A Travellerspoint blog

June 2021

Utah Again, Day 5: Sunrise is Just a Word

rain 71 °F

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The weather was somewhat rainy today. It made it difficult to plan for hikes or other activities. However, we had lunch with Catherine's parents and decided that the weather would allow for a drive and possibly would clear enough for a hike. We drove to Bryce Canyon National Park, which is a beautiful route through a prairie/ high desert landscape.
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We arrived in Bryce Canyon National Park, which is a very interesting location. It is similar in some ways to Cedar Breaks, and somewhat different from Zion. It feels more temperate and less desert-like than Zion, and is much cooler. They also appear to have bat boxes.
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We decided to go to Sunrise Point, which caused a bit of a discussion. Anthony pointed out that "sunrise is just a word" when someone suggested that we might go to Sunset Peak instead. He was trying to point out that Sunrise Peak was beautiful even in the afternoon, and was not only suitable for viewing at sunrise. However, this lead to a lot of other statements, like "a hike is just a state of mind" and "Brian Head is just in your head." Eventually we got to the parking area but had a bit of trouble finding the trailhead. Catherine was actually the one who found it: she is apparently now an expert in geography and navigation.
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Some of the trails have interesting, fairytale-like names.
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We went to Sunrise Point and found that it is in fact a very real place and not merely a word. It would be beautiful at sunrise, but it was beautiful in the afternoon as well.
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Catherine suggested that Anthony and Daniel could do the Queen's Garden trail, which involved a hike down into the amphitheater and then back up. She and Katie waited at the point.
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There were amazing views from the hike down into Queen's Garden. It seems almost prehistoric, like a setting where you would expect to see dinosaurs and pterosaurs.
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Daniel and Anthony during the Queen's Garden hike.

We left Bryce in time to get back to Brian Head and get on the road to St. George. Catherine's brother, Fr. Michael, had been at a conference in Kansas City and was flying in to St. George to join the group. Since we tend to stay up a bit later and his plane was coming in at 9:00PM, we were the ones who went over to get him. We got back to Brian Head and then left in time to have dinner and pick Fr. Michael up at the airport.

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We had dinner at a Peruvian restaurant called Viva Chicken. Catherine got a chicken sandwich and Daniel got a rice bowl, and we also had some plantains. We seem to have eaten a surprising amount of South American food on this trip, which isn't exactly what we expected in Utah. We also tried Inca Kola, which we had heard of before and seen people drinking but never tried. It isn't really much like cola at all: it tastes more like a cream soda.

We then drove to the Saint George Airport, which was very small. Fr. Michael's plane landed and he was at our car within fifteen minutes. We then drove all the way back to Brian Head. When we turned to go up the mountain he felt like we were going to the middle of nowhere, which is somewhat accurate. Catherine's parents came over to visit for a bit. We will probably have a restful day tomorrow, especially because it might be rainy and stormy again. There are a lot of beautiful drives and fun things to do indoors as well, however, so if hikes or mountain biking aren't options we will find something else to do!

Posted by danielcatherine 05:20 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Utah Again, Day 4: Vote for Pedro

Pronounced "Peedro"

overcast 72 °F

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Today was a somewhat less eventful day. We slept in a bit and then decided to drive to Parowan to buy some groceries. Catherine texted everyone to see what they were doing, but no one really responded. It seems that most of them were outside of phone service at the time. Luckily, Kristina messaged back after a bit, so she came with us. We decided first to go see the Parowan Petroglyphs. We've written about them before: they are fascinating images and well worth seeing. Inside the Parowan Gap it is easy to imagine how it would have looked in ancient times when people stopped here and carved art into the walls for whatever reason they had.
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(This picture was added in an edit on 6/23/21. Catherine and Kristina had insisted on Daniel posing like the guy on the Hamburger Patty's sign).
After that we went to Hamburger Patty's, a restaurant we had visited last year. Daniel got the "Indian Taco," which is served on frybread and was very good. We also had frybread with honey butter for dessert. We enjoyed it and Kristina did too. After that we went to the Parowan Market to get some supplies for our dinner tonight. It was really nice to catch up with Kristina after not having seen her in person for over a year.

Catherine's parents came over for dinner, and so did Nick and Crystalynne and their kids. We had the bierocks that we had picked up in Tehachapi on our way here: the kids had pepperoni pizza bierocks and the adults had the traditional beef, onion, and cabbage. They were very good. We also had a cherry pie that we had bought at the Parowan Market for dessert. Side note: the cherry pie was difficult to slice so Catherine served it as a cherry compote. Cecilia gobbled it up and said "thank you for the cherry compost, Auntie."

After dinner we went over to Catherine's Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary's condo to play games for a little. We played "Just One," a game where you try to give one-word clues to get someone to guess another word. As always, we had a lot of laughs.

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Daniel brought his telescope on this trip so that we could have an astronomy night. Cedar Breaks National Monument is a dark sky site. Unfortunately, it was somewhat cloudy. We set up the telescope at the resort instead of going into the National Monument for the dark skies, since it was unlikely that we would have been able to see much anyway. We were able to look at the moon as well as a few stars. It might be possible to look at some other things later on during the trip. Catherine's parents, her Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary and Justin, and Ryan and Kristina came down to look through the telescope. After that, we asked Ryan and Kristina if they would teach us to play Pedro.
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Pedro is a card game, and it is pronounced Peedro. It is very popular in San Benito County, California, where Catherine's dad's family is from. It is a trick-taking game, which Catherine (having tried to learn it as a young child) described as "the most bizarre game in the world." When we learned it, it wasn't actually all that bizarre. Catherine has sometimes referred to some of her family members as having a "Pedro Brain," and tonight she began to suspect she might just have a Pedro brain after all. It was similar in some ways to 500, the game we play with Daniel's family. We are hoping to teach 500 to Ryan and Kristina later on during the trip.

Posted by danielcatherine 07:17 Archived in USA Tagged market dinner games pedro petroglyphs astronomy parowan hamburger_patty's bierocks frybread indian_taco just_one Comments (1)

Utah Again, Day 3: The Emerald Pools

sunny 103 °F

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Today we went to Zion National Park with Nick and Crystalynne, Joe and Mary, Ryan, and Justin. Above you can see another picture of the Ringtail Cat sculptured that reminded Catherine of Flora so much last year. For comparison, we have included a picture of Flora. They do have somewhat similar tails.
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The rest of the group wanted to hike The Narrows, which follows the Virgin River back past the paved trail. You walk in the river, and most people rent equipment to do it. We decided to do the Kayenta Trail, which starts at a place called The Grotto and ascends to the three Emerald Pools: Upper, Middle, and Lower.
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There weren't very many people on the trail as we were hiking up. We encountered a few people on their way down, but the information they gave us about the top of the trail was somewhat vague. Our hope was to reach the pools and then hike down the other way, on the Emerald Pools Trail back to Zion Lodge.
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We kept going towards the pools.
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Eventually we reached the Middle Pool. There was a short secondary trail to the Upper Pool, but we wanted to figure out our path to make sure we were on track to get to the Lodge and to meet up with the group on time, so we headed down to the lower pool. The lower pool is, understandably, below the upper pool. There is a waterfall that you walk behind, and there is the interesting phenomenon of small plants growing on the well-watered ledge behind the waterfall.
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The path from the lower pool to the Lodge was much easier than the Kayenta Trail from the Grotto. We were able to finish it much more quickly than the trail up. It also provided some beautiful views, but the way up was unmatched for quiet serenity.
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We arrived at the Lodge, where we were able to see deer and wild turkeys. Most of it had been closed last year, but this year the gift shop in the lodge was open so we looked around there a bit before taking the shuttle back to the visitors' center.
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At the visitors' center we were able to get some nice pictures of the moon as it came up over the rocks. We waited there for the rest of our group: phone service wasn't good, so we waited for some time and got a text that the rest of our group was getting on the shuttle at about the same time they arrived. They had had fun on the Narrows trail, but we still felt happy with our choice of hiking Kayenta Trail.
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We went to a cafe in Springdale called Oscar's, which mostly serves Mexican food but also has burgers and other sandwiches. Catherine got chili verde tamales and Daniel got enchiladas. It was a very good meal (note, the building in the picture is not Oscar's, but a building across the street. The picture was taken from Oscar's and shows the moon over the rocks).

Posted by danielcatherine 06:25 Archived in USA Tagged lodge hike quiet flora grotto zion narrows emerald_pool ringtail oscar's kayenta Comments (1)

Utah Again, Day 2: Dead Duck

semi-overcast 76 °F

Note: No ducks die nor are any found dead in the course of this entry.
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We went with Catherine's parents, her Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe, and her cousin Justin on a hike at Cedar Breaks National Monument. This was one we didn't do last year, which went to a place called Spectra Point.
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Some pictures along our hike. The contrast between the forest and the amphitheaters is really incredible.
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A historical building, and some more views.
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We got to Spectra Point which was incredibly beautiful. It was amazing for the people who hadn't yet been to Brian Head to see how close this is to our resort.
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After the hike, Joe and Mary hosted a barbecue at the barbecue area at the resort. After dinner we made s'mores, and Ryan and Kristina's son Noah wanted to play "Dead Duck." When we agreed to play Dead Duck, dead duck had a great deal in common with Duck Duck Goose. In fact, it was indistinguishable, except for having fewer and less consistent rules. It quickly devolved into chasing, similar to a game that Daniel's sister Hilary created as a child called "Roll Hot Potato."

We then went to the bar at the resort and talked about going to Zion National Park tomorrow!

Posted by danielcatherine 05:15 Archived in USA Tagged bar duck zion barbecue spectra cedar_breaks historical_house dead_duck roll_hot_potato Comments (0)

Utah Again, Day 1: Venezuela

sunny 120 °F

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Flora was, as always, very helpful in our packing process.

This year, we are going to Brian Head, Utah again with more of Catherine's family: her parents, her brother Nick and his wife Crystalynne and their kids, and her Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary's family. Her brother Fr. Michael will also be joining us for part of the trip. It is exciting to be back with a larger group!

We picked up some pastries in Tehachapi at a German bakery, and also got some bierocks to have as our group dinner.

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In Las Vegas it was extremely hot and extremely crowded. We tried for some time to find parking, which was difficult. We wanted to go to Cornish Pasty Co., but there was no parking to be found anywhere nearby. Instead, we found a place called Viva Las Arepas, which is Venezuelan food. They had empanadas (which are of course very similar to pasties) and arepas, which seem more like a sandwich. It was very good, and we will probably go back another time when we are on our way through Las Vegas.

By the time we finished dinner it was dark, and we journeyed through Nevada, the northwestern-most tip of Arizona, and southern Utah in the darkness, reaching our destination at 12:30. We had to check in with the security guard, and we were exhausted. We're very excited about the upcoming trip!

Posted by danielcatherine 19:33 Archived in USA Tagged las_vegas arizona cat utah flora venezuela nevada empanadas selma arepas pasties bierocks tehachapi Comments (1)

A Note to Our Readers/ Utah Day 6, 7, and 8

We apologize for not having finished our blog last year. We had a poor internet connection, and then when we got home various responsibilities made it hard to finish the blog and it kind of slipped our minds. However, we are now starting another trip and would like to blog about it, so we felt we should recap the last three days of last year's trip.

Utah Day 6: July 10th, 2020
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We went for a hike at Cedar Breaks, which was relaxing after the heat and intensity of Zion the day before.
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The short hike provided some amazing views.
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We went for a drive and saw the nearby lakes.
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Then we tried Sasquatch Donuts. It is the strangest doughnut place we've seen, but one of the best. It seems that there is constantly a DJ and dancing going on, and that the doughnuts are delicious.

Utah Day 7: July 11th, 2020
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We went on a drive around the area, past Cedar Breaks and the lakes. It was interesting exploring the overall area.
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We ate at a Chinese restaurant in Parowan...
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That had images from old books on the table. Apparently they're concerned about witches...
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We also tried Cheerwine, one of the sodas we bought at the grocery store. It was delicious!

Utah Day 8: July 12th, 2020
This was the day we left. Anthony and Katie's car began to make awful brake noises as we approached Las Vegas, so we ended up stuck in Las Vegas for about four hours. What would you do with four hours in Vegas? Apparently go to a small Mexican restaurant and then sit in a tire shop.
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We will be updating the blog for our trip this year, where we seem to have much better internet access.

Posted by danielcatherine 19:32 Archived in USA Tagged las_vegas utah chinese tires doughnuts sasquatch parowan brian_head cheerwine Comments (0)

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