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Utah in April Trip Report (Zion, Arches and Canyonlands/Moab, Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, Calf Creek/Staircase Escalante, Bryce, Zion Again, and Las Vegas

Utah in April Trip Report (Zion, Arches and Canyonlands/Moab, Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, Calf Creek/Staircase Escalante, Bryce, Zion Again, and Las Vegas

Old May 3rd, 2007, 06:19 AM
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Inspiring... I want to go on another trip to Utah.
Loved the lizard on a rock pic!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 06:35 AM
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Maria, keep it coming, love the pictures, we're not as athletic as you, but looks like we'll still see some amazing things. Love the photos. My husband's a major photographer, I have a feeling we'll be pulling off the road more than I can imagine!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 08:02 AM
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Great report, now I have to put this on the list...
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 08:13 AM
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Maria,

Great report and thanks for the note to all about getting a late start. So many people do underestimate driving and hiking time in the southwest, plus all those photo ops take time! Good to go prepared too for night time hiking, unless it's a full moon!

So now you see why I live in Utah and visit Moab every year. Still haven't come close to doing it all.

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Old May 3rd, 2007, 04:31 PM
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Hi All! Thanks so much for the positive responses! Wow!

FLmom, here's recipe: (it's really simple)

Take a chunk of boneless beef roast and marinate with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and red hot chili sauce (the only 4 spices I had on this trip - make the hot sauce as hot as you can get it if you like it hot). Just eyeball it. Try to marinate it overnight. Then with canola oil in a really hot pan, sear all sides - about 3-4 min each - so really seared. Then take half moon sliced onions and saute keeping the pan as hot as you can. Once it is transluscent, take out the onions and set aside and add in the portabella mushrooms sliced long (not cubed)until slightly softened. All this time flipping the beef so it cooks evenly. Put all ingredients together and mix for about 1 min and you're done. Take the beef pieces and slice it thin. It should be seared cooked on the outside and slightly red in the inside. Take a low fat tortilla (preferrably the big ones) and line it with romaine lettuce leaves. Put a few slices of the beef, onions, and mushrooms with a little bit of the juice. Then some spring salad and bean sprouts - and cheese if you like. Wrap up the tortilla around them and pack it up in paper towel or aluminum foil and put in plastic baggie. Enjoy!

Ok, so to continue on the next day was the big drive back to our southern destinations. We thought we'd catch quickly the sights in Islands in the sky like mesa arch, the different overlooks, and the upheaval dome. We started it off with a funny ranger talk about uranium (honey is a physicist so couldn't help but go). Then did the small trek to mesa arch, and the others. Then we headed to Dead Horse point and had lunch at the overlook and headed to Goblin Valley. Boy do I love Goblin Valley. Never been before. I found myself acting like a kid again! The ranger said we could climb the goblins but to beware because some are fragile so we did and took some pics. When we left Goblin valley, we headed for Capitol Reef which is where we stay for the next 2 days. That night, we had dinner at Cafe Diablo (one of our agreed 2 nights out on this trip). It's a seasonal gourmet restaurant that I completely missed the few times in the past that I've been there. Although their liquor license didn't start until May 1 and we could only have beer with our dinner, it was still delicious! The plates came out like works of art (I have a pic of the entree on shutterfly). Highly recommend you go. No dinner reservations required for a small party.


The next day, we got up early to do another full day hike in Capitol Reef. We visited the ranger in the visitor center and he recommended the Grand Wash hike that starts out with a 2.6 mile road hike, then continues on to Cassidy Arch and the Frying Pan area, then the Golden Throne where we end up in the parking lot 2.6 miles down the road from the Grand Wash trailhead (where we parked our car). Well, 2 disasters happened here. First, and the worse one, at almost the turning point to Cassidy Arch, I started having "issues". I think it might've been the beginnings of heat exhaustion. The weather has continually changed and although the mornings in Torrey were cold, the lower elevations of where Capitol Reed was in the middle of the canyons were hot hot hot. So Paul, worried I'd get worse decided we turn around before we start doing the hard part of the hike. I think it was a good idea because all I could muster the energy for at that point was to sit in the car as we did the scenic tour inside the park. We went back to the hotel (Chuch Wagon) and sat in the pool to cool off, had dinner and packed for the next day.

The second disaster is my camera errored out while loading to my laptop - so no pictures for the day.

The next day is pretty brilliant though and I definitely have pictures of those (Calf Creek hike and Bryce hike later than afternoon). In the meantime, here are the pictures for Islands in the Sky, Dead Horse Point, and Goblin Valley (I feel giddy just saying the name!).

share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AbMXLFmzctWL3I

Sharondi, all I can tell you is Bryce is pretty spectacular but the first time I went I was there for half a day to hike and this time, we got there at 3:30 and both times we didn't feel like we missed out on anything. The thing is, Canyonlands Needles has more hiking opportunity so it depends what you plan to do. I plan to explore the Maze area next - need a game plan for that because it's not really very accessible. In any case, Moab has so much more to do in the are. One we didn't get to do this time river rafting or kayaking or ATV'ng. Not to mention endless canyoneering....I could go on and on. Going back to Needles, it would be worth exploring it a bit more than newspaper rock.

Speaking of Newspaper rock, karens, it is really cool however it was just that one slab of rock. From what I heard of it, I thought it was a wall much longer than that. We even went around to what seemed to be a trail but it didn't lead anywhere. It actually said "nespaper rock recreation area" but we didn't see anything else but that single slab of rock. Did we miss something? Still, it's still impressive petroglyphs.

owlwoman, yes you will and I'm so excited for you! I wish I was going....(back).

Stay tuned for more tomorrow and thanks for hanging in there!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 04:43 PM
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oh, I did forget one thing. When we got to Capitol Reef, I had reservations at Capitol Reef Inn and Cafe to stay for the 2 nights. I've had dinner at the cafe before and the place looked nice and clean. I don't know if it was just the room they gave us (room 10) but it was horrible. Tha carpet looked years and years old and hasn't been cleaned and that particular room faced the side and back of the property which overlooked a trailor home. I was so uncomfortable there. I don't need it to look like the hotel I had in Las Vegas (The Hotel with Mandalay Bay) but I needed to feel comfortable enought to step on the floor and lay on the bed. So I asked the person if we could have a refund and we would find lodgings elsewhere and they were gracious and didn't give us any trouble which I appreciated. A block down was Chuck Wagon which we ended up staying with and it was nice and clean. Just a little warning for those making reservations for Capitol Reef.

...and that hike I mentioned was 2.6 miles paved road hiking from teh parking lot of hickman bridge to the trail head of Grand wash. Then it's 2+ miles on the wash to get to the turn off to Cassidy Arch. The Grand wash hike was pretty cool though. It too has a narrows area similar to the one in Zion although it's a little wider and without water (unless it's flooding).

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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:32 PM
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I'm wondering how much time to alot for some things. How long did you spend with the Goblins? We'll be stopping there on our way to Torrey from Moab and I'm wondering what time we have to leave Moab. We're just going to the Goblins on the way and will start exploring Capitol Reef the next morning. Thanks and love the Goblin pictures!
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 08:44 PM
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Hi Dohlice,

We were in Goblin Valley for a little over 2 hrs just playing around because we just loved it there but we did have a timeline too since we wanted to have dinner at Cafe Diablo that night.

So we left Dead Horse Point around 1:30 and we got to Torrey around 6:30 or so with a stop in the last leg for the petrol.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 12:32 AM
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Hi Everyone. Don't know if you guys are still reading but here's the last 3 days.

April 28 was a full day. We left Capitol Reef very early so we could get a parking spot at the Calf Creek Falls hike. It was a beautiful early morning car ride and it was bitterly cold. We seemed to be going up and up and up until we got to what seemed to be the top where everything changed from a green mountain drive with some snow left to white canyon tops. We were at Hogsback and our first view of beautiful Staircase Escalante. I mean, wow! Amazing thing too is it got warmer very quickly.

We got to Calf creek and the parking lot was almost full. Campers were up making breakfast and we set out to sit in one of the picnic tables to make a wrap for the day then started our hike. It's about 3 miles one way so around 6 in total. I'll let the pictures tell you the story but it is gorgeous there. Reminds me a bit of the West Fork trail in Sedona but with some ups and downs. We saw 2 snakes during this trip. The first one, I was too freaked to take a picture (hate snakes) and the second one, some people were already there so I gathered my courage to take a quick snap shot and walked spiritedly away. eeeeeeewwwww! The hike was HOT but by the time you reach the waterfall, it is cool there - without even getting into the water. The water was FREEZING so we didn't go in although we had our suits on. I only dared to put my feet in for a few minutes but Paul stayed a little longer although never really fully immersing himself below his mid thigh. Wow, what a beautiful place. I believe that's hwy 12 from Capitol Reef to Calf Creek (towards Boulder). It took about 50 min to get there (with a stop to take pictures twice).

After that hike, we drove through the quaint little town of Escalante and stopped by the visitor's center. Looks like we'll be coming back to this area. So many wonderful hiking posibilities!

We got to Bryce about 3pm and went straight to the visitor's center. Orginally, we just wanted to do the Navajo Loop trail (thinking we didn't have much time) but unfortunately, there has been a rock slide and that loop is closed - right at the spot of that famous postcard of Bryce the huge tree. The ranger recommended that if we really wanted to see part of that, we could go down sunset point trail (which was a really cool steep downhill switchback) then up again to the point where navajo loop is closed. Then we had to back track and either go back up sunset point or go do the extra 2 or so miles to sunrise point. We decided to do the latter. All in all it was a total of 3.5 miles with about a 480 feet elevation.

That evening at Ruby's Inn as we sat int he jacuzzi with some other travelers, someone asked which of the Utah parks were my favorite and he expected me to say Bryce. Don't get me wrong, Bryce is spectacular but I love Zion best. You'll see why later below.

In the meantime, here are the pics for Calf Creek and Bryce. Sorry, I got clicker happey at the falls. What a gorgeous treat that waterfall was. The shades of green algae against that rock is really beatiful.

share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AbMXLFmzctWLDFA
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Old May 7th, 2007, 04:34 AM
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Maria, dear, you’ve done such a good job with this trip report. The photography is beautiful and I loved your naming at Goblins, very enjoyable. Thanks for the wrap recipe; sounds really easy to make and very delicious for lunch on the trail.

I was wondering, if you don’t mind sharing, what were the “issues” that led to you believe you were suffering from heat exhaustion? I will be heading out west in 6 weeks with DD13 and I’m not sure I would recognize any warning signs that we should turn back and get to the car.

Thanks again for taking the time to post this report and your gorgeous pictures!
 
Old May 7th, 2007, 05:25 AM
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Hi Maria, I'm living in Germany right now so I usually hang out on the Europe board, but I just happened to check out the US board today and found your report. Thanks so much for the trip down memory lane to some of my favorite spots (and several new ones) in the USofA...we are definitely going to have to plan another trip to the southwest when we come back! Your pictures are great too. Thanks for sharing!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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I can't wait to check out your pictures at home tonight. If you're around the next few days I'd love to ask a couple of questions about Capitol Reef and Escalante. Glad you enjoyed the rest of your trip. We did Bryce and Zion on a previous trip so we're heading to Vegas from there! What did you think of Ruby's? I was a little disappointed.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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Hi FLmom! No, I can share. I was feeling really hot (there was no breeze in the canyon) but not sweating and I was sure I was drinking enough water. I was also starting to have a headache and was nauseated slightly. I had absolutely no energy. I found it hard to take the next step and although it was beautiful, I wasn't enjoying the hike - so unlike me. I had a ringing in my ears too. It was wierd because by that point before we turned around, we had only done about 4.5 miles which as you can see from our past few days, wasn't much. It was really too bad because even though I was feeling ill, the grand wash hike was quite nice and I'm really sorry I lost all those beautiful pictures.

Dohlice, yes I'll be around next week. Will try checking in once a day at least. Just reply to this thread. Would love to be of help. About Ruby's Inn, it was ok. I didn't really expect much because I've eaten there before and I kind of knew what to expect but overall, it wasn't bad albeit too touristy. I liked the fact that the room had a fridge and a microwave though.

Hausfrau, my best friend moved to Germany about 2 years ago (she's from New Zealand). She and her husband (he's German) is a scientist there (cancer). They're in Heidelberg. If my report brought back memories for you, where you're from brought back memories of my best friend too. I miss her so much. Anyway thanks. You reminded me that I haven't called her back! I'll give her a call today. There were alot of Germans there (Zion, Bryce) on our trip but I have to say that Calf Creek seemed to be all Americans (except for my honey). Wonder if it just doesn't get as much publicity in Europe as the other spots. Have you been there?

Ok, for the last report.

The next morning, we got up early from Bryce to drive teh 2 hours to get to Zion. Went through the tunnel at Mt Carmel and since that tunnel was loooooong, we took turns taking our breath as we screamed in the tunnel for one continuous scream. (we do that with each tunnel we go through and have a convertible - silly but try it, it's fun!) Crossed the 2 entrances to Zion to Springdale to pick up our dripants packet from Zion adventures. It included a walking sticik that later on proved to be a very handy piece of gear.

About the hike. It's not very long but it is a full body workout. The current that day was marked "moderate" but when you are crossing the river, you have to be sure your stick was well grounded and has a hold on a rock crevice because that current is STRONG! Although I loved our Needles hike, I have to say that Zion Narrows was the most fun. It was exhausting, but it was fun. My camera fogged up on occasion here (guess I still don't know how to use the sports pack properly. It either fogs up or the liquid that's supposed to unfog it gets into the lense!). Anyway, I digress. I'll let the pictures tell the story. That night after the Narrows we drove to Vegas as the sun set. We got in our room with only 45 min to shower and get ready. We had tickets to Zumanity at 10:30. With only 20 min to get to the show, we were marathon walking to the hotel. Zumanity was a hoot! We enjoyed it alot. We then went for drinks at the duelling piano bar in NYNY. That too was alot of fun. The rest of the night was a slight blur.

The next day was our last day. We take the red eye out of Vegas so we check out, leave the bags in the car and parking lot and head out to the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton. We're both trekkies but I'm not as bad as my honey. You should've seen him! He was giddy! After that, we rode the NYNY train and headed to the different hotels that Paul has not been to since his last visit (15 years ago). It was hard work walking to all these hotels and I had a thought that walking in Vegas in not unlike any of the hiking that we've done in the last week. The only difference is, when you're hiking at the parks, you meet courteous people on the way who steps aside or you step aside to make room while in Vegas, people think only of themselves and often stop in the middle of the walkway instead of standing aside to take pictures. How aggravating!

Ok, I'll get off my soap opera but it really is irritating. I was in Vegas a whole week before we had set out for Utah (he met me there the day we took off) so I was well aware of what to show him. We had dinner at Olives for his belaed birthday (I missed it since I was at the conference the week before which was when it was). While in Vegas, I had tried lots of new restaurants like The MIX, Daniel Boloud at the Wynn (fantastic, btw, love the frog show), and other places but I decided to take him to Olives where I make sure I try each time I'm in Vegas. I asked for terrace seats which let us sit right outside to watch the dancing lights. What a wonderful dinner. Went to Paris after that for a "nightcap" then to Rum Jungle in Mandalay Bay (the 2 last hotels on our list for us to hit before we left town). Then back to the hotel for our car and then off to the airport. I slept the entire next day when I got home.

That's it! That's the end of our trip - sadly. Hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed reliving it! Here's the last of the photos. Let me know if I can be of help with any of these destinations. I've done the Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Sedona bit too so feel free to ask those questions! I have pics for those too.

Thanks so much for reading and helping me relive the trip. Being in Houston just isn't the same. We walked 5 miles this past Saturday from our home to Allen parkway to Shepherd. Stopped a bit to do a little shopping at the gap and Ann Taylor, then walked back to the house via West Gray. Not the same. It was humid and not as challenging. I think we'll be driving to Austin next weekend just to get some hiking in! Anyway, enjoy the last of the pics and again thanks for joining me!

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...bMXLFmzctWLDNg
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Old May 7th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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Oh Gosh. Realized there's so many typos on this last report. I really meant we rode the NYNY roller coaster and at Olives, we had terrace seats so we can watch the dancing waters of Bellagio. Oi.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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Maria, yes, Germans are crazy about traveling and hiking and they really love the U.S.! We look forward to running into some of them when we return and maybe striking up a conversation.

I haven't been to Calf Creek myself yet but I'm guessing it is not as well known among Europeans as some of the other places you visited.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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Hi maria

Just wanted to say what a great report you've done and your pictures are amazing. We are doing a very similar trip in June and you have now got me REALLY excited about it - Thanks xx
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Old May 8th, 2007, 03:01 PM
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Thanks carrie69! I responded to your trip itinerary thread. Will post pictures of Lake Powell and stuff to do when I get home (pics are not in my work computer....)
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Old May 8th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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Maria:

Fantastic report. Thanks so much. The pictures are phenomenal. Can you tell me what camera you have and how you took the amazing pics of you and then Paul at Mesa Arch and Island in the Sky in the background, and all in such sharp focus and several others like it!Did you need a special lense for that or hi F for depth of field? I want to do the same thing with my family when we visit there this summer.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 08:31 PM
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Hi dw732!

I have a Sony T7 (the newest is the 9). It's one of those slim ones that you can put in your pocket or in my case during this trip, stuffed inside my fleece or garter or dri suit in the Narrows. It's a great camera and able to stand alot of the abuse I give it during hikes and especially when we did the canyoneering in Fiery Furnace and during the narrows. It's really handy, very lightweight, and takes beautiful pictures. I bought a sports pack to go with it but I can't seem to work that properly because it fogs up after awhile so I'm considering buying a waterproof digital camera - i miss alot of photo ops because of this. No special filters, lenses, or anything. I like it better than it's newer model (and the newer one is slightly bigger too).

I looked at your thread where you asked for advice regarding Bryce vs Zion and as you see in my report, we did that hike and all the overlooks from 3:30 until sunset (actually before because we were so tired after both hikes) and do not feel like we missed anything. Zion, however, we stayed for a total of 2 full days and feel like we didn't see enough or nearly enough of the park. During the summer, there's tubing down the virgin river and of course there's the narrows hike which is hard but alot of fun - really depends on the flow of the water that day but it is not to be missed. I feel like I could spend 5 days in Zion and not get enough.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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BTW, we finally decided on a waterproof camera and we'll be trying it out this coming memorial weekend (going tubing in the frio river). Will let you know how it works out!
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