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Simply jaw dropping scenery

USA | Friday, 4 May 2012 | Views [814]

You must think we have been quiet for a while and been wondering what we have been up to.  Well, we have been having such adventures and returning to our lodgings each night absolutely tired, eager to look at our photographs capturing the highlights of our days but too tired to write about them. 

After leaving Monument Valley and our serious dose of scenery overload there we were convinced that nothing, until potentially Grand Canyon, could surpass that.  Wrong! 

Moab was a great place to stay and we really enjoyed ourselves.  The hotel was well situated and the rooms were enormous [could have fit two into the one we had which was standard.  The only grumble we had was that we had to eat breakfast off plastic plates with plastic cutlery and drink out of paper cups - usually a great NO NO for us but we put up with it because it was the only downside to being there.

We drove into Arches National Park through remarkable scenery doing several of the walks off into the environment.  On the way up to North and South Windows Malc decided to take the "primitive" path.  Diana, feeling not as adventurous decided to go the standard route and we decided to meet at the North Window.  Diana duly arrived and stood waiting, sat waiting, stood waiting again and eventually looked over the rim to find Malcolm several miles below on the trail he chose to take.  Ooo-er he was a long way off but did manage to recognise Diana and take a photograph.  Diana continued waiting and after 20 minutes decided she had better make her way back to the car park to discover Malcolm just arriving at the car park and beginning to make his way up to her.  His route had viewed the North Window but didn't go anywhere near it! 

Never mind, we drove on until we reached the trail head for the Delicate Arch - this is why we had come to Arches NP, so although we were weary decided to take the trek.  Actually, what happened was that Malcolm said to Diana 'are you up for it?' "of course I am" so off we went.

Delicate Arch is an amazing 65 ft free standing arch and it should take about 45 minutes to get there.  It took us 1.5 hours up and 35 minutes down.  It was a strenuous long and breath taking trek and the Arch was completely hidden from view all the way.  Everytime we reached a summit we thought it would be there and everytime we turned a corner we throught it was there.  We hiked through rugged bushy terrain and then along the face of an exposed sliprock which was strenuous but did offer amazing views of the valley below.  Diana drank amazing amounts of water on the way up and kept saying she could taste salt; this was because the valley was a salt valley and you could see the white salt in the valley below.

The trail is mainly unmarked but there are cairns put to roughly suggest the trail to the top.  The final part of the trek was the most rugged, we wandered between stands of twisted brush and trees.   We walked on a narrow perilous path, walking higher and round a corner and the Arch suddenly came into view.  All the high paths are unguarded with cliffs which must be a hundred feet high.  The sight was well worth the effort; we spent ages up there soaking in the scenery and chatting to everyone. It took us only about 35 minutes down; it's easy when you know how far it is!

We next visited Canyonlands National Park and spent the day meandering the roads the absorbing the views, more jaw dropping, awe inspiring scenery and then on the final day took to the Colorado river to enjoy a jetboat trip down hearing tales of the real Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Malc in his element again.

We ate two nights at Jeffrey's Steakhouse where the steak cuts like butter and the tangerine twist martini is amazing.

After Moab we found our way to Bryce Canyon and Diana was really excited because she had wanted to see this for many years.  We couldn't believe it when we got there it was even more amazing than the photographs in books; nothing can quite capture the full extent of those amazingly coloured hoodoos [towers] as they rise through high into the air.  Malc walked right down into the canyon whilst Diana spent time soaking up the view and taking millions of photographs.  A short selection have been put on the website.

The food at Bryce Canyon was average and unremarkable.  However we did enjoy a cowboy evening with the Bar-G Wranglers Western Group who sang all Malc's favourite cowboy classics so of course he had to buy a CD so that we could listen to them in the car!  It might just get lost on the way back.

We are now in Zion Canyon National Park and enjoying the most amazing food at the Spotted Dog Restaurant - casual but elegant [bit of an oxymoron] but the only way we can describe it.

We have spent all day taking different walks/treks in the park supported by the free shuttle bus and really enjoyed it all.  The trip here on the No 9 road was spectacular and we returned to do the road again this morning before our walks.

We're off to Grand Canyon tomorrow, so more later.



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