but unfortunately not the time on our schedule. They said lots of people die each year trying to get to the bottom in one day, that's about what I would have liked to do, so guess that's good I didn't try. We sat with our legs dangling over the cliff and I had a bottle or two of my birthday beers. Some fantastic IPAs, sitting in the sun at a remarkable place. We went out later to view the sunset followed by a really nice dinner. And I got a fossil for my birthday too!!!


to be continued......


  1. You need to "spell check" Thomas. Todays words are "Chasm" not casim and "Schedule" not schedual. And those are only the two that jumped out at me.
    Sorry Thomas. Its really interesting reading up about your trip. We really loved all the photos on facebook so now have the story to go with them. Keep it up.

  2. Hey Im really impressed with your literary skills Thomas!!