Neil and I recently returned from a trip that took us to the Grand Canyon (North Rim), Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise and Emerald Lake). It was a very active vacation!
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Our cabin where we stayed - it had some unwanted guests - mice. We should have clued in with all the Hanta Virus warnings. We caught them eating Neil's Ginger Snaps at 3 AM. Good thing Neil is a rodent control expert and was able to chase them out and secure us a few hours more of sleep.
Sitting on a stone wall at the Lodge - spectacular views.
Neil enjoying the views on the Adirondack chairs at the lodge.
Heading down the North Kaibob Trail into Roaring Springs Canyon which leads to the main Grand Canyon.
It was fun running down on fresh legs. Last time we were here we had already completed Rim (South Rim) to Rim (North Rim) and were heading back to the South Rim. It was great to just enjoy the outing.
More Kaibob Trail.
The trail continues across the canyon.
Pathways to run on with drop offs - we stayed close to the walls!
Almost done - the climb back up was tough (high altitude!)but not as bad as the last time.
At the top of the trail on the North Rim. The North Rim has an Alpine forest at 8,700ft above sea level which is quite a contrast to the rest of the Grand Canyon. It was a great out and back, fun running down and an awesome climb up. We went to Roaring Springs (the main water source for the whole Grand Canyon) and then turned around...our plan was to get to Zion National Park before dark that day.
Zion National Park
Climbing up Walters Wiggles - this was fun! 21 steep switch backs that are a marvel of trail engineering. We hiked/ran down here on our last trip - the Zion traverse, at the end of our long journey in May. Great to revisit on fresh legs.
The trail up Walters Wiggles takes you to the trail to Angels Landing. This is the most popular trail in Zion National Park. It was very busy with tourists, many griping the support chain for dear life as they made their way up and down. Good thing the chain was there as the drop offs were severe - 1,500ft straight down to the canyon floor!
High walls of rock.
Plenty of slickrock to play on.
Plenty of squirrels around - last visit Dave dropped his pack before the climb up the North Rim and the little critters chewed through his pack and ate his Fig Newtons. Looks like this guy was eating bread - another tourists lunch.
The trail to the Narrows - you can start your canyon water experiences from here. The sport activity is called Canyoneering where you wade or swim through water using the riverbed as your trail.
Bryce National Park
From Zion National Park, we enjoyed a day trip to Bryce National Park, just over a 2 hour drive away.
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. There is accommodation in the rustic lodge or you can stay in a cabin close by.
There is a path from the lodge that takes you to this overlook of Bryce Canyon below. You would have no clue this view was there unless you come and stood on the canyon rim. Many trails to explore! We chose the Fairyland Rim Trail which provided us with spectacular views of the many formations in the canyon and the Queens Garden trail that took us down into the canyon and up showing us many incredible rock formations... one of which is said to resemble Queen Victoria. It actually did!
Views from the Rim Trail.
A perfect hole in the rock to frame the perfect picture!
Lighter coloured rock on the other side.
Having a seat on an inviting rock to take it all in.
Neil running up to the Bryce Canyon Lodge - a tourist shouted out "show off|".
Banff, Emerald Lake and Lake Louise
We arrived in Banff to much colder temperatures than we had been experiencing south of the Canadian border. For our first outing we climbed Sulphur Mountain which is 7.800 feet. It is a steep climb from Banff where we came upon snow about half way up the climb. We also visited Lake Louise and Emerald Lake some of our favourite spots in the Canadian Rockies. It was snowing lightly which made some of the hikes so beautiful.
Snow in the Mountains.
On the trail up Sulphur Mountain.
Banff is way down there - it was a big climb up!
We opted for the cable car down.
Views from Tunnel Mountain in Banff, the local "Grouse Grind" climb.
Top of Tunnel Mountain with the snowy Peak of Sulphur behind.
Emerald Lake, one of our favourite spots!
Mt. Burgess, towers over Emerald Lake. We have climbed this one.
Wapta Mountain, with the Wapta Highline Trail that passes through the Burgess Shale, a World Heritage site of geological significance. The shale beds here contain marine fossils laid down approximately 550 million years ago when the area was all under water!
The end of Lake Louise looking back at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
We enjoyed a few more nights in Banff to end a great vacation of Canyons and Mountains!