05 October 2009

Bryce & Zion, 2009

Here are a few photos from my trip to Bryce & Zion National Parks. It was an adventure trip! Full of hiking and biking (and eating.)

The trip started with a bike ride... downhill... to the base of the mountain I was standing on when I took this photo. The red rolling rocks below are petrified sand dunes... we'll hike them later:
The first ride in Utah... downhill to the sand dunes:

Petrified sand dunes... hard as rock, but look like mounds of marshmallow... and red. Very cool:

Token tourist shot:

The "painted" rocks... the strata of oxidized and limestone rocks:

The non-petrified, normal sand dunes, made of sand! We know we're in the desert now!

Hiking up to see the red rocks later that afternoon...
Fall foliage on the morning bike ride:
On the overlook our morning bike ride down into Bryce:
The first glimpse of Bryce (on the right) from our hiking trail (on the left):

Our most awesome tour group: Michael, me, Peggy, Matty, and Lisa... arrive at Bryce:
Pretty views... many many more to come:

Some of the unique trees... this one's roots were exposed after erosion...

This tree is several thousands of years old... and "kills" off parts of itself when water & nutrients are scarce... very cool:

The next day we hike into Bryce itself...

Little tree... long roots...

Very red rocks, very blue sky...

Heading down down down...

And then back up to the top ridge again:
Little me, big canyon:
Windows in the rocks...
I love the trees here...

Littler me, bigger canyon...
Back up to the top rim, saying goodbye to Bryce...
One last arch, and then we leave for the ride to Zion.

Biking through Red Rock Canyon, on our way to Zion:

Our ride into Zion, we see the first glimpse of the Court of the Patriarchs... the three mounts known as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Our first little hike in Zion...
Through caves... beautiful stuff:
Our guide, Matty, leads the way towards Angel's Landing... that's the peak in front of us. Time to go UP!
About half way up, a gorgeous view:

Matty picks up a hitchiker that rides all the way up to the peak:
We made it!
Well.. almost. Technically that over there is the top. But do you see that skinny part? I'm totally NOT hiking over THAT:
Our guides, Michael and Matty (and the hitchiker) surprise us with ice cream at the top! How cool is that?!
What goes up, must go down...
and down, down, down, down...
The next morning we headed for the Narrows hike. Rented special boots so we could hike through the water. The air is about 60 degrees, and the water is about 55...
...and that gets REALLY cold when it's this deep!

A waterfall. Not sure what we're celebrating exactly... but um, YAY!
Trying to warm up in the sun before it ducks behind the walls of the canyon:

We hike deeper and deeper into the Narrows. I try to keep a person in the photo so you can see the scale... can you spot the peoples?

We leave the Narrows and head back towards St. George. On the way, we have a gorgeous bike ride through the countryside:


A pit stop in a cave on the way shows us some thousands-year-old petroglyphs painted on the walls:

keep on rollin'
one last goodbye to Michael and Matty... bye bye!
our van and bikes... spent some quality time in / on these things!!
the flight back to NYC... we went right over the Grand Canyon: