The Grand Staircase

Welcome to the blog post formerly known as When a Nomad Vacations. I think my wife described it best in a Facebook post. She said, “So we did this crazy thing… we met up with 2 dear friends from Ohio and for two weeks we decided to cram as many stops as we could throughout the stunning Colorado Plateau of S Utah and N Arizona.”

I took four vacation days and four weekend days and went out most evenings after work, so this particular entry feels overwhelming. We literally have hundreds of photos, of some of the most amazing sites on the planet. I am making efforts to keep it brief, but it will be challenging. Organizing in chronological order.

Escalante Petrified Forest

For the first part of the adventure, we stayed at a state park just outside of Escalante Utah. It had a lovely hike attached, and on any normal week, I would have been out every day after work enjoying it. We arrived a day before our friends, so I managed to hike it that one day.

Red Canyon

The day our friends arrived we still got out early for a short hike. Everything we did was beautiful, and this hike was one of our first where we could really take in the red rocks and amazing formations. Also amazing engineering.

Pink Ledges

Okay, we actually got in two short hikes before they arrived. It was so much beauty in so little time that not everything made it into long-term memory.

Mossy Cave

Three hikes, but that is all I promise. This one was fascinating because some of the original settlers spent years digging a channel through the mountains to bring water to a nearby town. The extra water in an area that is typically very dry made for some interesting differences.

Bryce Canyon

Now we are getting into the real gems. Our friends arrived, we managed to find parking at the lodge, and we hiked down into the canyon on the very last day it was open. The next day it snowed and they don’t let people hike down into the canyon with snow on the ground.

It was breathtakingly beautiful, but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. I seriously have over a hundred photos from that day, but here is a small selection of my favorites.

Sunset Point

After the Bryce Canyon hike, we drove around to a few viewing areas. This was my favorite of those.

Monument Valley

I have fond memories of watching John Wayne movies with my parents. The Duke was probably my father’s favorite actor. Monument Valley was John Wayne’s favorite place and is depicted in many movies and on the cover of a lot of western novels. We did one of the tours that allowed us to get further into the valley than you can go on your own. Was one of my favorite of the days. It resides on the Navajo Nation Reservation, which is bigger than West Virginia, and rich with history in addition to beauty.

White Pocket

Probably everyone knows about the famous “Wave” thanks to a Microsoft image and a frenzy of “Influencers” going. It is so crowded now that you lottery into it. Lesser known, but with the same beauty is White Pocket. We took another guided tour and were so glad we did as our guide knew this area well and took us into the amazing beauty we would have missed on our own.

Antelope Canyon

This is the one really overrun tour we took. There are other slot canyons you can take tours of and I recommend going beyond this famous one. It is bumper-to-bumper tour groups going through in a rushed fashion preventing many of the photos I wanted from being taken as there were a bunch of people standing in the shot I wanted. Still beautiful, but too crowded for my taste.

Zion

My first time into Utah we passed through Zion and took one short hike. I have wanted to return ever since. The parking was crowded, but there is so much to see, the trails were still very enjoyable. We did three of the hikes, and I am looking forward to returning here to do more. I’d like to get waders and get deep into some of the canyons.

Again I have over a hundred pictures taken, but I lack the equipment and skill to capture the majesty of Zion. It is a special place to spend a day hiking.

Boondocking on the other Side

Our adventures wrapped up in Page Arizona, which has bad internet. I don’t mean my three cell carriers didn’t do well, I mean the entire town and every wifi in it was terrible. I think all the internet came in via satellite. We left two days early and parked on BLM land where we had excellent internet and step view.

May peace find you.

2 thoughts on “The Grand Staircase

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