Moab, Utah

October 26 - November 4, 2017

 Moab is a city in eastern Utah - we did not plan to visit Moab but we are SO glad that our plans changed and allowed us to spend ten days here. Moab has a lot to offer with Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park being just a few of the attractions close by. And if you are at all into mountain biking, I would add Moab to your bucket list!

Moab is a city in eastern Utah - we did not plan to visit Moab but we are SO glad that our plans changed and allowed us to spend ten days here. Moab has a lot to offer with Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park being just a few of the attractions close by. And if you are at all into mountain biking, I would add Moab to your bucket list!

Arches NationaL PARK 

Our first day in Moab, we biked from our campground to Arches National Park to check out the visitor center and get some information on possible hikes. The journey to the park was all downhill, which made for a tough climb on the way back up.

The following day we drove to the park to hike the Primitive Trail at Devils Garden, a 7.2 mile round trip and moderately difficult trail. Hiking over rock formations is very different to any typical trail, if it’s rainy the rocks can be slippy and it’s often not recommended. It’s also challenging because there is no clearly marked trail and it’s easy to get lost or turned around. The weather was cooperative for us and the trail was busy, which allowed for minimal wrong turns from us!

Canyonlands National Park

We spent a day exploring Canyonlands, sticking to a few shorter hikes through the park, since our feet were getting played out on long hikes. The pictures never do much justice, but the panoramic views were amazing. 

Dead Horse State Park

Dead Horse State Park is not far from Canyonlands with similar panoramic views of the rock formations and the Colorado River. Again, we spent a low key day driving around exploring and relaxing on the rocks! We love National Parks, but State Parks allow Moose to come hang too!

Biking in Moab

As I mentioned before Moab is a great place for mountain biking. Our favourite trail was the Bar M loop, a beginner-intermediate ride with some challenging points. The trail is 8 miles long and overlooks the Canyons surrounding Moab. This biking trail is where we received the news about the arrival of our nephew, Gordon Stanley Fleischhauer - a great memory :)

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

October 19-24, 2017

 We could have stayed here much longer than planned! Bryce Canyon and the surrounding Dixie National Forest was breathtaking, and not just because of the plummeting temperatures! At an elevation of 7,000+ ft, we went from 80 degrees to below freezing in the few hours drive from Zion to Bryce.

We could have stayed here much longer than planned! Bryce Canyon and the surrounding Dixie National Forest was breathtaking, and not just because of the plummeting temperatures! At an elevation of 7,000+ ft, we went from 80 degrees to below freezing in the few hours drive from Zion to Bryce.

IMG_7899.JPG

Moose enjoyed accompanying me on a run -  as long as he stays on the paved areas he is allowed in the park :)

Bryce is a smaller park compared to some of the other parks we have visited, and even although we were visiting in the off season it was still fairly busy. We decided to stay outside the park and spent a couple of nights at Ruby’s Inn RV Park and Campground, and the remaining four nights boondocking in Dixie National Forest. Just like Zion, Bryce has a great shuttle service that picked us up outside the campground and toured us around the park. Otherwise we would bike to the park, which was only a couple of miles.

Dixie National Forest

 My favorite thing about this area was the paved trail that stretched 17 miles from the park all the way through the National Forest to where we were camping. It became our stomping ground for running, biking, exercising and exploring.

My favorite thing about this area was the paved trail that stretched 17 miles from the park all the way through the National Forest to where we were camping. It became our stomping ground for running, biking, exercising and exploring.

Zion National Park, Utah

October 16-19, 2017

 We stayed at Quail Creek State Park about 40 minutes outside of Zion National Park, arriving later in the day, we got set up and settled for the night. The following day we drove to Zion to explore with Moose! We walked the Pa’rus trail, which is about 2 miles and dog friendly! Yay! It was still pretty hot at Zion with temps in the high 80’s.

We stayed at Quail Creek State Park about 40 minutes outside of Zion National Park, arriving later in the day, we got set up and settled for the night. The following day we drove to Zion to explore with Moose! We walked the Pa’rus trail, which is about 2 miles and dog friendly! Yay! It was still pretty hot at Zion with temps in the high 80’s.

Angel's Landing

Angels’ Landing is probably Zion’s most popular strenuous hike, it’s 5 miles round trip with some steep switchbacks, drop offs and an elevation gain of 1500 ft. To summit this mountain, there are chains bolted into the rocks to assist climbers in some of the more challenging parts of the hike. We got up early to avoid the heat but it turned out to be a more chilly day and perfect hiking conditions.

The Narrows

If your traveling around Zion on their free shuttle, which I highly recommend, the Narrows is the last stop and about a mile walk from the Temple of Sinawava. The Narrows is the narrowest part of Zion Canyon and you can walk in the Virgin River wading upstream to explore as much or as little as you want. Unfortunately we were not prepared for that type of hike...next time!

 

Las Vegas, Nevada

October 10-16, 2017

 Of course, we couldn’t go on a road trip around the United States and not visit Las Vegas, it’s only been a year since our last visit! David and I do love Vegas but this trip was planned for a different reason - a hockey game! When you marry into a Red Wings family it’s instilled in you from that moment on and you become the ultimate wife supporter.  A few years ago the NHL (National Hockey League) announced the beginning of the Las Vegas Knights Hockey Team and over the years David and I have watched the T-Mobile arena come to life. When the NHL 2017-2018 schedule came out and David saw that the second ever home game (first Friday night game) was the Las Vegas Knights versus the Detroit Red Wings, not only were we all in, but a certain family member (SHMADAM) had his flight booked before we even had tickets to the game! A special thanks to UMB for securing us some amazing seats to the game!

Of course, we couldn’t go on a road trip around the United States and not visit Las Vegas, it’s only been a year since our last visit! David and I do love Vegas but this trip was planned for a different reason - a hockey game! When you marry into a Red Wings family it’s instilled in you from that moment on and you become the ultimate wife supporter.

A few years ago the NHL (National Hockey League) announced the beginning of the Las Vegas Knights Hockey Team and over the years David and I have watched the T-Mobile arena come to life. When the NHL 2017-2018 schedule came out and David saw that the second ever home game (first Friday night game) was the Las Vegas Knights versus the Detroit Red Wings, not only were we all in, but a certain family member (SHMADAM) had his flight booked before we even had tickets to the game! A special thanks to UMB for securing us some amazing seats to the game!

Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas

David and I arrived in Vegas a few days before the hockey fun was scheduled to begin, so we took a trip to Red Rock Canyon and hiked around with Moose. The hike was fun but a little hot for Moose so we cut it short and on my way back to the car I stumbled upon a Canadian with the craziest car, featuring a Moose on the roof. I love how fun and creative people’s “homes” are.

A hockey game in the desert!

The hockey game was well worth the effort and of course they won!

 

Las Vegas Strip

A few more shots from hanging around the strip.

Hoover Dam

Once our bank account was depleted we decided to get back to nature for the day and take a trip to Hoover Dam. This was my first time there, it's been on my list for a long time but having the car made it easier this time.

Death Valley NP, California

October 8-10, 2017

  We left the freezing temperatures at Yosemite and, just a few hours down the road, were greeted by the blistering heat once again - the weather just amazes me in this country! Yosemite National Park was at the end of their season, winter was on it’s way and, although open all year round, things were beginning to shut down. Death Valley on the other hand was just getting ready for their peak season, it’s so hot in the summer, if you are going to visit, it’s best to do so in the winter months. It was really windy there, hence the picture of David above, so the heat can be deceiving. Early October was still hot and presenting temps in the high 90’s, so our stay was short and sweet.

We left the freezing temperatures at Yosemite and, just a few hours down the road, were greeted by the blistering heat once again - the weather just amazes me in this country! Yosemite National Park was at the end of their season, winter was on it’s way and, although open all year round, things were beginning to shut down. Death Valley on the other hand was just getting ready for their peak season, it’s so hot in the summer, if you are going to visit, it’s best to do so in the winter months. It was really windy there, hence the picture of David above, so the heat can be deceiving. Early October was still hot and presenting temps in the high 90’s, so our stay was short and sweet.

Darwin Falls

This is a short but fun trail, it’s not clearly marked and you have to climb over rocks and pass back and forth over the “creek”.

Ghost Town

On the drive out of Death Valley, we stumbled upon this ghost town.....

Next stop Las Vegas, Nevada - no I'm not kidding this time!!! 

Yosemite NP, California

October 2-6, 2017

 Yosemite was our first taste of “winter”, all summer long we had been (unintentionally) following the heat and now we were waking up to temperatures in the mid 30’s! We had trouble finding availability to camp here so we had to spend 2 nights at Hodgdon Meadow (north west in the park) and then 2 nights in the Valley.

Yosemite was our first taste of “winter”, all summer long we had been (unintentionally) following the heat and now we were waking up to temperatures in the mid 30’s! We had trouble finding availability to camp here so we had to spend 2 nights at Hodgdon Meadow (north west in the park) and then 2 nights in the Valley.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley is the heart of the park, it’s where most of the popular sought after sights are, along with the visitor center and a few cafe/eateries. There are 3 campgrounds for tent camping or RV’s and one campground strictly for tents. I couldn’t believe how busy this park was, even off peak season traffic was unbelievable. People were camping outside the tents only campground to wait for a spot to open up in the morning - say that again….people camped out to pay for a camping spot?! 

Beware of the BEARS!!!

After a summer full of nature and National Parks we finally saw 2 bears - safely from the car of course!

North Dome Trail

North Dome is an 8.8 mile round trip hike, it starts at the Porcupine Trailhead off Tioga Pass road (where we saw the bears)! This trail is unique in the fact that North Dome is lower in elevation (about 600 ft) than the start of the trail head, but there’s plenty of ups and downs along the way, a pretty tough hike with stunning views of the famous Half Dome. We took a slight detour to check out Indian Rock too. When we finished the hike and made it back to the car, it was pretty cold and started snowing, nothing heavy at all but I wasn’t expecting snow!

Half Dome

 Half Dome is definitely one of the scariest things we have done this trip and toughest hike to date. Half Dome is the hike they say “you can’t die without trying, and the one you’re most likely to die while doing”. It’s 16.5 mile round trip, with a total elevation gain of 4,800 ft, and you must obtain a permit in order to be able to climb. The permit is a lottery system that you must apply for two days before you plan to hike - you can apply by phone or online. David and I applied and were both successful in getting a permit - visiting on the off season has it’s perks. I was very nervous because I had read a lot about Half Dome and knew it was going to be a challenge. Here are some highlights from the day, sweaty palms at the ready!

Half Dome is definitely one of the scariest things we have done this trip and toughest hike to date. Half Dome is the hike they say “you can’t die without trying, and the one you’re most likely to die while doing”. It’s 16.5 mile round trip, with a total elevation gain of 4,800 ft, and you must obtain a permit in order to be able to climb. The permit is a lottery system that you must apply for two days before you plan to hike - you can apply by phone or online. David and I applied and were both successful in getting a permit - visiting on the off season has it’s perks. I was very nervous because I had read a lot about Half Dome and knew it was going to be a challenge. Here are some highlights from the day, sweaty palms at the ready!

 There's not many days on the road that have us up before the chickens but this was one of them. Alarm was set for 4:30 am and we were on the trail by 5:30 am.

There's not many days on the road that have us up before the chickens but this was one of them. Alarm was set for 4:30 am and we were on the trail by 5:30 am.

Hiking in the dark, although a little daunting, was pretty cool. We could hear the waterfalls and wildlife around us but we couldn't see sh**!

And the sun came up! You can see the top of Half Dome in the top right picture - that was where we were headed!

The Cables: this was the scary scary part! The final 400 ft ascent was on the cables, which you can see are almost vertical up the side of the mountain. You don't want to hike this without some good gloves - although gardening gloves do work! The entire time up and down you are holding on for dear life, you need to keep one hand on the cables at all times. If trafficy, as you can see in the pictures, you have to communicate with fellow hikers and help each other out. This is scary but so worth it for the views at the top and the adrenaline factor once you get down the cables!

As you can see the views were out of this world and well worth the scary cable climb!

A few more from the decent in the daylight! Top left is a natural spring for refilling water about 3/4 of the way up. And the last picture was at the end of a very challenging, but rewarding 16.5 miles/10 hour day! Big shout out and thanks to our friends Ellie and Cam who watched Moose while we embarked on this adventure - much appreciated!