Go to Another Vacation
American Southwest - November 1997
Valley of Fire
Drive to Arches
Capital Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion
Valley of Fire
November 14 - Leave Boston
Plane from Boston left late from the runway, causing us to miss the last plane to Vegas. After being yelled at by an employee from Continental for getting on the Boston plane to begin with, we fended for ourselves to find a hotel. Continental refused to give us our luggage, so we were stuck with the clothes on our back in freezing cold Ohio. Our coats were in our luggage.
We returned to the airport and checked in at the Continental counter. We requested that our bags be checked onto the flight that we were planning take to Las Vegas. They told us "the bags should go on that flight automatically". We asked that they check the computers. They assureed us that the bags had already been loaded on to the plane. We got to the terminal, and I saw the baggage truck pull up to the plane. We watched for our luggage, but did not see it. "It is already on the plane" echoes in my head.
We arrived in Las Vegas in the late morning, but our luggage did not. We went to the Continental counter to see what happened and they discover that our baggage was tagged to fly in on the late evening flight. They told us they would drive our luggage over to our hotel when it arrived. We explained to them that we did not have a hotel and that we were about to drive 7 hours to Moab to camp in Arches National Park. They told us to change our plans.
We checked in to a Holiday Inn by the airport and then drove out to Valley of Fire. It is always wise to have a backup plan. We were wearing pants and long sleeves because it was very cold when we left Boston. It was 100 degrees out. God Bless Continental!
We hiked out along a wash to find a hidden arch in the park. We ended up on rocky hills that were great fun to explore. We never found the arch, but we really loved the views. It was unfortunate that our cameras were in our luggage in Ohio. We hunted for petroglyphs, which are abundant though out the park. Before we left, we drove over to see the petrified wood. It was pretty neat. when we got back to the Holiday Inn, our luggage was there, but we were too tired to drive 7 hours to Moab, so we hit the hay.
We spent the day driving to Moab. I could not wait to show Bill the Utah scenery. It is such an amazing contrast to New England. We stopped along the way to stretch and admire the scenery at a slower pace. It must be noted that it was hours between gas stations, so we stocked up on drinks, snacks and gas before we left.
We arrived at Arches National Park in the afternoon. We hoped there would still be camp sites available, but we would go to Slickrock Campground if there were no sites left. We were in luck that during the cold season, there are hardly any camper at Arches, so we were able to get our pick of the best sites.
We rose early to drive out to Horseshoe Canyon and hiked out to the pictographs. In the evening we drove through Capital Reef National Park, which we decided was more interesting from the spring through the early fall. Instead of camping there as planed, we continued on towards Bryce Canyon. We stopped at a small town between the two parks (Cori decided it was too much work to set up a tent in the snow at Bryce Canyon), and found a small Mormon hotel that charged a very fair price and offered clean and comfortable accommodations.
We woke up early and drove out to Bryce Canyon. We spent the day hiking the Fairyland Loop Trail. It was a spectacular trail! When we were done, we drove through Zion, though we were unable to do much because the sun was setting. We drove on to Valley of Fire to set up a campsite in the dark.
It was never in our plan to climb in JTree. We knew, however, that our friend Larry had reserved a group campsite for the Thanksgiving weekend. He had given us the location of the site just in case we wanted to "drop by". Since we had gone to sleep before other people had arrived at the group campsite, we did not see Larry until we woke him up that morning. He was sleeping soundly in the back of his station wagon, which looked a lot warmer than our retail store brand tent.
When he awoke, we quickly ate breakfast, and tried to determine where the warmest climbing would be. We decided on Echo Rock. As the day warmed up, we were able to climb in shorts and tank tops. It was good to return to JTree; we had visited the park several times before, both to camp and to climb.
We visited a few petroglyphs that Larry wanted to piont out to us which was fun and it is always good to take a little break in the middle of the day.
We tried to get as much climbing as we could before the sun was completely gone and it turned cold. Bill and I drove to our favorite restaurant in Twentynine palms - a Thai restaurant next to Jeremy's Cafe. What a way to end a vacation!