Day 7: Bryce Canyon, UT (9/7)
The sun shining through the large windows in the loft portion of the barn we stayed in was a pleasant way to wake. After going through routine packing and breakfast, we bid our farewells to my wonderful family who had been so kind to put us up, and then some. Becky began the eight hour drive to Bryce Canyon, but we didn’t get far.
On our way back through Glenwood Springs, I noticed a cable tram car that ran up the side of the mountain. I recognized it as this ride I had been on before when I was here five years ago. I had forgotten all about it until now, but I remembered how great it was so I convinced Becky to stop. So we followed the cables to the source and paid the 12 dollars for the ride up. When we got to the top, there was a miniature amusement park on the summit of this huge mountain. We decided to ride on the “alpine coaster” - an open two person cart with a handbrake that followed a switchback track along the side of the steep mountain. We must have been going around 40 miles per hour down it, with the wind in our hair, and the gaping wide view of the valley where Glenwood Springs is nestled. I haven’t had that much of a rush in a long time. Until later that day.
Once we finally made it out of the town we were staying in, we embarked on the always scenic drive of Interstate 70 again, the same road we came in on. I didn’t think that there would be much else that could beat our drive between Boulder and Glenwood Springs, but yet again, I was dead wrong. The rest of Colorado was scenic, but nothing we hadn’t seen before. At the very western border of Colorado, we stopped into a dinosaur museum that we had seen signs for on our way to get gas. While in there, we saw some pretty fascinating skeletons, robotic lifelike carnivores, and even a paleontologist’s lab where you could peek through a window at scientists gently removing rock and dirt from tiny fossils.
After our second spontaneous adventure of the day, we made it into Utah. I would like to preface this paragraph by saying that I think out of the 30 states I have been privileged to pass through, Utah is probably the most underrated one. Everywhere is gorgeous. Just on I-70, we must have passed through dozens of crimson canyons, gigantic facades of sedimentary rock, and sporadic plateaus that are miles long. Literally every ten miles was a new “View Area: 1 Mile” sign, and we must have stopped at at least five of them. Very modestly named “areas,” each one had something new and special to offer. The best one was called “Ghost Rocks,” which had the closest scenery to the Grand Canyon that I’ve ever seen out west. This was nice because even though I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, Becky hasn’t, nor is it planned on our trip to go there, so giving her a taste of that helped me feel a bit better about not going. While stopped there, I heard a strange accent from a nearby married couple and their daughter also admiring the view. I asked where they were from and they had hailed all the way from New Zealand, two months deep into an “around the world” road trip. The people that we’ve randomly met have all been incredibly interesting. I’m sure I can speak for the both of us when I say we’ve been very fortunate so far.
After all of our dawdling through the east coast equivalents to “scenic overlooks,” we decided it was time to get the show on the road and drive, since it was a long day. I booked it through the south of Utah and arrived here at our cabin style motel around 9:30 at night. We’re 10 miles out of Bryce Canyon, and we’re going to wake up very early tomorrow to enjoy what little amount we can. Tomorrow is another long driving day, but of course a scenic one as well, dipping into Arizona to a fairly well kept quiet place called “Antelope Canyon,” and then finally up to Las Vegas later at night.
It seems as if every day is trying to outdo itself - and succeeding. My expectations always seem to go down after an incredible place like Ghost Rocks, but somehow the scenery either improves, or shows us something completely new that’s refreshing enough to keep us thoroughly impressed. I wonder if tomorrow can outdo today, because today outdid yesterday. We’ll have to see. Until tomorrow.