Friday, November 14, 2014

Southern Utah!

After a successful job interview we headed out to make our way to St. George, UT to visit Sue's mom.  We had earlier promised to visit and clean their carpets, which we ultimately did.  But that's boring.  The good stuff is that we took the southern route and ended up in Monticello, UT for a visit to the Monticello Temple.  

What a gem it is in this tiny town in red rock land.  We had a nice visit.  Then we went on to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.  Many years ago we visited this place so Sue could run a 50K event (I was broken, so I stayed in the campground with the kids) and since then she has always wanted to show me a specific place far into the desert...the Joint.  So, we went back to see it.  We decided to try camping in the back of our VW Sportwagen...

...and it almost worked.  It seems I'm either just a bit too tall or its just a bit too short, but the experiment failed.  After I un-kinked myself in the morning, we had a great time.  By the way, southern UT is a great place for sunsets and sunrises.

We got up early the next morning and were on our way, and what a beautiful place this is!  Quite different from Banff and Yellowstone, but just as striking in its own way.  We hiked a little the evening before and saw some fun rock formations.

Our morning hike led into a neat bowl that had a really great echo

and ultimately to the Joint itself.  This is a real wonder, and we hardly saw any people along the way!

It would be hard to find a more beautiful, diverse and enjoyable 11 mile hike anywhere!  And it sure finishes well!

After the hike we blasted off to our treat for the evening, a hotel room at Ruby's Inn in Bryce Canyon National Park.  But, to my chagrin, I had made the reservation for the following week!  Heaven smiled (once more) and there was a last minute cancellation that allowed us to get a room.  Strangely enough, this was a time of Big Bus Tours at Bryce, and there were certainly a lot of people, many foreign, enjoying the trails.  It was quite a contrast from the previous day, when it felt like we had southern UT all to ourselves.

Then we went off to Grandma's house to clean carpets and enjoy some calm and quiet.  Sue and I have long wanted to visit the Manti, UT temple, so we planned our departure so that we could do so on our way back to Provo.  Well, we didn't look at the schedule too well, and while I was putting on my tie in the parking lot a man approached me and said that the temple was closed for cleaning!  Bummer!  But, being good at making lemonade, we went up to the back door and asked if we could help clean!  We did that for a couple of hours and also got a tour of the temple!  This is a beautiful Pioneer temple that is truly magnificent.  We enjoyed our time there and really want to get back.

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