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Adventures are best when they’re shared

Adventures are best when they’re shared

When Austin first matched at Utah for residency, I really didn’t know what we were getting into. I visited Salt Lake City once in February during my own residency for an American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation meeting in February 2013 and I thought it was a miserable place. Little did I know that because I was visiting in February I caught the dreary inversion at its worst. Then Austin and I visited together when he was considering ranking Utah #1 and we had some very gracious hosts from my pharmacy school class. Utah was cool then, but I still didn’t really grasp the whole I-might-actually-move-there thing.

But then, match day came. He opened the match envelope and there it was. His #1 choice. Utah.

Then everyone started asking “oh do you ski?”

Me: “Nooooooo……”

Everyone: “Oh well how about the outdoors?”

Me: “Not really…”

I had always equated the “outdoors” with camping and getting dirty. I much preferred showers and a warm bed. But you have to think about where I am coming from. I lived in North Carolina since the age of 7. Growing up through college, I lived in central NC where there is neither mountains or beach. Then, after school I moved close to the beach. “Outdoors” in eastern NC was the beach. OR sweating your butt off on a walk around the park in the humidity, not ever seeing anything besides a pretty lake or pond because it was flat. And if you went camping, it was just to get dirty and say you did.

Austin’s very first vacation during residency we decided to do a “Utah world tour”. We wanted to check out all of the Utah national parks in 8 days. We were going to do some camping and some hotel stays. For anyone who is into National Parks, you know that just one day at most of these places is not enough…and we figured it wouldn’t be, but we lived here now so if we liked it enough, we would come back.

During that vacation we went to Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. It was pretty wild. And more importantly, I was hooked. Absolutely sold on the “outdoors”.

Since then, we have spent most of our free weekends exploring. It was even my idea to go camping a few weekends ago to Goblin Valley. Here’s a post about that weekend. I have wanted to share the beauty of Utah and the rest of the west with everyone since I moved here. Hey if I didn’t know about Utah, how many people did? (This is a rhetorical question…plenty of people knew, which is why they asked me over and over again if I liked the outdoors)

So when one of my friends, Collin, texted me about coming out to Utah over his spring break, I was pretty darn excited. Someone from the “outside” to share this place with. And he was a great sport. He arrived when I was out of town for work and explored the city and then when I got back, we immediately drove to southern Utah to get our adventure on.

We went to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Horseshoe Bend in northern Arizona. Horseshoe Bend is going to be my next post so stay tuned. Here I am just focused on the two National Parks. Here are some pictures from our trip. Be sure to compare these to just a few weekends ago when my parents were here (Bryce Canyon with my family & Zion National Park with my family)… it is AMAZING what a few weeks can do to the scenery.

Wildlife in Zion National Park
Wildlife in Zion National Park
Collin & I on top of the East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
Collin & I on top of the East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
Me at the East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
Me at the East Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park
Hiking in Zion National Park
Hiking in Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Life is all about perspective, right?
Life is all about perspective, right?
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

The trip was fantastic… going to have a part 2 for the northern AZ portion coming very soon. Once again, be sure to check out the posts from just two weeks ago to see how different the parks looked (Bryce Canyon with my family & Zion National Park with my family).

 

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero ****If you haven’t read or listened to this book yet, PLEASE do. This is somewhere around the 10th time in the last year I have read/listened to it and it is SUCH a great book. Very influential mindset wise. I always get something new out of it each time.

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 2 – Bryce Canyon

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 2 – Bryce Canyon

If you caught my last post, you know that my parents visited over President’s Day weekend and as they had already visited once before, they decided they wanted to see some parts of Utah besides just Salt Lake City and Park City. Therefore we decided to take a weekend trip from Salt Lake City to the National Parks. We planned a nice little loop from Salt Lake City with the first stop being the closest national park – Capitol Reef. The next stop after that was Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon is definitely more popular than Capitol Reef, but still not the most well-known national park in Utah. It is also significantly higher in elevation than Capitol Reef. Since our visit was in February, we caught it in the snow! It is truly a magical place in the snow. If you want to do some hiking in Bryce Canyon in the winter time (or ANYWHERE at a high elevation), you will definitely want to invest in some Kahtoola microspikes. These spikes attach to your hiking boots and will help substantially with your footing in the snow. As a side note, these are the exact spikes that I have and I highly recommend them. Many people go instead with Yaktrax, which are much less expensive but also not nearly as substantial. I have heard many reports of these breaking.

Here is a link to the Kahtoola microspikes:

Since the whole family was not equipped with these, we decided to pass on the hiking. However, I have done the Queens Garden trail twice which takes you down in the canyon so you can see it up close and personal. It is very beautiful!

Bryce Canyon is famous for the “hoodoos” which are beautiful rock formations. You can see a lot of these various formations in the pictures below.

 

Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park

So this is part two of our weekend trip from Salt Lake City. Once again, if you missed part one, you can check it out here. Be on the lookout for part 3 coming soon.

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie