This past weekend was Blake’s birthday as well as Spring Break. We knew that we had to take advantage of this and get out of town for a few days. We decided that Escalante would be the best location, because there were a few hikes and a backpacking trip that we have been wanting to do. Also, the weather is quite a bit warmer there! Thursday morning we were on the road by 10:30; we drove on our favorite highway in Utah, highway 12, which has amazing views starting on Boulder Mountain. We made a quick pit stop here to view the incredible overlook.
Zion National Park has easily become one of my favorite places. It has great hiking, canyoneering, and the best scenery. We have had quite a few people ask us what our favorite hikes are and what to do during a quick trip there. Blake and I thought it would be fun to compile some things to do in a short day trip to Zion.
As it is warming up, I am itching to go outside (luckily we have a few trips planned soon). Spooky and Pee-A-Boo gulch is one of my favorite hikes that Blake and I have done together. This hike is located near Escalante, Utah on the Hole-in-the-Rock road. The Hole-in-the-Rock road is about 26 miles outside of Escalante on Highway 12. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended because the road has washboards and can get a little rugged in a few areas, but a car can reach the trail head of this great hike. The trail head is located off the Dry Fork turnoff; there are signs that point you in the right direction. A small parking lot is found at the end of the Dry Fork road, this is where the fun begins!
This winter has taken a little toll on our adventuring. We have been dying to get out and do some hiking but it has just been too dang cold and snowy. This past weekend, the weather was looking pretty warm so we planned a little Valentines getaway. We chose Horseshoe Canyon; this hike has been on our list for quite some time because it has a very impressive rock art panel.
Over the break, we had been talking to some of our friends, Aubrey and Logan, about going on a short weekend getaway. The only weekend that worked with all of our schedules was New Year’s weekend, which was great because we didn’t have any plans. We hit the road early New Year’s Eve morning and didn’t look back. Neither Blake or I had been to Snow Canyon so we thought that would be a fun activity that afternoon. It was very pretty with some fun short hikes. Unfortunately it was super windy and we were all pretty cold so we didn’t spend too much time there. We’d like to spend more time exploring this area in the future.
Thanksgiving is seriously one of my favorite holidays. Spending time with family and being able to eat some delicious food, makes it one of the greatest days of the year. This year, we headed down to Manti to eat with my family. We ate all my favorite foods and best of all raspberry PIE and spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching movies. It was so nice to have nothing to do.
After Monument Valley, there were a few sites that we wanted to see. The Southeast corner of Utah is very spread out, so getting from one site to the next is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Our first stop was Goosenecks State Park. This state park reminded me of Dead Horse Point and Horseshoe Bend except that it has an added bend to it. We spent about a half hour here taking photos and enjoying the scenery. Our next stop would be Natural Bridges National Monument. The road to Natural Bridges is pretty rad; there is a section of the road called the Moki Dugway that switchbacks up the side of a cliff. We stopped at a lookout point to look back at the road. It was a little nerve-wracking to see that we had just driven up a giant cliff. Looking off the cliff you can see the skeletons of wrecked cars that had lost their way, which made it even more reassuring….
One place that I have dying to go is Monument Valley. We decided a couple months ago that we would finally head to the Southeast corner of Utah for fall break. Our plans weren’t quite definite and it seemed like things kept coming up. The week of our planned trip we weren’t even sure that we would be able to go because it would be such a long drive for not enough time. Luckily things fell into place and we were able to leave Saturday night after a friend’s wedding. We left Salt Lake around 9:00 PM and drove as far as we could. We made it to right outside of Moab until we were just too tired so we pulled off the road a couple miles and set up our camp. Sunday morning we woke up and kept going. We wanted to make it to Monticello to go to church; unfortunately we just weren’t going to make it in time. I was looking up sacrament times and we found a small branch in LaSal. It is a very tiny town just south of Moab. There were only about 50 people in the branch. It was a fun experience to go to a branch in Utah!
In July, we backpacked in Big Cottonwood Canyon to Lake Blanche. This trail was steep and very challenging. After this trip, I wasn’t really sold on the whole backpacking thing. Blake told me that backpacking in the High Uintas doesn’t have much elevation gain. After doing some research, we agreed that Naturalist Basin would be our destination on the Highline Trail. This is located right by Mirror Lake. This is rated as a great beginning backpacking trail, so that really helped ease my worry about carrying an extra 20 pounds on my back.