United States

Pa’rus Trail, Zion National Park: Not Just Another Walk in the Park

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The Pa’rus Trail, Zion National Park, Utah—C.Helbig

I’m a little obsessed about making sure I get enough exercise. Sometimes I “miss-out” on beautiful trails because I dismiss them as too easy.  After our wonderful hike to Observation Point in Zion National Park, Mike and I hopped onto the park shuttle bus to take us back to our car at the visitor center. It was such a gorgeous day we decided to get off a couple of stops early, at Canyon Junction, and walk the rest of the way along the Pa’rus Trail. Great decision! The late day lighting was stunning and it was the perfect, peaceful, cool-down walk. We enjoyed it so much we did it twice more during our stay at Zion.  Continue reading

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Observation Point, Zion National Park…looking down on Angels Landing

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Observation Point, Zion National Park, Utah—C.Helbig

I knew it would be a tough sell convincing Mike to do Zion National Park’s signature Angels Landing hike. Heights are not his friend. One look at a photo of the razor-edge ridge with huge drop-offs on both sides was enough to make his hair stand on end. We opted instead for Observation Point, a spectacular hike through diverse terrain with killer views of Zion Canyon. The best part: we got to look down on Angel’s Landing from our perch way above. Observation Point is not without its own share of long drop-offs (only on one side though, and the trail is decently wide). I was proud of Mike for staying calm and focussed. It was another great day in Utah, exploring Zion National Park. Continue reading

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Sinking Ships and Tower Bridges on Fairyland Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon

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The Chinese Wall on Fairyland Loop, Bryce Canyon—C.Helbig

When hiking in Vancouver’s North Shore mountains, I’m used to starting on steep uphills and being surrounded by thick forest. I’m not complaining, but once in awhile it’s nice to do a hike that is completely different from what’s in my backyard—I found it on the Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. This 8 mile ( 12.9 km) trail starts at the canyon rim and descends into a wondrous, wide-open landscape of hoodoos, sinking ships, tower bridges, and Chinese walls. Continue reading

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Sci-Fi and Yoga at White Pocket, Arizona

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White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs Nat’l Monument in Arizona—C.Helbig

Part 2 of our extraordinary day at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona continues at White Pocket. If you missed Part 1, check out my post on South Coyote Buttes. I doubted that anything could match up to the geological wonders we saw at South Coyote Buttes. But then… there was White Pocket, another beautiful freak of nature. I’m really happy we saw both places on our combo excursion with Kanab-based Dreamland Safari Tours. I still can’t decide which one I liked better. Take a look… Continue reading

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South Coyote Buttes, Arizona: The Ultimate Consolation Prize

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Split colour rock in South Coyote Buttes—c.Helbig

I got all excited about a hike called The Wave after reading about it on Another Walk in the Park. It turns out that getting a permit for the famous, much-photographed Wave in Coyote Buttes North is about as likely as getting struck by lightning (even mid-week in November). Luckily there is a so-called consolation prize—South Coyote Buttes. Permits are much easier to obtain but there is nothing “consolation” about this amazing hike. Located in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, in remote northern Arizona, there was no way our Dodge Dart rental would’ve got us there. We hired Dreamland Safari Tours, out of Kanab Utah. Our day of exploring the stunning Navajo sandstone formations at South Coyote Buttes and White Pocket (next post) was the best of the best of our two weeks in Utah and Arizona. Continue reading

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Best of Hiking, Ambling, and Driving in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona

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Grand Canyon South Rim Trail—C.Helbig

I was thrilled to be back in one of my all time favourite regions for incredible landscapes. Our two week circuit in southern Utah and northern Arizona included a national park trio I will never tire of visiting: Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. Thanks to fellow blogger Meghan Another Walk in the Parkwe also discovered off-the-beaten-path gems in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and overlooked beauties in Dixie National Forest. This post highlights the best of our hikes, ambles, and drives through the amazing scenery of the US Southwest. I forced myself to select one photo for each place—an image that reflects its essence (that was tough). In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more detailed posts, with lots of photos. Continue reading

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Discovering the Trails at Joshua Tree National Park, California

Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park—C.Helbig

Dr.Seuss meets the Flintstones at Joshua Tree National Park—C.Helbig

Think Dr. Seuss meets the Flintstones— a magical, special place that brings a smile to your face and calm to your mind. That’s how I felt in Joshua Tree National Park. The enormous desert park in southeastern California has a large concentration of Joshua Trees. These whimsical, palm-tufted trees with branches outstretched in the oddest contortions are strewn among rock piles of precariously heaped boulders. For nature enthusiasts, hikers, and rock climbers, the park is a dream. We spent a day and a half sampling just a smidgen of park’s trails and viewpoints. Continue reading

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