Aug & Sep 2012 – Grand Canyon, etc. – Trip Report

Photos

Saturday, Aug 25

(This is the same I posted on the website during the trip)

We Made It!

We had a pretty good, though long, first day of the trip. The car to the airport arrived a bit early. With the very light traffic, it was 6:15 in the morning after all, we made it to the airport in plenty of time. We even had a decent breakfast before going though security as the offerings once past at Newark’s terminal B are pretty poor. Our flight was pretty full, but left on time and arrived in Minneanopolis 20 or so minutes early. This was nice as our connection as scheduled was a bit tight at 49 minutes. We did have an issue in that we somehow messed up our seat selections for this leg. (Kyle and I were on one reservation while Suzanne was on another due to number of frequent flyer miles we each had.) Instead of sitting three across, Kyle and I were in one row in the window and middle seats and Suzanne was in the row behind in the window seat. The lady in the aisle seat very kindly offered to swap. (I wasn’t even going to ask as she was traveling with someone across the aisle, but she offered and insisted.)

We arrived in Las Vegas right on schedule. After getting our bags, we managed to get our rental car, a nice Chevy Malibu, right about when I had expected. On our way out of town, we stopped by Wal-Mart for lunch at McDonald’s, kind of grungy one, and some supplies.

Heading down Route 66

We were then really on our way, down over the new bridge by the Hoover Dam and into Arizona. After a brief stop in Kingman, we headed up Route 66. It was kind of cool to see some of the old places along it. Parts of it really are in the middle of nowhere, at least for us Easteners. Part way down, we stopped at the Hackberry General Store. This was certainly worthwhile for some kitsch and some good photos of lots of historic “junk”. Then it was back in the car for the hour drive to Seligman along some of the straightest stretch of road I’ve ever seen. (I swear it was 10+ miles without a turn.)

Hackberry General Store

Seligman is a cute little town where Rt 66 intersects back with Interstate 40. (Rt 66 takes a big loop between Kingman and Seligman while I-40 does it in a straight shot.) We checked into our very nice room at the Canyon Lodge. (Funnily enough run by a gentleman from Freiburg, Germany, who was born in Mainz. Mainz is just outside of Frankfurt, so quite close to Marburg.) He recommended a great place for dinner which I had planned on going to anyway (Westside Lilo’s). The food was very good. (I had the Weinerschnitzl. Their chef was from Weisbaden, also right outside Frankfurt.)

Route 66 Gas Pump

Also interesting was the waitress was from Michigan and had lived in Ypsilanti and Manchester, two towns right next to Ann Arbor where we lived while I was in grad school at MSU. Even better, Kyle was in a bit of a mood. (To be fair, it was getting on 10:30 Eastern time and he had been up since 5:45.) The only kid’s meal that wasn’t available was pancakes, which, of course, he wanted. They actually made a special dinner-plate sized one for him. (I’m not 100% sure they even charged us for it.) One thing we found very interesting about the town is the number of foreigners. At dinner, there was an Italian group, a German family, possibly another German family, and a French, I think, couple. At the hotel, there is a group of older motorcyclists whose language I don’t recognize. I find this pretty cool.

Sunday, Aug 26

Kyle at the Grand Canyon

(Sunday and Monday were written the night of Aug 27.)

As some of you know, Suzanne had been wanting to go to the Grand Canyon for quite some time. We had been planning to go in 2000, but ended up heading to Europe instead. Then with my postdoc in Marburg and wanting to wait until Kyle was older, it got put off. Finally, yesterday was the day. After breakfast at our hotel, we packed up the car. Before heading out of town, we visited a few of the shops, buying a couple of t-shirts. The drive to the Grand Canyon was actually a bit less than we anticipated, so combined with our earlier than expected start, we arrived around 10:30.

Rainbow at Powell Point

We first hit the main Visitors Center, got Kyle’s Junior Ranger booklet, and watched the movie about the canyon. (This was very well done.) After this, it was a short walk out to Mather Point and our first view of the canyon in all its glory and majesty. What can I say? It’s incredibly spectacular and immense. People say it’s hard to really get a feel for the canyon from photos, and it’s really true as everywhere you look from your left to your right, it’s there. After spending some time there, we headed to our hotel, Maswik Lodge, for lunch as they have a decent cafeteria. We asked about checking in and the clerk expected it to be too early, but checked and was surprised our room was ready. After eating lunch, we headed to our room. It’s perfectly fine. A bit “dated” compared to a lot of hotels, but very nice for National Park lodging. We emptied the car and headed out for more canyon.

After the storm

Grand Canyon National Park operates a few shuttle buses. The red route is the key one. This runs from Grand Canyon Village out to Hermit’s Rest as no cars are allowed on this stretch. Our lodge was a 5-10 minute walk from the start of this shuttle, so it was very convenient. (In fact, from this aspect, I think Maswik is better situated than many of the rim lodges. Of course, with those, you’re right on the rim.) I had decided we should hike from this stop to the next stop, Trailview Overlook. This was nice as we got to experience the canyon rim away from the crowds a bit. This part of the Rim Trail is paved, though it was steep in a couple of sections. After going down to the viewpoint itself, we headed back up for the bus, taking it to Powell Point. We had hoped to hike from Mohave Point to the Abyss, but it was threatening rain at this point. Instead, he hopped the bus at Hopi Point and rode all the way to Hermit’s Rest. This was an interesting stop. We got to watch as a thunderstorm approached from across the canyon. While it was raining, it wasn’t pouring yet. We decided to head back to the bus stop for the return trip. We got lucky as there was a bus right there. On the trip back, we ended up going a torrential downpour. We were happy not to be out in it. After, the most spectacular thing happened as a rainbow appeared. We could see the full arc. At one point, the view opened and the rainbow extended into the canyon. I can’t put in words this sight. (I would have loved to get a photo, but it wasn’t really possible. At least I have the memory.) When the bus pulled into Powell Point, a number of us hopped off the bus to get photos of the rainbow. Suzanne and Kyle stayed on the bus and I missed getting back on and then missed the next. Instead, they waited for me at the Village stop.

Once we joined back together, we headed off towards the village to visit. Along the way, we hit the Kolb Studio, where the ranger gave Kyle a cute tiny “reed” snake. We continued along visiting Lookout Studio, Bright Angel Lodge, the Tovar Hotel, Hopi House, and Verkamp’s Visitor Center. Throughout this walk, Kyle ended up using “Suzanne’s” camera to the point where she could not. Luckily, we had a solution for Monday. After finishing up at Verkamp’s, we hopped the blue shuttle bus back to the hotel. It was dinner, a few things in the room, and an early trip to bed. It’s hard to believe we did all that in a day.

Monday, Aug 27

Sunrise

I wasn’t sleeping very well and ended up waking up around 4:15. I had planned to get up around 5:00 anyway, so I just go up now. After getting ready, I headed out into the predawn dark, waking Kyle and Suzanne up in the process as our door sticks and has to be “slammed” to be closed. (The dozed longer, finally getting up at 6:15 just before I returned.) When I arrived at the Village red route bus stop, I was amazed at the number of stars in the star. Living in suburban New Jersey/Boston, it’s easy to forget what a dark night sky looks like, even when dawn was just tinging the eastern sky. I had read that the red line buses started at 4:45 and ran every half hour, so I figured there should be a 4:45 bus. Apparently not as the bus was at 4:32 and 5:01. I was at the stop at 4:41. Instead of waiting, I headed off on the rim trail back to Trail Overlook. We had hiked this the day before, but it was kind of eerie to do this in the dark.

Arriving at the overlook, I headed down to the first platform and took some predawn shots. I then headed down to the lower platform for most of my morning. (I’m not sure I made the right decision, but it’s what I did.) I ended up spending almost 90 minutes there. It ended being an excellent spot as the sun rose in the V formed by two parts of the canyon to the east. I have to say, there is something very special about being alone on the edge of the Grand Canyon as it goes from dark to the light of day. If you ever get the chance, it’s worth far more than an extra few hours of sleep.

Hiking Bright Angel Trail

After returning to the hotel, we all grabbed breakfast at the lodge. As I mentioned above, we had a solution to the camera dilemma of yesterday. I have an older digital point-and-shoot that I had repaired for free when the sensor died due to a recall. This became Kyle’s camera. It worked out well as he used it everywhere. Our big plan for the morning was to hike down below the rim on Bright Angel Trail for a bit. I was concerned as Kyle isn’t a great walker. (Truth be told, it’s been a long time since I did any real hiking myself.) It turned out to be great. Kyle was excellent, even after slipping a few times. He even at one point wanted to keep going when asked. Eventually he did decide he was ready to head back, after about 15 minutes down. At one point we had planned to hike to 1.5-mile resthouse, but looking from the Trail Overlook yesterday, I thought this might be too ambitious. I think if it was just Suzanne and I, we would have continued. However, with Kyle, we thought it was fine to head back up.

We made the plan to hike down pretty steadily and wait for photos for the trip back up, providing us with “automatic” rest breaks. This worked out really well as we didn’t feel completely trashed as we headed up. They say to expect twice as long up as it took to go down. I think we were more like three times, but felt it ended up being a really good walk. After a trip to the Bright Angel gift shop, it was back to the lodge for our car.

The view from Desert View

We stopped by the Yavapai general store and were amazed at the size. It was like a small supermarket and much bigger than the one in Yellowstone as we remember it. We then headed up to the main Visitors Center for their gift shop, which was one of the bigger ones, if not the biggest one, in the park. After buying a few souvenirs, we started making our way out towards Dessert View at the eastern edge of the park. We had planned on doing a number of these viewpoints as we left for Bryce Canyon as this is the way out, but we didn’t have any other plans for the afternoon and had finished our Bright Angel hike earlier than expected. We stopped on the way at the Tusayan Museum and ruins, which has artifacts from the adjacent pueblo ruins. This was very cool to see as Suzanne has been interested in Native American culture and history for many years.

Our freshly minted Grand Canyon Junior Ranger

We continued on to Dessert View. It was interesting to see how different the canyon looked here as it was wider and seemed shallower. You could also see the river for a good stretch. The view from the tower was impressive. We ended up eating lunch at the café there. (The one thing we’ve found is that eating is very expensive. Average meals in the cafeteria’s run about $10 each with a drink. Not bad for dinners, but a bit much for breakfast and lunch as well. I’m sure we could have saved some money by bringing lunch stuff, but we weren’t supposed to have a fridge in the room.) During lunch, we shared a table with a very nice family from near Stuttgart. There are a lot of Germans here. (Most German schools don’t start until the end of September.) The mother joked that they came to visit Americans, but instead it’s all Germans. After lunch, we made our way back, stopping at several viewpoints along the way. At 4:00, we attended a very nice Ranger program on climate. This was Kyle’s last item to earn his Junior Ranger badge, so he was sworn in as an official Grand Canyon Junior Ranger at the end. It was very cute. After some time at room and dinner, we headed out to see some stars. Unfortunately, due to the nearly full moon, they were not nearly as impressive as at dawn. Maybe we get a chance to see them in glory at Bryce or Zion since sunset is an hour earlier. (Arizona is normally on Mountain Time, same as Utah, but doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time, effectively putting them on Pacific Time in the summer. Interestingly, the Navajo nation within Arizona does observe DST.)

Tuesday, Aug 28

(This entry and the remaining were written after we returned.)

Horseshoe Bend

This was the day to drive to Bryce Canyon, the longest drive of our trip. On the way out of Grand Canyon, we stopped a couple of viewpoints for one last look. Then it was starting the drive for real. The route took us through some quite arid areas, more than we had really ever seen. We made a short stop at the Cameron Trading Post. I was hoping to get a decent leather belt, but all they had was made in China. Another stretch up the road brought us to the Horseshoe Bend trailhead. I had thought this was a 1/2 mile roundtrip hike. Instead, it was 3/4 mile each way with some sand and a good trek down. That being said, it was well worth it for the incredible view.

After a quick lunch, with lots to drink after the hot hike, we were back in the car and on the way to Bryce. It was getting a bit late when we arrived, so we headed right to the visitors center to be sure to get Kyle’s Junior Ranger booklet. (It turns out they were open until 9, so this wasn’t really necessary.) We checked into our hotel, Ruby’s Inn. This was a perfectly adequate hotel and about the only choice apart from the more expensive park lodge. After so-so dinner at th hotel’s Cowboy Buffet, we headed back to the park. Our first stop was some sunset shots at Bryce Point. Sunset isn’t great at Bryce Canyon as it faces east, so the sun sets on the other side. We then headed to the lodge to attend the evening’s ranger-led astronomy program as part of Kyle’s Junior Ranger program. It wasn’t bad, but was kind of long and dry for the number of kids in the audience. After this, it was back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

View from Bryce Canyon

Moon over Bryce Canyon Hoodoos

 

Wednesday, Aug 29

Sunrise from Bryce Point

This was our day to visit Bryce. It started early for me as I was up around 5:00 to make sunrise at Bryce Point. I got there early enough to be the first person on the viewing platform. However, I was far from the last as it got very busy. A family showed a bit after me with a mother wearing a (mylar-coated) space blanket. This crinkled every time she moved; so much for a peaceful sunrise. After 160 photos, I headed back to the hotel. We had gotten smart the day before and purchased some milk and cereal, so breakfast was reasonably quick and cheap. (I also got a donut for Kyle as a treat at the hotel store.) We then headed out to start our visit, beginning with Inspiration Point and continuing to Sunset Point and Sunrise Point. As part of the Junior Ranger program, there is a special Hike the Hoodoos program where Kyle could get a special pin if we did three hikes. Our first was the Queen’s Garden trail from Sunrise Point. This was quite a hike, going well down into the hoodoos. It was a bit of a trek up, but certainly worth it. (I’m not sure we would have done it without the program.) After our hike, we headed back to the hotel’s fast food place for lunch and then off to Mossy Cave for another hike.

Kyle Hiking the Queen’s Garden Trail

Near Mossy Cave

Mossy Cave is accessed from a trailhead between the park and Tropic. It was a nice little walk at the bottom of Water Canyon to a small waterfall. After this trip, we headed back to the park to drive out to Rainbow Point, the end of Bryce Canyon. From here we hiked the third Hike the Hoodoos trail, the Bristlecone Pine Loop. This was a bit different as it was through mostly woods. It was a nice walk, but very different from the others we had done. Once finished here, we headed back to the visitors center, with a few brief stops on the way including at Natural Bridge, for Kyle to get his Bryce Canyon Junior Ranger badge.

After a brief, very brief as it turned out as a thunderstorm came in, swim at the hotel, it was dinner time. We weren’t thrilled with the options at the hotel, so we decided to check out Tropic, about 15 minutes from the hotel. After reading good reviews, we had an excellent meal at Clarke’s, far better than the night before. On the way back from dinner, we stopped at the shops across from Ruby’s. I was fascinated by the rock shops, though I’m not much of a rock hound. Some of their stuff was incredible. I did pick up a nice piece of petrified wood for $4 in their bulk bins and Kyle got a few $1 items. We thought this was a good value for souvenirs. It was a very nice day, and I’m glad we had the impetuous of the Hike the Hoodoos to do some hiking.

Thursday, Aug 30

Red Canyon (just outside Bryce Canyon)

After a quick breakfast, we checked out of the hotel, headed back to the visitors center for one more purchase, and then headed off to Zion. Just outside of Bryce Canyon on the way in and out is Red Canyon State Park, so we stopped here for a few photos. Today’s drive was much shorter than the drive to Bryce from Grand Canyon.

We hit the east entrance around 11:00, stopping for a few photos on the way in. We did have to a wait a bit at the tunnel as we were following an RV. (The tunnel is too small for two-way traffic when an RV goes through, so they stop it in the other direction.) This did have the advantage of not having to worry about oncoming traffic in the narrow tunnel. Driving down into Zion Canyon is quite something and you get a real feel for the size of the canyon. We followed the road down out the south gate of the park into Springdale to check into our hotel, the Best Western Zion Park Inn. This turned out to be a very nice place and well worth the reasonable cost. The breakfast was especially nice as it was at a neighboring restaurant and was a full buffet, including made to order omelets, instead of the expected continental breakfast.

Checkerboard Mesa (Zion)

After checking in, we stopped at Sol Foods Cafe for some sandwiches for lunch. Springdale has a very laid back, “mountain” vibe. After lunch, we headed into the park, stopping at the visitors center for Kyle’s Junior Ranger booklet and then to the Human History Museum as a first stop. Here we attended the great-for-kids (short and entertaining) ranger-led program on the Mexican Spotted Owl. Next it was back to the visitors center to park for the shuttle to Weeping Rock. (Only lodge guests are allowed to drive past the canyon junction and no one is allowed to drive past the lodge. Instead, visitors must use the free shuttle.) This was a hike I remember from my very brief trip (on the order of a couple of hours) in 1991. This was a good hike to do with Kyle and he really liked getting wet from the dripping rock.

Zion Canyon and Virgin River

Kyle getting dripped on at Weeping Rock

After Weeping Rock, we did the hike to Lower Emerald Pool and visited the Zion Lodge, which is at the trailhead. This was a nice little hike. We then headed back to Springdale. Kyle and Suzanne did some swimming while I took some photos and relaxed. Dinner was at Zion Pizza and Noodle and was very good. (We ended up eating all of our breakfasts and dinners in Springdale on covered porches which was great.) All in all, a good day.

Friday, Aug 31

Zion at Sunrise

Friday was our main day in Zion. After a wonderful breakfast at the Switchback Grille (included in the hotel room), we headed out to the park, starting at the visitors center to park for the shuttle. We grabbed the shuttle and rode to the end and the Riverside Walk trailhead. This is a very easy, level, and paved walk along the Virgin River at the head of Zion Canyon. You definitely got more of a canyon feel as the walls closed in. At the end of the walk, Kyle and Suzanne got a chance to wade into the river. (I didn’t as I didn’t have extra shoes that could get wet.) It was also interesting to see the start of the famous Zion Narrows trail.

Kyle wading in the Virgin River

After returning to the shuttle stop, we rode back to the Grotto to hike the trail between here and the Zion Lodge. It was a nice walk. From the lodge, we took the shuttle to the Court of the Patriarchs viewpoint. We then headed back on the shuttle to Canyon Junction to hike the Pa’rus trail. Unfortunately, it started to pour just as we started, so we ran back to the shuttle and rode to the visitors center to get Kyle’s Junior Ranger badge. (It turns out, we could have waited out the rain under a bridge as it was only a few minutes.) After Kyle’s third badge, we started up the Pa’rus trail from the other end at the center. This was a different trail as it was in the broad part of the canyon. Instead of walking the whole way to Canyon Junction, we took the cutoff to the Human History Museum, coming across a small herd of mule deer along the way. We hopped the shuttle from here back to the visitors center and headed back to the hotel. Kyle and Suzanne took a long swim while I headed back to the park to hike the Canyon Overlook trail.

This trail was quite an experience. It wasn’t a terribly strenuous one, aside from a short steep stretch right at the beginning. However, the trail was quite narrow in spots, with no barrier at the edge. (There was one spot with some wooden planks that did have a railing.) We had considered taking Kyle on this and I’m glad we didn’t. That said, the view at the end was well worth it. The overlook is right at the top of the canyon wall and overlooks much of Zion Canyon (hence the trail name). It was spectacular and gave a good sense of the size and depth of the canyon. After I finished here, I headed back to the hotel to meet up with Suzanne and Kyle again.

Zion Canyon from Canyon Overlook

For dinner, we headed to the Bit and Spur for dinner. (While labeled as a saloon, it was perfectly fine for us and even had a kids menu.) Suzanne had a really nice Zuni lamb stew as something very different. (I had a spicy green chili pork stew which was also quite good.) After dinner, we made a brief stop at the Zion Park Deli and Ice Cream for some excellent ice cream. I absolutely have to note how friendly everyone in Springdale was. You might think they’d be jaded by all the tourists, but that was not the case. (Maybe this is different in high season as it wasn’t very busy this week. Most kids were back in school already.) That was it for our national park visits. While we would have liked to see more, especially Arches, it was a good mix and a good amount for the time we had.

Saturday, Sep 1

Valley of Fire State Park

This was actually a day I wasn’t all that excited about as it was our day to drive to Las Vegas. Neither Suzanne nor I were particular interested in visiting Vegas, but it’s the most convenient spot to fly into and out of for the trip that we did. Originally, we were only going to be there for one night, but we ended up changing our schedule somewhat and were there two.

Kyle and Suzanne at Valley of Fire State Park

The drive from Zion to Vegas is pretty simple, though it was a bit weird to be back on the highway after driving for six days on two-lane roads (with 65mph speed limits mind you). On the way, we made a brief stop at Valley of Fire State Park. While we didn’t spend a long time here, it was worth the detour. After here, it was down into the jungle that is Las Vegas. We arrived at our hotel, The Luxor. We could have gotten an upgrade to the new tower rooms, but Kyle wanted to stay in the pyramid, so we declined. The hotel was okay, but a bit dated. It was a bit of a shock walking to the desk from the self-parking as you have to go through the gaming floor. After spending a week in the relative quiet of the national parks, the intensity was a bit much. Once we checked in, we grabbed some things and headed out to see some of the strip, after a brief stop for lunch at the McDonald’s in the hotel. We ended up doing a lot of walking, catching the tram to the Excalibur (next door), but then walking through New York, New York, and up the strip, eventually to the Paris Hotel. (The M&M store actually was worth a visit as they have a cute, free 10 minute movie. I imagine seeing all the available colors is something too, but we have been to the store in Times Square, this is only a few minute walk from where I used to work, several times and seen them there as well.) We were very impressed with the Paris and would have loved to stay there had it not been for the significantly higher cost. Maybe next time, if there is one.

New York New York

At the Luxor

We next headed back to the hotel and hopped in the car to drive to the Orleans for their French Market buffet We had considered staying here (actually had a reservation), so I wanted to check it our and I had heard good things about the buffet. I guess I’m glad we stayed on the strip, but this seemed like a fine place to stay. The buffet was quite good, especially for the reasonable price. After dinner, it was getting late, especially since we were an hour ahead in Utah, so we headed back to the hotel and called it a day.

Sunday, Sep 2

At the Luxor Hotel

At the Luxor Hotel

Our last real day of the trip. We got up reasonably early and grabbed a quick breakfast at McDonald’s. We then headed out to see Hoover Dam. (We had driven by on our first day, but didn’t have time for a visit.) It was quite an impressive site to see. (I have vague memories of it from my trip in 1978, but no too many as I was only 4.) We did the powerhouse tour which takes you so see the water tunnels and the turbines. I would have loved to do the dam tour, but Kyle was too young and it’s kind of pricey ($30/person). We walked out along the dam for a bit before heading back to town.

Back in Vegas, Kyle and Suzanne took a swim while I relaxed a bit. We were a bit concerned about the pool scene as it seemed dominated by people drinking, but Suzanne said it was okay and that there were a couple of other kids there. After our break, we headed back out to the strip, driving to Planet Hollywood where we planned to eat dinner. Once we found a parking spot (this proved to be a pain several times during the trip), we walked through the shopping mall there a bit. Kyle wanted to go back to Paris, so we headed that way. (It’s the next spot on the strip, but it still quite a walk.) We had wanted to go further to see Bellagio’s fountains and the Venetian, but we were all getting kind of tired and decided to instead go right to dinner. I had wanted to try the Spice Market Buffet (at Planet Hollywood) as I have seen some people say it’s one of the best. While it was on the pricey side, I would say it was worth it. We did get lucky (or maybe it was smart) in going early. The line when we left was quite long.

Once dinner was over, and we were stuffed, we headed back to the hotel to do our packing to head home the next day. This proved easier than I thought.

Hoover Dam

Kyle and turbine Generators at Hoover Dam

Monday, Sep 3

This was our travel day. While we had to be up early for our 7:30 flight, I had slept horribly, waking up around 2:30 and not really going back to sleep. Part of this was likely that we hadn’t found one of the small cameras or Kyle’s Junior Ranger hat, with all his badges, the night before. We decided they “had” to be in the car, but I think that thought kept me awake. I finally got up around 4:15 and headed to the car to check see if they were there. (They were.) I was actually amazed at the amount of activity still going on at 4:30 in the morning. By the time I got back to the room, it was time to get up anyway, so we did our last minute packing, grabbed the bags, and headed back to the car.

We had no problems returning the car and getting to the airport. (In a twist, the airport is across the street from the Luxor, but we had to drive a bit south to the central rental car center and then get a shuttle back.) I was a bit concerned about luggage weight as one bag was just at 50 lbs on the way out, but it both were fine on the way back. Once through security, we spent some time in the United Lounge, which I get access to from being an Amtrak Select-Plus member. (Taking the train so much does have a few minor pluses.) The flights back, all three, were fine. We had a layover in Memphis around lunch time and managed to get some good BBQ. Our only late flight (of the trip’s total of five) was the final one, which was fine aside from not getting home until 10:15 or so. I’d rather get home a bit late than miss a connection.

Summary

All in all is was a good trip. Suzanne finally got to see the Grand Canyon after many years of waiting. (Truth be told, I didn’t remember much from 1978.) Seeing Bryce and Zion were also excellent. (I had been to both, though only very briefly to Zion, in 1991.) While Kyle had some moments, much of the trip was great. He did especially well with most of the hikes. I think the amount of time we spent in each park, basically one full day plus the half day (Grand Canyon and Zion) or few hours (Bryce) the day we arrived was just about perfect given what we wanted to do. (Originally, we had planned on two full days at the Grand Canyon. This probably would have been too much and would have made the drive from Las Vegas on our arrival much too long.) In terms of Las Vegas, it was certainly someplace to see. I found it a bit jarring after our week. Would we go again? Maybe for a day or two as part of a larger trip, but I don’t see us ever planning a trip just to go there.

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