Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Monday, May 2, 2011

We woke up early again this morning (thank you, jet lag), ready to see a bit more of Zion National Park. Nora woke up happy...

...but before we could even finish getting ready for the day, she was already ready for a morning nap. So, while I busied myself with photos and a couple of blog posts, she snoozed beside me...

...and meanwhile, Michael took a short walk outside. It was still REALLY early, so the sun was just starting to illuminate the mountains around us.
Of course, this was the big news of the day:

Since we're on Mountain Time in Utah, it was still relatively early here when President Obama made the announcement last night, so we were already pretty well-versed on the details.

When Nora woke up from her nap, we decided to take a short hike before check-out time. Nora helped us map it out. (She may have eaten a little paper. Whoops. Fiber, right?)

The hike was literally only half a mile (round trip!) so it was just a little walk, though steep at parts.
Our expectations were pretty low, but we were pleasantly surprised by the views when we got to the top.

After spending a little time snapping some pics, we went back to the room to pack everything up into the car and check out of the hotel. Once done, we walked to a nearby restaurant (Cafe Soleil) to have some lunch.
Full of food, we decided to drive up the mountain a ways to find another one of the moderate trails. Once inside the park, we discovered we couldn't drive ourselves the way we originally planned to go (you have to take a shuttle), and we found that the direction we had driven was actually taking us toward our next destination (Bryce Canyon National Park). Rather than head all the way back down like we had originally planned to do prior to leaving Zion completely, we changed our minds and decided to hike a trail closer to where we found ourselves--and once done, simply head out to Bryce from there!

The nearest trail was the Canyon Overlook Trail, a 1-mile trail that was narrow, steep and rocky, but had a lot of guard rails, so was still suitable for us, even though we were toting a baby!

This was a really fun hike that we enjoyed. The scenery was fantastic, the terrain was varied--it kept things interesting. We took it slow, stopping for a lot of photos on the way up.

Once again, Nora slept for part of this hike. I guess she finds the Ergo pretty comfy!

A couple of times, we came upon a few big horn sheep on the trail. We thought they were goats (yeah, so, we're city folk), but when I told a fellow hiker in passing, "You'll see some goats on the trail up there," he replied, "Goats? Or big horn sheep?" Smartass.

Look! It's Nora and Michael with a "goat"!

At the top of the trail, there is a gorgeous view of Zion Canyon:
On the way back down, we saw the big horn sheep again, except closer this time:

Pretty cool.
Once back at the car, we realized that our alternate plan worked out perfectly, because it was late afternoon and it was a fine time to start the 2-3 hour drive to Bryce Canyon National Park. So, we strapped Nora into the car seat and we hit the road again.

After a bit more driving through Zion, we saw this sign:
...and we were officially done with Zion. It's a beautiful park, and we hope to go back to explore more of it some day. There is too much that we just didn't have time to see.

The drive between Zion and Bryce was quite beautiful. It started off with views like this:

And as we got closer and closer to Bryce, it turned into views like this:

These sights make us excited for what we will see inside Bryce tomorrow. When we arrived here and checked into our hotel room at Ruby's Inn, it was early evening and we only had time to get dinner before it was time to get Nora to bed. So, the park awaits us in the morning!

One thing I have to say is that we are not very impressed with the town of Bryce. There is not much here... not much at all. And Ruby's Inn, our hotel, leaves much to be desired. We're not hotel snobs, but still, this is a bit outdated for our tastes. I find it hard to feel 100% comfortable in hotel rooms like this. I'm glad we're only staying for one night!

We have faith that the park will be worth the stay in the crappy room. :)


Catherine May 9, 2011 at 7:26 AM  

Did the hotels you stayed at had cribs? We are taking a trip soon, but are driving so we will take our pack and play.

We are staying in a rented house the majority of our trip, but two nights we will be at a hotel. I am dreading those nights because like Nora, our son goes to bed early - by 7pm. So, we are going to be forced to go to bed at the same time too I guess! With just a small hotel room, I'm not sure it will be possible for him to be sleeping while we watch TV or something. Just wondering how you managed.

Heather May 9, 2011 at 11:31 AM  

Hi Catherine--

Yes, all of the hotels we stayed at had cribs. Each hotel's definition of "crib" can vary. Some had actual portable cribs on wheels that were smaller than standard cribs. Others have pack 'n' plays. We always pack our own sheets--a crib sheet and a pack 'n' play sheet.

As for the nights in the hotel, I guess it depends on the baby, but Nora does pretty well sleeping in the room while we stay awake. Obviously, we keep things pretty dark (all lights off except for one), keep the volume on the TV low, and talk quietly, but she sleeps peacefully. We usually try to set up the crib/pack 'n' play in an area of the room that is relatively dark. In some cases, depending on the size of the hotel room, it's easy to set them up in the hallway near the door, or the bathroom. Also, I tend to hang sheets or blankets off the sides of the crib while we're awake, to help block some of the stray light, and also to block her from being able to see us should she stir. Normally, if she opens her eyes to turn over or whatever, she'll go back to sleep, but if she could see us, it would be all over!

Good luck with your travels!

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