Zion Canyon

Zion National Park is a southwest Utah nature preserve distinguished by Zion Canyon’s steep red cliffs. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive cuts through its main section, leading to forest trails along the Virgin River. The river flows to the Emerald Pools, which have waterfalls and a hanging garden. Also along the river, partly through deep chasms, is Zion Narrows wading hike.

On the way into Zion; we stopped at the Whiptail grill for lunch.  It was a bright sunshiny day so we all decided to eat outside on their patio area.  The food was very enjoyable.

We stayed at the lodge inside the park and again, I would highly recommend staying there.

There was lots of hiking in the park.  A few more adventurous people from our group decided to hike Angels Landing.  I would recommend you check this hike out on a You Tube video as it is quite dangerous.  However, they all made it back alive and we all drank to their survival that night:)

They guys had found the Zion Canyon Brewery prior to us going there.  They called ahead of time and arranged a private tour of the brewery.  It was probably one of their most enjoyable experiences in Zion as the guys who owned the brewery gave them a case of beer to take with them.

Please join me next week as we go to our last stop on this journey; Las Vegas!

Bryce Canyon

As we were leaving the Grand Canyon, someone recommended that we take a different route than the one we were planning on taking.  He wanted us to see the Navajo Bridge.  Navajo Bridge is a pair of steel spandrel arch bridges that cross the Colorado River near Lee’s Ferry in northern Arizona.

This view was awesome!  There is also a very unique bathroom facility here that you need to experience:)   Now on to Bryce….

Welcome to Bryce Canyon!

While the Grand Canyon was just immense, Bryce Canyon was simply beautiful!  Bryce Canyon is known for its crimson-colored hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations. The park’s main road leads past the Bryce Amphitheater, a hoodoo-filled depression lying below the Rim Trail hiking path. It has overlooks at Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. Prime viewing times are around sunup and sunrise.

We stayed at the Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel.  This hotel is a Best Western and was a very nice place to stay.

Hotel Interior

We drove through Bryce Canyon National Park.  This Park consists of over 37,000 acres of scenic colorful rock formations and desert wonderland.

We just couldn’t get over the beauty of this place.  One of our stops was at Natural Bridge.

There are lots of hiking trails here and one night a portion of our group went on a moon hike.  I stayed behind with a smaller group and we just took pictures of the moon over the canyon.

We really all enjoyed visiting this canyon and had a great time exploring all the wonders it had to offer.

Join me next week as we travel from Bryce to Zion Canyon!!!

Grand Canyon

Welcome to the Grand Canyon!

In late summer/early fall of 2011 a group of us decided to take a trip out west to see the canyons.  We flew in and out of Las Vegas and visited Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon and ended up the trip with two nights in Las Vegas.  I am making this trip into a series of posts similar to my Alaskan trip posts.

We started out in Las Vegas and headed to the Grand Canyon.  We took the scenic/historic route 66 and our first stop was for lunch in Williams.

Of course our lunch stop included beer.  The guys found the Grand Canyon Brewery.  However, it was not opened but we were told that the diner next door served their beer so that was our lunch stop.  The diner was too cute!  It was called Cruisers Cafe and celebrates the Mother Road and features all sorts of memorabilia from the heyday of the 1950s. There are restored gas pumps, road signs, and other period artifacts.  Also, the bathrooms are really unique and something to see!

After lunch it was on to the Grand Canyon!  We stayed at the El Tovar which sits on the rim of the Grand Canyon.  This landmark limestone-and-pine hotel dating from 1905 is a 14-minute walk from Grand Canyon Village and an 8-minute walk from Grand Canyon Railway.

This hotel is located in the park and is definitely a place that I would highly recommend.  We spent several nights there and watched many sunsets and sunrises over the canyon; they were beautiful!

There is a bus shuttle that you can take to see the various sights around the Grand Canyon.  I would definitely recommend taking it as it is the fastest and easiest way around.  I’m sure it might be a little crazy during peak tourist season, but when we were there it was not bad.

The Grand Canyon is definitely something to experience!  Please join me next week when we head on to Bryce Canyon.

 

Dallas/San Antonio

My husband’s company was based in Dallas, Texas so one July we decided to go down to Dallas and then head on to San Antonio.  While in Dallas one of the places we went to eat at was called Pappasito’s and the food there was wonderful as were the margaritas!

We headed to San Antonio for the fourth of July weekend so we ran into quite a bit of traffic and it was super hot in Texas in July, but it was a fun weekend.  I would highly recommend San Antonio as a destination for a long weekend trip.  We stayed in a Courtyard By Marriott that was in the Market Square area.  It was a walk to get to the Riverwalk area, but it was definitely doable.  We really enjoyed the Market Square area as there were lots of shops and restaurants in that area that were fun to explore.

Market Square

The San Antonio River Walk is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San Antonio.  There are some hotels down here but the prices are super high.  There are also lots of restaurants and shops in this area as well and they are fun to go through.

If you go here, take one of the boat rides shown above as they are worthwhile taking as they will give you a historic overview of this area.

Of course, if you go to San Antonio a stop to see the Alamo is a must.  It is a small, shrine like fortress and monument to Texas history with a museum, artifacts, and gardens.

I have mentioned previously that my husband is a home brewer so a stop by a local brewery was a must.  He found one in San Antonio called Freetail so we stopped by there for a drink.

This was a fun long holiday weekend trip that we took by ourselves, which is rare for us to do, but this was a fun time and I would highly recommend going there and checking out some of the sights that San Antonio has to offer.

Alaska/Talkeetna

Welcome to Talkeetna!

Royal Caribbean had us staying at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge and you can see from the picture above and below that it was an awesome place to stay!

We arrived at the Lodge late afternoon and we were pretty much on our own as to what we wanted to do.  Most of the group went on a hike around Talkeetna Lakes Park.  We had a guide taking us on this hike and since there had been a bear sighting in the area, I was glad to have him with us!  It was an easy hike, and the scenery as the sun was going down was beautiful!  The sun turned the top of the tress a very pretty yellow!

The next morning we went to eat at a place called the Roadhouse which had the biggest pancakes that I have ever seen.  I was not diagnosed celiac at that time so I did eat one of the pancakes, but I did share it with my husband.  When I say that they were big; I mean they were huge and I don’t think any of us were able to eat one entirely on our own.  They were delicious!

We only stayed at the Lodge over night but we didn’t have to leave until four the following afternoon so we went on a raft ride that while pretty boring.  However,  the sight at the end was simply awesome to see!  They called this trip a scenic float so don’t expect any whitewater rapids if you go on it.

The sight we got to see at the end of the raft trip was one that only about 30% of the people get to see.  We were all pretty awe struck by the sight.

It was quite cloudy when we started down the river and the guide told us that it is very rare to see the top of Mt. McKinley.  However, the sky cleared up just as we were finishing up our trip so we were one of the small percentage of people who got to see this magnificent sight.  I can still remember how happy we all were that we got to see this on our last day there.  In 2015 then President O’Bama officially changed the name back to Denali, but it was still considered Mt. McKinley when we visited Alaska.

Most of the group went back to the Lodge to just sit on the back deck with a drink and take in the beauty of the mountain.  Some of the ladies stayed in the town of Talkeetna to do some souvenir shopping and then we all returned to admire the view.

Believe it or not; there was a brewery in Talkeetna.  However, it was not open when we were there so sadly the guys did not get to sample any home brews there.

We got back on the Wilderness Express and returned to Anchorage where most of our flights back were going out of very early the next day.  We found a bar in Anchorage to eat dinner at and toast to having wonderful friends to vacation with and to an awesome trip!!!  I don’t think any of us will ever forget the memories we made on this trip!

Join me next week as I take you on a trip down the riverwalk area of San Antonio!