Bryce Canyon

Sunset of the Amphitheater of Bryce Canyon

The story continues… We said goodbye to my parents and stayed in Lake Tahoe another day to plan the last 2 weeks of our road-trip. For a while, the plan was to boulder in Joe’s Valley, which is just south of Salt Lake City, and then head to southern Utah and northern Arizona to see some desert canyons before making our way home. Well, Joe’s Valley never happened. We were deterred by the hot weather, for one. Plus, neither one of us had been to Joe’s before and we didn’t have the energy to suss out all the beta (both for climbing and camping). So we enjoyed a lovely day in SLC and, with a bit of regret, admittedly, bi-passed Joe’s Valley and headed straight to Panguitch, Utah, which is 20 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park!

At the risk of sounding repetitive, Bryce Canyon is awe-some! It has the same stunning colours typical of that part of the country but it features these fantastically unique sand towers. It’s also relatively small, compared to other national parks and canyons, so we were able to go down into the canyon and back up again in a couple of hours – a fantastic hike! The lookouts from the top were also breathtaking, as you will see in the following album…

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Lake Tahoe

Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe

As many of you now know, we are, in fact, no longer on the road. But we still have lots of photos to share and I will continue to write about the last couple of weeks of our trip from the comfort of my favourite red chair!

So… picking up where we left off. Mono Lake was a spectacular detour on our way to Lake Tahoe. We didn’t really know what to expect, actually; we were mostly curious about this popular outdoor recreation destination. And, as usual, Mig had a couple photo opportunities in mind: Sand Harbour and Bonzai Rock (Mig got a nice shot of the former but the latter one didn’t really turn out as he’d liked.)

We were there in-between high seasons, which meant that some of the (summer) activities we were interested in weren’t yet available. So we ended up taking it easy… chatting and debating in coffee shops, a little shopping, driving to vista points and lying on the beach! Doing nothing on a beach was a fantastic change of pace and it was especially fun watching A.J. discover and play in the sand. The water was freezing cold but my dad and I went in anyway ;). It was also Mother’s Day when we were there and, even though my father hates hallmark holidays, as a new mom hanging out with my mom, it was kinda special. So that was it really – a fun, relaxing way to finish off the holiday with my parents!

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Mono Lake… again!

Above ground tufa formation

After Yosemite, the plan was to go (still with my parents) to Lake Tahoe for a few days. When we checked our route on-line, we noticed that we’d be driving right by Mono Lake! As some of you readers may recall, we had already taken a special trip to see Mono Lake, 2 months beforehand, when we were staying in Bishop. That time it was freezing cold and the “tufa towers” (calcium-carbonate spires) were covered with snow! This time it was a lovely 15 degrees or something so we could actually walk on the beach and see these interesting formations! We got there at the end of the day, which made for great lighting. Enjoy this short little album!

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Yosemite, part 2

Both valleys from Glacier Point, with Vernal Falls

When we weren’t climbing, we focused (haha) on taking photos. Mig was especially motivated, getting up early for the morning light, staying up late to catch the stars or, as it was, to try and capture the famous “moonbow” at the base of Yosemite Falls. This event – when a rainbow forms by the full moon-light – only happens once or twice a year (around May or June), when the angle of the full moon is just right and the falls are strong enough to create enough mist (i.e. spring!). Mig was super excited that our time in the Valley happened to coincide with this event, for which many photographers will plan special trips! Even without the moonbow, Yosemite has so many striking views, we both had a lot of fun trying to capture them in photos.

Family

About 10 days into our stay, my parents arrived! We moved with them to a permanent “tent” (3 concrete walls and a canvas curtain) on a gorgeous site, right beside the Merced River, at Housekeeping Camp. My mum and dad love to hike and sight-see, so together we walked to Mirror Lake, hiked to Yosemite Falls and Taft Point, and drove to the Tunnel View and Glacier Point. We also almost ran our tank empty and basically stumbled on to Mariposa Grove while looking for a gas station! We drank tea, made smores, saw the full moon rise, and just had an all around fabulous time. The hike to the top of Vernal Falls was particularly beautiful. My parents did it the day before we left, while Mig and I went to check out one final boulder area. They raved about it so much that we decided to do it ourselves the next morning before heading out. Having grandma around meant that we could go baby-free (a first!) and so were able to do it pretty quickly – but not so quickly that we didn’t completely take in the gorgeous views and appreciate the hike. It was spectacular. Good beta, mum and dad!

So we left Yosemite on a high. While we packed in a lot of activities, we also found time to relax and enjoy the beauty around us and the people we were with: new friends, old friends and family. And all with blue sky and sunshine…for 2 weeks straight! Pretty darn awesome.

In the album below you’ll find our favourite pics from our 2nd week in the Valley, which are among our favourites of the whole trip!

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