Utah and Arizona February 2023

Saturday February 25th,2023

We woke up this morning at our regular time of around 5AM. We had all of our luggage ready and staged at the top of the stairs by the front door. We took our vehicle to Katie’s parents house and caught an Uber from there. The Uber got us to MSP on time and we went right through security with both of our bags being pulled for additional screening. Mine had 2 instant ice packs and Katie’s had her kindle in it. After security we walk the loop of all the concourses before getting to our gate. The flight was right around 3 hours. I watched John Wick as I have the last couple trips we’ve been on. We landed and headed over to Hertz. There was nobody in line at the counter so it was quick and easy until we got down to where the group of cars we could choose from were. There were no cars in all of the regular or gold areas so I had to run back to the Hertz booth in the parking garage and they were overwhelmed. All the customers were looking for their vehicles. He said just grab something that’s there so we did. There still wasn’t much of anything good. We got a 2023 Hyundai Elantra. We got all of our gear situated and got on the road to Moab. The drive took us on hwy 6 that met hwy 89 going through some mountain pass where we saw 50+ deer, a couple dozen dead deer and 1 dead moose. It was pretty crazy and must have been some sort of feeding/migration route. The drive was just under 4 hours. We got into Moab at 7PM and checked into The Moab Valley Inn. It was a decently priced, clean place with free breakfast. We got settled in and showered up before going to bed.

Sunday February 26th, 2023

We woke up after not sleeping well at all. The people above us were up from midnight to 4AM. They were constantly walking back and forth, talking / yelling loudly, their window was open and I believe they were smoking out of it. Someone was outside yelling in at the other person. I went to the front desk really early in the morning and told the person working it that we’d need a different room if they were staying the night again as we didn’t sleep at all. They said they were not staying but if they extended their stay they would let us know. We had a quick breakfast and left to go see some petroglyphs and hike to Corona Arch. To get to Corona Arch we crossed train tracks, climbed steep slickrock with the use of chains and ladders and hiked across high rocks to get to the arch right when the sun was coming up over the canyon. It was an amazing way to wake up and spend the morning. After Potash road we headed right to Arches National Park. We did a couple of the scenic overlooks/pull offs. We hiked double arch and basically had it to our selves. It was super windy but it was beautiful. After that we went to Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch. We also had these to our selves. As we were hiking towards Broken Arch it started icing out until we got back to the car. We then went to the lower Delicate Arch lookout and we just barely saw it as it was still raining/icing out! We stopped at Park Ave Viewpoint before leaving the park. We worked up a good appetite and decided on Arches Thai. We had chicken pad tai, beef stir fry, crab rangoon and fresh spring rolls. After lunch we relaxed at our room and digested our feast. We then felt the need to go out and walk off some calories. We went to Lion’s Park and Bike Path Trailhead to walk around the Colorado River and there’s a cool bridge there. We then drove up to take a picture of the Moab sign. When we were done adventuring for the day we went back to our room. We went in the hot tub for a couple minutes and got woozy and went back to the room. We heard someone above us so I went to the front desk to see if the loud people extended their stay. They did so we moved rooms. We were in bed by 7 and Katie had the good idea of going up into Arches for some night photography. It was windy as hell and cold so we tried for a while and got a couple decent pics and went back to the room and went to bed.

Monday February 27th, 2023

We woke up early after sleeping a bit better but still waking up very early and Katie couldn’t leave the area without trying to hike the actual Delicate Arch Trail. We were up before the sun and got some breakfast and coffee and were on our way back into the park. We got there as the sun was coming over the horizon and there were several other vehicles in the parking lot. There were also petroglyphs and The Wolfe Ranch at the same parking lot but we would hit those after we completed the mission. We started hiking and it started out with a little straight flat rock path that led to a couple switch backs that then led to the slick rock. After the slickrock we walked through a rock, sage, juniper covered area and that spit us out back onto some slick rock that they had chiseled a quite narrow path that had a steep cliff drop off on one side and a wall going straight up on the other side. This was the part Katie was nervous about. I surprisingly was not nervous about this. After this little bit of sketchy hiking it opens up to a wider area with a beautiful panorama of the top of the rock with a gorgeous Delicate Arch at the top. It was VERY windy and people were taking some pretty unnecessary risks while taking selfies at the top. After hanging out at the top for a little bit we went back down and looked at the petroglyphs and the Wolfe Ranch. It’s amazing that someone lived there back then when it is still do desolate. After this we had a longish drive down to Monument Valley to our next hotel called The View on the Navajo Nation. We took our time to get there and stopped at Newspaper Rock which was an AMAZING stop WAY off the main road. It took a while to get there but was worth it with a rock over 15 ft high and 20 ft wide with over 2000 years of petroglyphs. After this we decided against the needles district and went to Goosenecks State park which was kind of a let down as this was also WAY off the main drag and you had to pay 5 dollars to get into this dead end road where there was a similar sight as Horseshoe Bend but not as good. We drove through the famous forest gump scene where he tells everyone that “I’m pretty tired, I think I’ll go home now.” which was funny and we made a little video of it. We made it to our hotel and checked in. It was a clean place that was well decorated with real Navajo artifacts. Every room as a balcony which gives a fantastic view of Monument Valley. We really enjoyed the view. We ate at the only restaurant around which was in the hotel and the food was really over priced and not great. After a disappointing dinner we went to the trading post and bought some souvenirs. We hung out in our room the rest of the night watching the sunset and we did some night photography. It was very windy so the cameras were moving a little too much but we got some good shots. We showered up and wound down while taking photos and went to bed watching some Marvel movies.

Tuesday February 28th, 2023

We woke up to a snowy, cold and windy morning looking out at Monument Valley. We tried to do some timelapses and took some photos but it was a bit cloudy. We left Monument Valley for Page, AZ but we made it a bit early to our Antelope Canyon Tour by Adventurous Antelope Canyon. We went into town to use the bathroom and got some Gatorades and snacks. We made it back and signed in for our tour. The buses that they had were brand new Ford E350 vans with gas engines. They were lifted and were running some good tires and 4wd. Our tour guide was awesome. She was older and saying that she was going to retire at the end of this year. She said that her elders warned them about doing tours in the canyons as that’s where they used to have ceremonies and that ever since they had the Navajo Nation has suffered. What that exactly means or the extent of the struggle we will never know but something I thought about constantly. She was an amazing photographer and new everyone’s phone camera settings inside and out. She knew all the best spots to get the best pictures and a lot of times would just take peoples phones and do it for them. After our tour we stopped at Horseshoe Bend which was insanely busy. Lots of tourists. It was worth a stop but I’d recommend right away in the morning or right before sunset. After Horseshoe Bend we went to Glen Canyon Dam Overlook that was right across the street from our hotel. It was a really nice overlook with lots of stairs to get down to the lookout. It was a great view of the dam and river. After the lookout we checked into the Home2Suites in Page. It was new with nice amenities. We originally planned to go right from The View to Antelope Canyon for our tour and then go up to Bryce Canyon and stay at the Best Western Plus Grand Inn for 2 nights but the weather was not cooperating. We did the safe thing and rode out the storm in Page for two nights. The weather and road conditions were the worst part of the trip for me. It was a constant stresser in my head and we consistently had to change things. After we got all of our stuff situated at the hotel we were starving so we went to look at a couple places and after going back and forth about groceries or restaurants we ended up at El Tapotio which is just like an El Loro. We got some Spaghettios and chips at Safeway for the following day lunch. I was eyeing that bridge over the dam since we got into town and so instead of going back to the hotel we decided to go see one of the spots we found called the Beehive Recreation Area. This turned out to be one of our favorite stops on the whole trip. The bridge was super tall and gave a birds on perspective on the dam, river and “lake”. We stayed at the Beehive until sunset. We made it back to the hotel and wound down and fell asleep.

Wednesday March 1st, 2023

Today started out with me waking up at 1AM with a horrible upper and lower pain in my digestion system. I managed to get back to bed for a couple more hours. I’m not really sure what caused it but if I had to guess it was the Mexican food as that’s the only thing I ate and drank differently than Katie. After breakfast and coffee we planned on adventuring around Page today. We started with the Grandview Overlook which was completely blocked by thick fog. We then went to the Hanging Garden Trailhead. This was a pretty easy flat hike to a bunch of ferns growing out of the side of a big slickrock. It was pretty. We hiked the chains after that and that was more of a just wander around on a bunch of rocks by the Colorado River. We tried the Grandview Overlook again and it was clear and pretty. We got some subway and went back to the room. We then had to come up with some more protocols for the next day weather and road conditions as there was another storm coming through to the north of us. It went as follows: If the roads are still bad by 11 Am tomorrow (thursday) we will stay another day in Page and go directly to the airport on Friday. If the roads are good we will try to make it to Bryce Canyon and possibly Capitol Reef and or possibly to Salt Lake City. The rest of the day we just kind of bummed in the hotel room thinking about the next day, checking the weather and roads, journaling, editing pictures and watching Marvel movies. We fell asleep watching Thor.

Thursday March 2nd, 2023

Today we woke up and felt like we had actually had a somewhat full night sleep. The first of the trip. We had breakfast and coffee and checked the roads and weather conditions. We knew the roads were good to at least Kanab, UT so we decided we would wait until 8AM and hit the road to Kanab. We had set up checkpoints for ourselves and if we made it to the next we would check the road conditions and weather and head to the next. The sun was in our favor today as it was a warm clear sunny day. We stopped at Toad Stool and it was muddy as heck we made it to the wash and decided to turn back. We stopped at Sand Caves as well on the way to Kanab and there was a good 10″ of fresh snow from the night before. It was a beautiful hike in the snow to the slickrock that you have to climb to get to the Sand Caves. The slickrock was just too slick with the snow on it so we had to abandon the hike and head back to the trailhead. It was still a beautiful hike. After this we saw the roads were at least decent all the way to Bryce Canyon National Park. We made it there and did some of the overlooks as the trails were super covered with snow and the scenic road was closed. We would not have had much to do if we would have stuck to the original plan of 2 nights here. It was gorgeous with the snow but also pretty sketchy with all the drop offs. The snow was up to the top of the handrails in some spots. After we got our fill of Bryce it was only 115PM and this is where I wish I would have spent more time thinking about our next step. I was set on just getting as close to the airport for the night that I let myself get caught up in the haste of it. Instead of looking at the roads and weather conditions we just headed to Spanish Fork to be close to the airport and have a shorter travel day. We stopped at Butch Cassidy’s childhood home. It was really muddy but a beautiful valley for a quick stop. When we got close to Spanish Fork we got some food from Zupas and it was really good. After eating we just hung out, wound down and went to bed.

Friday March 3rd, 2023

We woke up slowly today and had coffee and read in the room. We went down for breakfast and then went back to the room to read, journal and stretch our time at the hotel as our flight wasn’t until 501 and the drive was only a little more than an hour. We checked out at 1145 and went to Black Rifle Coffee Company. It is a veteran owned and staffed coffee company and we like to support American businesses like that. After coffee we went on a little hike to some supposed frozen falls but it was cut close by rocks avalancheing down onto the path. We made it back to the car safe and went to an Icelandic Memorial in town. It was very interesting. After that we were hungry and went to In and Out Burger again and got more burgers. They are so dang good! We figured we would just go to the airport and read and journal there. I was and am feeling bad we had to change the trip so many times and missed out on a couple of the things we had planned but everything worked out in the end as some more weather came through and it would have been an extremely long travel day. We returned the rental car, made it through security and of course they checked my instant ice packs and Katie’s kindle again. When we got to a comfy spot I grabbed out my phone and opened the Delta app. I saw a “Same Day Change” tab and clicked it there was a flight to MSP in 45 minutes at the same gate we were already waiting bear. We walked up and talked to the gate Agent and she booked us 2 seats together on the earlier more expensive flight home for no price change! This was our first time flying “Standby” and it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. We could get home 2 to 3 hours earlier and get the dogs from their respective places of boarding. We get them one night earlier and we save one night of boarding. That’s a win win. We made it to MSP without a hitch and got an Uber to Katie’s Parents. We got our dogs and headed home. We got home and threw our luggage in and showered up and just kinda bummed around the rest of the night.

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