Utah – a dream for nature lovers

Doing an around-the-world trip is something we wish everyone could experience. Every now and then we had to ask ourselves if what we have experienced happened for real. More often than not, it feels like dream. However, with such a large and busy schedule it’s impossible to look up everything in before hand and plan in details. Questions like “So, what shall we to today?” pop up frequently. But that is the charm of traveling too!

It was kind of like that in Utah. The many national parks had attracted us here, but other than that we did not really know what to expect. The beauty of having no/low expectations is that you don’t need as much to feel satisfied. And oh boy how this state just totally blow our minds! Some of the most spectacular natural wonders are hidden here and literally took our breath away.

Toadstool trailhead.Kind of look like giant mushrooms.Literally a jaw-dropping sight…All along on the wire trail.The beauty of this place was almost difficult to grasp.

This is what awaited us on the other side of the narrow canyon.Someone is very happy!The size of that rock though! Can you spot Minna?

It was dark when we left Wire trail behind us and continued towards Zion National Park. With only about 50 km left, there was a sign saying we needed a permit to drive this road if you have a “large vehicle”. If the height of the vehicle was more than 13.1 feet, you had to turn around. There is currently a government shutdown in the United States and thus the amount of personnel in national parks is very limited. Considering our RV was 13.0 feet high and turning around would mean a 3-4h detour… not so fun after a full day and many hours of driving already. So, we decided to go for it!

What we did not know was that ice, snow and a long & low tunnel awaited us… Minna was extremely nervous as we had to drive in the middle of the tunnel in order to fit and the curves in the tunnel made it difficult to foresee cars coming from the other direction. If that were to happen, we would be trapped (or worse, have an accident)! After what seemed to be forever, we came our from the two kilometre long tunnel without a scratch and without encountering any traffic, only to pass three cars two minutes later! Not sure if it should be called luck for just pure foolishness. I guess we all need a little adventure in life?

The next day another adventure awaited: Angel’s Landing. The most popular trail in Zion. Did we mention that Zion National Park is the third most visited in the whole United States? That information had gone past us, and left us chocked when we saw the massive crowd waiting for the shuttle buses. Luckily, the park is large and offers many trails and since Angel’s Landing is a rather challenging one, the crowd did not bother us too much.

The goal of the day was to reach the top of this mountain (which we were not aware of when this photo was taken).Impressive cliffs rise around us.

Erosion has created the steep mountains and large valleys. The river is still carving itself deeper into the ground.As a trekker, it is important to stop and look how far you have come. Especially when the way forward only goes uphill. Fashion points to Viktor for the grandpa-style cap.

1,5 hour later we reached the lookout spot, which was about halfway. Ice and snow had started to cover the surface and we wished we had kept the crampons (snow chains for shoes) we sent home after our trekking in Nepal. Angel’s Landing was still ahead of us and the trail had switched to a narrow path with chains to grab onto. Not many people chose to do this part today, since the conditions made it more dangerous that usual. Passing the warning signs, we started climbing, and held onto the chains as hard as we could – not paying attention and you could easily slip over the edge, a fall of several hundred meters. After what seemed like hours we finally reached Angel’s Landing. Now, there was just the same steep and slippery way back…

First part of the narrow path towards Angel’s Landing.Glad to have reached the top!View from the trail.One happy trekker!

Next morning, we and our sore legs decided to sleep in. Even thought the park was amazingly beautiful, the crowds and shuttle bus would be a bit too much for a shorter walk. With already a good memory and feeling of the park, we headed towards Nevada instead, and Las Vegas!