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Trip Report Bryce/Kodachrome/Zion Trip Report April 25-May 2, 2014

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While we had a slightly less adventurous trip than the previous poster, schlegal1, I want to echo much of what they said ~ these are lovely places and not to be missed. Life has surely been enhanced by the experience. Quick rundown: Flew into Vegas, drove directly to Bryce on Friday the 25th. Longer drive than one might want after a long day of flights from NYC but it was worth it to arrive. Given that sunset doesn't happen until nearly 8pm the entire drive was in daylight, which helped a great deal. 2 full days in Bryce, half a day in Kodachrome and driving to Zion, 2.5 days in Zion before heading out again. Flew out to NY again on May 2nd.

Stayed at the lodge in Bryce, largely based on recommendations from the board. Yes, there's an advantage to staying in the complex known as Rudy's but we were only minutes walk from everywhere we wanted to be first thing in the morning and after dinner. We thought the elevation would not impact us too much but were very wrong ~ both my mother and I were sick for the first 24 hours and never really caught our breath while there. My mother takes exercise classes 5x/wk so don't be fooled, she's no couch potato. Gatorade helped. When we arrived we were told to expect snow the next day and it did indeed snow a great deal. The prediction was for 3-5" and I'd say we got that. Snow, a few minutes of sun, grey again and more snow. COLD. I was mostly prepared for the cold but could have used one more layer. Given the weather the entire time we were there we never got a "good" sunrise or sunset ~ it was just too cloudy for anything. The skies cleared out briefly just before we left on Monday morning so at 4:30am we went out to see the night sky and milky way; we were not disappointed. Drove the scenic drive the 2nd full day as it was closed on Saturday due to the snow and it too was amazing; try not to miss it and take your time! We were driving slowly enough one morning so that we got to see a coyote running through a field, across the road and through the remaining field. Very special and lovely. Did some walking up to view points but given how we both felt it was harder to do much else until Mossy Cave on our last day there.

Food: Again, because it was easy we did the breakfast at the lodge, picnic lunches throughout. We ate dinner twice in the lodge and found it to be overpriced and nothing special. Bryce Canyon Pines, a 10 minute drive outside the park, was really good. Soups were good, pie was good and burgers were good. Price reasonable for the remote area. We might have gotten more supplies at Rudy's had we been feeling up to more than the crackers and cheese that we got at the general store inside the park. It was also the only place to get a quick cup of hot tea in the park, which we needed to warm up!

Kodachrome was an easy drive from Bryce and as an added bonus we got to hike the Mossy Cave Trail, which starts at the bottom of the canyon. Had a lovely hike at Kodachrome as well and were glad to have gone a bit out of the way to get there.

Zion was just spectacular. We drove in through the East entrance and were treated to a wonderful drive. Seriously, not to be missed. Again, stayed at the lodge and since the weather was warmer by a long shot than Bryce we were able to use the porch for lunch. Room was comfortable, significantly more updated than that at Bryce and had wi-fi, if not extremely slow service. No fridge in the room like we had at Bryce but it wasn't a problem for us. Lower elevation meant we were able to take more hikes and participate more in what the park offered. We went on a Ranger led bird walk, a Ranger led discussion of the geology and natural history of the Virgin River and finally a "Ride with a Ranger" program which took us to stops we otherwise wouldn't have known about. They do really mean it if they ask you to register in advance of the programs! If you can, either walk to or take the Ranger Ride to get to Menu Falls. A very special jewel in an already special canyon of jewels. Breakfast again in the lodge, picnic lunches except the last day when we ate at the lodge as an excuse to stay just a bit longer.

Food: All our dinners were outside the park in Springdale. 2 dinners at Oscars which were very good, full of atmosphere and just the right price. One night at Thai Sapa. Thai Sapa surely didn't have an extensive menu but it was very good, a bit expensive. 2 apps and 1 meal were more than enough food for my mother and me. Let me be clear ~ the food was good, the atmosphere qualified as a bit off-putting. They originally sat us at one of 3 identical kitchenette type tables without tablecloths; we asked to move to the room with tablecloths which seemed to be a bit of a large request. While 4 of the other tables were occupied (out of 6) the room was so quite you could hear a pin drop. People were whispering and seemed reluctant to talk or make noise. When I asked about specials the waiter stated, "well, there was talk of putting coconut into the stir-fry tonight but I don't know if that happened." We didn't linger and weren't comfortable with the idea of doing so. To its credit one other couple stated as they were seated, "we had to come back! It was so good!"

We got some supplies at Sol Market and would recommend them for stocking up as well as snack type things. They had everything we were looking for and a nice selection of pre-made foods to heat up in their deli area.

If Las Vegas is your thing, great. Its surely not ours between the smoke indoors and the general glitter throughout. I had been warned that my allergies would likely not react well to the smoke and they didn't. Be warned yourself if you've not been there before.

Bryce and Zion (especially Zion!) should not be missed if at all possible. Safe travels!

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