A Grand Circle

1 11 2009

And so into the depths of the desert we went, barren dryness all around, first at Canyonlands N.P and then Capitol Reef N.P, which did actually have some nice yellow and orange trees to break up the views of rocks!

Here we broke the tent out of hibernation and were promptly frozen solid – 9000ft not the warmest re-introduction to life under canvas!

Our next National Park was Bryce Canyon where they have hundreds of big Orange Hoodoos in the rock amphitheaters. We went for a couple of good, albeit hot, walks around the park including the arrogantly titled ‘Best 3 mile hike in the world’! It was actually pretty nice with some really impressive views, even more so than the Grand Canyon we thought!

Bryce Canyon Hoodoos

Once we’d had a few days at Bryce Canyon we went over to Page, centre of the Grand Circle, the collective name for lots of desert, and checked back into a cheap motel for a few days to warm up.

Here we went Kayaking for a few hours around Lake Powell and down the Antelope River and also to Antelope Slot canyon in the Navajo parks.

Antelope Canyon

After spending most of the day down in the canyon taking photos we drove to the beach for the last few hours of sunshine. Unfortunately we tried to drive all the way down to the beach-front in our family saloon and managed to beach ourselves in the ‘European Sand Trap’! After 45 minutes of digging with our flip flops and with fading light we gave in and went to find a man with a truck and a rope!

Continuing the theme of silly mistakes I spent the evening trying to scissor-cut my hair, first into an 80’s mullett and then a cat-chewed version of a short, back and sides. By the end of the evening however we’d given up trying to repair the damage I’d done and Zoë had reduced me to a Travis Bickle – at least I’m not so hot in the desert sun now!

My attempt on the left, Zoe's on the right

After Page we went over to Zion N.P for a few days of strenuous hiking and camping and then back to Las Vegas to replenish ourselves on Cheesecake and Burgers! We went up to Downtown Vegas to check out the ‘Fremont Street Experience’ which I suspected might involve getting mugged after spotting the calibre of locals hanging about! All was OK though – Fremont street is lit up by all the old casino’s as well as a 460m long TV screen on the underside of the streets ‘roof’ – pretty impressive, especially to all the Americans who stood stock still staring at the ceiling for probably 10 minutes, mesmerized by the video playing to Don Mcleans American Pie!

Hiking to Angels Landing, Zion N.P

We’ve been in San Diego for the last few days before we fly out of Los Angeles tonight. Here we’ve been to the San Diego Zoo which was ok, lots of little animals, all running around on a school trip screaming and being obnoxious. There were more sedentary ones on show, polar bears, panda’s etc.. although the appeal of Zoo’s has faded considerably now that we’re increasingly seeing most of these animals in the wild.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon practicing sitting on the beach up at La Jolla in preparation for the tough month ahead in the South Pacific. Desert Island beaches tend to send people mental if the TV is to be believed, Castaway, Lost etc.. so we better make sure we’re able to cope!

The Cook Islands will be our new home after the weekend and then a return to Fiji in a couple of weeks. I think we better learn to like Coconuts!

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