While coming from warm Jamaica Denver greets us with rain and 3 degrees. Our truck needs some service and so it takes 3 more days till we are on the road again. For the next 3 weeks we have a visit from Manfreds daughter Katja and we pick her up at Denver airport.
We have designed a nice route for Katja with many top highlights on the way. After one night in a hotel to get rid of her jetlag we start our journey in a threesome. The first 3 hours we climb up to 3200 thru heavy snowfall and rain until we reach the state park Rifle Falls where we stop for the night. The area is a paradise for rock climbers and we make a nice hike around the water falls the next morning.
After a lot of miles on the Interstate we turn off to the Scenic route 128 which leads us along the Colorado river thru a beautiful canyon landscape. We find a place for the night on the Hittle Bottom Campground with a panoramic view a few miles from Moab.
The next morning we continue our journey to the Arches National Park. We stop at various view points and make a nice hike to the Delicate Arch which is also the emblem of Utah. The campground in the park is closed for maintenace this year and so we stay on public land for the night a few miles from Moab.
On the next morning we must get up early because we have booked a rafting trip on the Colorado River. A bus brings us to the starting point and then we have a lot of fun to drive through the different rapids. In the afternoon we visit again the Arches Park to see the highlights we've missed yesterday before we continue to Canyonsland.
The Canyonsland National Park is huge and divided in different sections. We start with the classic part and look at the Canyon from various view points. On the second day we explore the area around Deadhorse Point.
We go back to Moab and move on to the other side of Canyonsland. At Needles Outlook we find a nice place for overnight with an awesame view.
We move on to Needles district which is still in Canyonsland. We make a nice hike to the Potholes before we leave the area and stay overnight in the National Forest of Manti-La-Sal.
On the next day we decide that our senses need some rest. After a short drive we stop at a lake and enjoy a day of swimming and relaxing.
After our morning swim we have an American Breakfast in Blanding and move on to the Natural Bridge. On our way we also pass some Navajo dwellings. The Natural bridge can be easily viewed from a loop road with different stops. Then we continue to the Muley overlook which is under the top 50 view points in North America. We spend the night there and have a fantastic view from the rim to the valley.
In the morning we drive down Moki Dugway which is an unpaved road and goes very steep down to the valley in a lot of switch backs. We then cross the Valley of Gods and make a short detour to the Gooseneck Statepark where the San Juan River has developed a deep Canyon in some million years.
And then comes Monument Valley where we drive the spectacular loop road. The night we spend a few miles away at the tipi village campground.
On the next day we escape from the heat and drive to the Navajo National Monument which is on 3200m. Here the temperatures are bearable and the nice campground is free. In the afternoon we do a nice hike to the Outlook with a beautiful view from the rim into the Canyon and to the dwellings
We contiunue our journey to Page and Lake Powell and all of a sudden we were in the middle of mass tourism. Despite the ticket costs for the Antelope Canyon the waiting time was more than 2 hours and we turned around immediately. The same picture at Lake Powell and a sand storm on top of it. We spend the night on a hill not far from the dam and have at least a sand free night.
The next morning we try it again for swimming at Lake Powell. All went well till midday as the sand storm continued. Now its enough and we take flight. After a short detour to the Horseshoe Bend we drive up to the North Rim of Grand Canyon where we find a nice campground in the National Forest.
We visit the North Rim and drive a lot of miles to the different view points before we go back to our campground in the National Forest.
We drive back to Kanab and visit the Toadstool Hoodos before we turn into the unpaved Cottonwood Canyon Road which leads 45 miles thru the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. On half way we find a nice place for overnight and do a few nice hikes to the Narrows and to Grosvenor Arch before we come back to the paved road which leads directly to the Kodachrome Park.
We stay in Kodachrome park for a few hours before we move on to Bryce Canyon where we stay in the National Forest for the night only a few miles from the main entrance.
We have a beautiful day for the visit of Bryce Canyon and make a 3 hours hike thru the Canyon and another hike from the Bryce Point to the Sunset Point. Late afternoon we return to our overnight place in the National Forest and visit a Rodeo in the evening which takes place every day close to the visitor center.
On the next morning we move on to the Zion National Park with the spectacular drive thru the canyon and the tunnel. We take the shuttle into the park and make a short hike at the riverwalk with thousands of other tourists at 40 degrees. This is not real fun. We stay at the campground in Springsdale where we relax in the hammock and swim in the river.
Our last stop in a threesome is Las Vegas. Due to the current heatwave with temperatures above 120F we skip the visit of the Valley of Fire and drive directly into town. We've booked a hotel for two nights not far from the strip where we can easily reach all attractions. As a leaving surprise for Katja we have arranged tickets for Love from Cirque de Soleil and so the last hours pass quickly. It was a wonderful time. Thanks very much!
Katja now goes back to her working life and we continue our journey to the North, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana. We will certainly report further. Until then have fun reading and watching the pictures.