Southern Utah 1: Kick Off and Bryce

This summer has been full of exciting adventures! I’m going to have to split it up into several posts because of the sheer volume of pictures and escapades.

The grand event that kicked off our wonderful summer fun was our graduation.


My mom was able to fly up and it was really nice having her with us for a few days. It was a lot of fun showing her around “my” Provo. It was a really nice time having Janea, my mom, and Billy together while she was here. On April 22nd we both graduated. And that’s the end of our Provo story.


On April 30th we headed out at five in the morning and started driving to Southern Utah. We stopped along the way and did an amazing session at the Manti Temple. I love that temple!


Then we got to Bryce Canyon! We were both so excited to be here. We’d been talking about this trip for a while now and to finally be doing it was like a dream.

It was fun seeing THE BIGGEST SNOWFLAKES I’ve ever seen in my whole life.


It was beautiful and shocking to find winter conditions still thriving in Bryce. It makes sense because of the elevation, but I was still hoping for and expecting a summer vacation.


Bryce is an astounding place. EVERYWHERE you look was perfectly picturesque. You could take a beautiful picture and move your camera two inches in either direction and take another beautiful picture.We had to be really careful about taking too many.


When you arrive, you start out at the top of amphitheater. So you walk right up to the edge and have your breath taken away at the astonishing beauty.


Then the fun began.

We hiked down into the amphitheater and with every step of our descent the warmer it became. Eventually we even took our coats off. We hiked the Navajo Loop and the Queen’s Garden trails and a few other ones around there. Some of the fun looking hikes were closed due to the mud and snow. But the ones we did go on were gorgeous. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. You end up hiking through these woods of impressive pine trees, and the contrast of the red rocks and dirt against the rich green and brown of the trees and the stark white of the snow was stunning. The skies when we first got there were hazy and cast a cool mysterious covering over the whole park. But as the day went on the skies turned clear, brilliant blue. You really can’t ever catch Bryce at an “bad” time. Anytime you go it will be beautiful. The pictures don’t do it justice.


There were more people than I was expecting this early in the summer. It was a nice surprise though. Everyone was really friendly. Usually places like this attract people who enjoy the more wholesome things in life. And it was fun just to walk by everyone because I swear no two groups spoke the same language.


We went up the mud-slick switchbacks to climb out. Our shoes made the funniest squelching noise with every step.

You can see the people on the switchbacks all the way to the top.
Thor’s Hammer.


The chipmunks will pose for food. But don’t feed them or else they’ll get fat and angry.

After we climbed out we decided to hike the Rim Trail. Somewhere along that trail we stopped and sat on the edge and ate our snacks we’d brought and took in the majesty of it all.



I couldn’t believe that something this beautiful could exist.

After our peaceful and spiritually enriching break we finished the hike up to Inspiration Point. It gave great views of all of Bryce. You could see for miles and miles. And every direction you looked there was something more beautiful. There were a lot of people that would exchange picture-taking services (we take theirs and they’ll take ours).


The hoodoos were incredible. You have a hard time trying to accept the fact that nature created this place so perfectly and so beautifully.

I read a sign post about the Paiutes’ legend of how the hoodoos were formed.

“Before there were humans, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. There were many of them. They were of many kinds – birds, animals, lizards and such things, but they looked like people. They were not people. They had power to make themselves look that way. For some reason the Legend People in that place were bad; they did something that was not good, perhaps a fight, perhaps some stole something….the tale is not clear at this point. Because they were bad, Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now all turned into rocks; some standing in rows, some sitting down, some holding onto others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks. The name of that place is Angka-ku-wass-a-wits (red painted faces). This is the story the people tell.” 

I thought it was pretty cool.


After that we caught a free shuttle back to our car and figured out what to do from there. We were planning on camping, but it started snowing/raining again and we hadn’t really planned out where we would actually be staying. Neither of us wanted to pay for a camping spot or have to set up the tent in the rain. So we drove out of the park trying to figure out what to do. Sleeping in our car in the parking lot of the Best Western not too far down the road sounded like our best option at the time. We stopped at a little pull off and Billy practiced his horn in the car. By the time he was done the precipitation had stopped and our interest in setting up the tent grew. However, we still didn’t know where to go. We drove around for a few minutes trying to find something when we stumbled upon this little dirt road into the Dixie National Forest. The general rules with National Forests (hopefully we didn’t just make this up) is that if there is an established camp spot (for example- if there is a fire ring) then you can stay there for free and you don’t need any reservations or anything. Anyway, we lucked out and there wasn’t a single other soul in the whole area. We picked one we wanted and set up camp. I love our little red tent. It makes such a cute little home.


It was really cold outside. We made a quick dinner over our little backpacking stove (thanks Vera!)


Billy was the chef. I loved the view.

We read and talked until the sun went down. Then we went to sleep. I woke a few times shivering but Billy would cover me up again and then we’d go back to sleep.

When the sun rose we woke up and quickly tore the tent down. We drove back into the park and drove to the other end that we hadn’t gotten to yet. We stopped at some of the lookouts and enjoyed the views. The elevation got to above 9,000 feet. Everything was covered in snow up here. It was fun and relaxing.



We soaked up the beauty and decided it was time to head out. We left Bryce and headed to our next stop: Zion.

I saved one of my favorite pictures for last. He’s so cute. And he’s the one that took all of our amazing pictures. I’m so grateful that he’s my husband and that he has such an adventurous spirit. He made my whole trip truly amazing.



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