Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm back .... or I'M BACK !!!

We've been "meandering" for several weeks now across the beautiful southwest. We headed first to our timeshare in St. George, Utah, and spent a wonderful week exploring the area. We hiked in both areas of Zion National Park - the main park itself and the Kolob Canyon entrance. It was especially nice to hike in Zion this year without the effects of fire - when we were here two years ago, there was a massive wildfire which colored the river a nasty shade of gray.

If you are ever in St. George, Utah, you absolutely must go to the Tuacahn Theater. This is an outdoor amphitheatre located within Snow Canyon State Park. Seeing wonderfully performed musical productions under the stars in this heavenly venue just can't be beat. We were privileged to see a production of Elton John/Tim Rice's Aida - breathtaking. Believe it or not, the stage actually gets flooded twice during the show. How do they do this?

As if Zion National Park wasn't fascinating enough, we headed north towards Bryce Canyon National Park. I have a difficult time explaining my reaction to this park. It is spectacularly beautiful in an austere way. Unlike Doug, I do not spend a lot of time researching the areas that we plan to visit so I was unprepared for the hoodoos and the colors of Bryce. Two weeks later, I am still seeing scenes in my mind as I fall asleep each night. My first view of Yosemite Valley years ago was unforgettable - my first view of Bryce rivals that experience. We even were able to hike down the Queens Garden Trail seeing the hoodoos from many vantage points. Believe it or not, we spotted a sweet young thing hiking this trail in high heels! I kid you not .... pictures to follow!

On to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for 3 days. Working on our bucket list, we decided that this may be our one and only trip to the Grand Canyon. So, let's do it all! We arrived in time to check in at our lodge (more about this in another post) and drive into the park to see the Visitor's Center and get an overall view of the park. Unfortunately, they were doing a controlled burn today which made the distant views somewhat smokey. It still takes your breath away.

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