September 24, 2011

Utah and Arizona Summer vacation

Summer vacation this year was spent in three states. We flew to Las Vegas Nevada, got a minivan rental car and headed for Utah Zion National Park. The kids loved the ride through Vegas. They were in shock over the enormity of the themed hotels. 
When we arrived in Springdale Utah, we stayed at the Cliffrose. Cliffrose is located at the entrance of Zion. A walking path behind the Cliffrose takes you to the entrance of the park. When you reach the park, there are buses that drop you off at different locations for hiking. 
We received hiking and tubing info from Zion adventure company in Springdale. At the adventure Co. you can get info about the hiking paths, weather, and what equipment is required (needed). 
Had dinner at Oscars a Mexican restaurant. Would love to go back. They serve yummy wine and beer magaritas. We also ate at Magestic view, a lodge which overlooks the red rock canyons. We watched a storm come in as we had our dinner.
The Narrows hike was by far the best hiking experience, we only went about halfway through the canyon. To hike all the way through, you need to camp. We reached the Wall Street point where the two adjoining canyons are close together and enormous. Depending on the time of day, if the sun is hitting one of the canyon walls just right, the wall takes on a golden hue.

We spent time in Zion hiking the Narrows & Emerald pools, tubing down the Virgin river, and walking around Springdale visiting rock shops. Tons of hummingbirds, great weather and beautiful surroundings. 

After a few days we got in our rental and went to grand canyon North rim. Had lunch and hiked to observation point Blue Angel. The blue angel hike is a short walking path to a rim of the canyon. Words can not express the magnitude of the canyon, absolutely stunning. 
Wish we had stayed a few days at North Rim lodge, besides the hiking, the sunsets and sunrises are probably beautiful. 

The road trip to Sedona Arizona is definitely a must do. We passed by the Echo mountains, Hopi Indian reservation, and the Painted dessert. Would love to go back and see more of these places. Too much to do!

When we arrived in Sedona, we rested for the eve at the Hilton. Had dinner, and the kids swam. The place is unbelievable, three pools, great food, and hotel rooms that are actually liveable when your traveling with kids. 
The next day we went to the hike house and decided to hike West fork in upper Sedona. We didn't complete the full hike, the kids started getting hot despite our back pack full of water and the trail being heavily shaded. It was relaxing getting next to the canyons. The temperature drops about 10 to 20 degrees. We ate lunch in Sedona, walked around and went back to the hotel where the kids swam almost the whole eve (five hours). They had a blast! 
We also visited Red Rock river park where you can slide through the natural curves of the stone and swim.

When we were walking around Sedona, we went into a shop where we were told about a beautiful place to swim near Sedona. The park is south of Sedona, and the drive to reach the park is a bit scary if your not used to driving up and along canyons on unpaved roads. After a few screams and being a bit panic stricken, we made it in our minivan. The park is Fossil creek and the water is so clear and blue, it looks like the ocean. The blueness or aqua color of the river looks so unreal. Before I jumped in, I doubled checked to see if there were fish. Well worth the harrowing drive. We spent time jumping in the river near a bridge off the main road. On this day, we also visited Montezuma's castle and the city of Jerome. 
Loved Jerome - we arrived a bit too late because most of the shops close around 5 or 6. We visited some that were open, a kalediscope shop, and got the kids an ice cream cone. Hated to leave, because I wanted to see more of the place. We ate at Picazzo Pizza on the way back to our hotel in Sedona. 

The next day we hiked the Ridge trail in Sedona, (alongside a canyon going up), had lunch at Grasshopper, and back to Jerome. More shops, and art galleries were open. We got a second chance to explore the small town. The kids got to see a glassblowing demo at one of the artists studios along the hillside. 
And like always after any vacation, I want to go back to Arizona/Utah. So much to do and explore in such a small amount of time.

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