Mountains. Trees. Snow. Three things I was seriously missing.
New Mexico and Arizona were lots of fun, and full of things to do. But when we came into Utah, I felt my happy place coming back to me.
We spent our first several days in New Harmony, parked in a friend’s driveway. How exciting for us to see a very large group of friends who came down from Fairbanks to compete in the Las Vegas Spartan Race.
We enjoyed hanging out and admiring an amazing view of Zion National Park. Jason enjoyed getting into the local Crossfit box and working out with friends again. While Josie enjoyed having a house full of 16 people all at her beck and call. She was quite obviously thrilled to have so many people to love on her! Not to mention, no banana stood a chance with her around!
While parked at our friend’s place, we managed to get out and enjoy Zion. Jason went with everyone to hike the famous 5.4 mile, Angel’s Landing Trail, which is by far one of their most dangerous hikes. This is not a trail for the inexperienced hiker. In fact, only 3 from the group actually went all the way to the top, as many were not inclined to face the last .5 mile along a knife-edge ridgeline with 500 ft drops on either side.
After our friends headed back north, Jason and I stuck around a few more nights. We explored Kolob Canyon, and although it was high elevation and quite chilly, the sights were magnificent.
The next day we went to the southern entrance of Zion. We first enjoyed a 3.5 mile stroll along the Pa’rus Trail to Canyon Junction. Although it was not the most exciting trail, it was the only one where Josie was able to join us.
Next came the 6 mile scenic drive through Zion. In winter, visitors are allowed to drive this stretch of road all the way through the canyon to the beginning of the Narrows Trail head. We managed impeccable timing, 4 days after our visit, all visitors would be required to take the shuttle bus for the rest of the season.
We also took a cruise along the 10 mile Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and Tunnel that was built to provide a shorter route to Bryce Canyon. The zig zag switchbacks which allow for expansive views are just as impressive as the tunnel itself. This was quite positively the longest tunnel I have ever driven through.
Although this highway connected to Bryce Canyon which was our next stop, we did not pull the camper through since there are restrictions on size and it would cost $15 for traffic control.
So we decided on a different route as we headed on down the road towards Bryce Canyon National Park.