Our 50th Anniversary was in October 2018! We wanted to
do something special with the whole family so we tossed it out and let
the daughters work on ideas. They led us to St. George, UT which
sounded like a great place for us all to enjoy. John and I
decided to drive, take
extra time and stop at some other places in Colorado and Arizona on
the way. We had *planned* to stop at some more sites on the way
home, but were discouraged by the 1-3" of snow predicted at Bryce
So, this is a collection of pictures that tells the story of
our trip to St. George,
via Colorado and Arizona, through photos and captions.
We had a great time
and saw parts of the country that were new to us. Click on any title to
browse the pictures in that set! Where appropriate,
links to the relevant websites are included within the description.
these pictures will open into a larger version in a new window if you
want a better look.)
We left home Sunday, September 23 and stopped in North
Nebraska that night, arriving in Fruita, Colorado (just past Grand
Junction) on Monday afternoon. We took advantage of the hour we
gained by traveling west and decided to visit the Colorado
that hadn't exactly been on our itinerary, though it was a
"maybe." But we were there, and
we had time and what a great decision! It was an amazing place -
our first hint of the "red rocks" to come during this trip. We
drove about two thirds of the way around Rim Rock Drive before we ran
out of daylight. The picture to
the right is known as the Independence Monument.
Tuesday we drove south through eastern Utah, heading to Canyon de
Chelly National Monument in Chinle, Arizona. We hadn't planned on
stopping at Arches National Park and that decision was reinforced when
we saw the long line (a mile or two) of cars waiting to enter, but just
the scenery on the drive was stupendous! That afternoon we drove
the South Rim Drive, stopping at all the viewpoints and walking all of
the trails. To the left is the iconic Spider Rock. The monument
is entirely within the Navajo Nation and, with the exception of one
public trail (at the White House ruins) the only way to go down into
the canyon itself is accompanied by an authorized Navajo guide.
So on Wednesday morning we drove the North Rim Drive, visiting 3 more
overlooks, and then spent the afternoon on a tour with TJ from Beauty
Way Jeep Tours. It was very definitely worth the time and
cost to learn more about the culture and history from someone who's
lived there his whole life!
left Chinle Thursday morning and headed north. We had a
reservation in the late afternoon to go through Antelope Canyon.
The drive was beautiful (as you'll see); we had a picnic lunch at a
park in Page and still had extra time so drove down to Horseshoe Bend
to see what the attraction was. The crowds included tour
buses! The walk from the parking lot to the actual "bend" in the
Colorado River was less than a mile but part of it is very steep, and
there is no shade until you come to the rest stop about half way.
We didn't find it very strenuous and it's a great view but I wouldn't
have booked a tour to go see it. Then on to Antelope Canyon.
Since the canyon is in the Navajo Nation, again you must have a guided
tour - we booked the lower canyon with Ken's Tours. It was very
crowded and advanced reservations were a necessity but it was so worth
it! After that we had about an hour and a half to drive to Jacob
Lake Inn where we had a great dinner and spent the night to be ready
for the Grand Canyon on Friday.
Since we used half a day for our detour through Page (without
regret) we had just one full day to spend at the Grand Canyon. We were happy with the rustic
cabin at Jacob Lake Inn - it was a good location to easily get in and
out of the North Rim area. We stopped at the Visitor Center and
hiked down to Bright Angel Point from there, then picked up picnic
lunch supplies at the General Store and headed to Cape Royal
Road. We stopped at all of the overlooks and took a couple of
short hikes (and a lot of pictures - Vista Encantada above and Cape
Royal below). A great day!
Saturday morning, September 29, we headed to St. George, UT,
where we had rented two next door houses for the week and we were going
to pick up half of the family at the airport around noon. Again,
the scenery along the drive, especially at LeFevre Overlook, was
amazing. We found the houses easily, emptied the van and John
went off to the airport while I did laundry and explored the
accommodations. Katie, George and Bekah flew into Las Vegas and
rented a 7-passenger Infiniti SUV so we'd have transportation for all
of us - they made a couple of shopping stops and arrived later in the
afternoon. We were there for a week and did a lot of things right
around St. George so this section is somewhat "miscellaneous" including
an afternoon at Sand
Hollow beach and our fancy anniversary dinner at the Cliffside
Restaurant (thanks to Katie, Bekah and Sarah for that special evening).
The more major activities have their own sections below. At the
end of this section is a set of old pictures re-created by the daughters as
our anniversary present - in addition to the wonderful meal! What a great idea.
We spent most of two days in Zion National Park. The
first day (Monday October 1) most of us walked to the Lower Emerald
Pool (the upper path was closed). We had lunch at the
Lodge. Kethra went horseback riding. John and I walked the
Grotto Trail and then got the shuttle back to the museum where we met
up with the others. The next Zion day (Friday October 5) we all
split up and so I only have pictures of the part I did! I hiked
the Riverside Walk (where I met Sean and Sarah). Then I ate lunch
at the Lodge, hiked the Pa'rus trail from the Visitor Center to the
Museum, browsed the museum a bit and then went to pick up the Brew Pub
gang. After Riverwalk, Sarah and Sean did the Weeping Rock trail;
Bekah and Kethra went horseback riding, then the Weeping Rock trail;
John hiked the West Rim Trail almost to the Wiggles (then he started
feeling the altitude); Katie and Conner went all the way to Angel's
Landing then, with George, went up Riverwalk to the Narrows - Conner
continued down into the Narrows for a while before coming back and
meeting them. The shuttle system really made it pretty easy to
"do our own thing" and just meet back at the vehicles at a set time.
There were two different trips to Snow
Canyon State Park
during our week. I didn't go the first time on Sunday but I added
a few pictures that Katie took that morning. The next trip was
John, George, Bekah and me on Tuesday. We hiked up to the Jenny
slot canyon; hiked some of Hidden Pinyon and Whiptail trails and
finally about a mile (round trip) of Johnson Canyon.
The Red Hills Desert Garden and Pioneer Park are adjacent public (free) areas
right in St. George along East Red Hills Parkway. On Wednesday
(October 3) we took a carload over for a few hours. I was among
the garden contingent and enjoyed it immensely - some fauna as well as
all the flora! Meanwhile, a few others climbed rocks next
door. Definitely a recommended stop if you're in the area.
On Thursday we all undertook another short hike that was
quite memorable - we followed the Tempi'po'op Trail in the Santa Clara River Reserve
to some wonderful views and a collection of petroglyphs carved into the
cliffs. It's a little tricky to locate but the two links above
should help you find the Trailhead near Ivins. We just went up to
group of petroglyphs (the tempi'po'op or "rock writing") but the trail
continues if you want a longer walk. It was a beautiful day
for it and the scenery was wonderful!
was our last "holiday" day. We tried to finish up the leftovers
for supper that evening. Saturday morning, George took the early
for those leaving from SGU (Sarah, Sean, Kethra and Conner - Tyler had
already left earlier in the week). The rest of us finished
locking up. We had brunch at Starbucks to share our favorite
times of the week and get psyched to go back home! Katie, George
and Bekah headed off to the Las Vegas airport and John and I set off
north. As I mentioned earlier, we had planned to go east and do
some more hiking in the Bryce Canyon and Grand Escalante area - but
those will have to be another trip! The weather turned quickly
cold and there were predictions for significant snow over the next few
days so we bailed out and headed home. We did see some very
interesting scenery (in the rain) after we turned east on I-70 -
different even than what we had seen in the past two weeks. We
took just a few not-very-good cell phone pics of those formations
because the weather was so awful; and I added a fascinating "weather"
picture at the end to illustrate! We stopped for the night in
Fruita and then again
in North Platte, getting home Monday October 8. It was a fun
time and I hope we can do something like that all together again!
Click here to
here to return to Fotos 'n Stuff Home Page