Monday, August 9, 2010

Days 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 – August 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 From Las Vegas to Zion NP to Bryce Canyon NP to Grand Canyon NP through Monument Valley to Moab and Arches NP to Park City to Evanston

Here we go… this is going to be pretty long…

Day 6
From Las Vegas to Zion National Park
We arrived in Las Vegas on time, managed to rent our great Chrysler Sebring Convertible (photo to come soon), learnt how to put the top down and left the rental parking lot. We managed to find our hotel (Bally’s, right on the Strip, next to Paris and on the other side of the Strip from the Bellagio) and to park our car. We started to be pretty jet-lagged since it was 11.30 pm and we wanted to get our stuff into the room and go for a short walk on the strip to see a bit of the city. We spent the next hour queuing for check-in – there were just two people at the reception desk… The girl then gave us a suite, which was nice of her but we got there at 1 am (which was 4 am for us). We still went out for a short walk, watched for a few minutes people throwing away their money in the casinos and had a disgusting soup and a good blt sandwich. By 2.30 am, we were fast asleep.
Since we were jet-lagged, we woke up around 7.30 am. The good point was, we had time to use the Jacuzzi bath in our suite. It was a great wake-up. By the time we got out to get breakfast and do some shopping at Victoria’s Secret, it was already 104’F (40’C) outside. When we left Las Vegas, we were extremely happy there was air-conditioning in our car.
Our first stop was at the Wal-Mart in St George, UT. We had to buy a new stove because our European one doesn’t fit on the gas containers sold in the shop. We made two discoveries : 1) all milk needs to be refrigerated, no TetraPak, 2) water is sold either in small bottles or in big jugs, no 1,5L bottles are to be found. It was 106’F outside and the wind that blew was extremely hot. The Snickers Stepan bought and wanted to eat before leaving the parking lot melted in the 2 minutes it took us to get from the shop into the car!
We arrived to Zion NP in the afternoon, bought America the Beautiful (entrance to all the parks), got to our campsite and took the shuttle (free, operates every 6-15 minutes, with a great explanation ranger talk) to the Zion Lodge. We hike the trail to the Lower, Middle and Upper Emerald Pools. Since it was before sunset, there were just a few people on the trails. It was great. On our way back, we met a tarantula. We didn’t see it at first but a guy showed it to us. Sunset was just stunning above these red and white mountains!

Day 7 – Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP
In the morning, we went for a hike into the Narrows. It’s a place where the canyon gets very narrow, there is no road or path or meadows, only the river. You hike upstream and then downstream in the Virgin River. Since the weather was super hot again, walking in cool water was great. We spent about 3 hours there and had really great time. The beginning was very crowded (Chinese families barefoot, carrying children in one hand and their camera in the other, people in blue-jeans and shirts…) but as the water got deeper and the rocks more slippery, the crowd disappeared. This hike was great. If you go there, be sure to have a pole and a waterproof bag to put your valuables.

To be continued for Bryce Canyon NP...

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