Part 2 of our 2015 Vegas & National Parks Roadtrip consisted of visiting multiple National Parks throughout Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming.
Day 4: National Parks of RedRock Canyon & Hoover Dam
Even though we were sad to leave Las Vegas, we were excited to be on the next leg of our journey.
First stop today was Red Rock Canyon, which was not on the original itinerary, but Allyson really wanted to go there even though it was the opposite direction. This was our first National Park on this road trip. Also, Allyson was happy to be able to start stamping her National Park passport.
Next up was Hoover Dam. Our first viewpoint was from the Mike O-Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Allyson was nearly blown away as she was wearing a dress and it was extremely windy. This was another National Park that Allyson was able to get a stamp for.
Our next adventure was Oak Creek Canyon. This scenic drive is one of the Top 5 Most Scenic Drives in America according to Rand McNally. This drive descends from Flagstaff, AZ towards Sedona.
Next up was Oak Creek Canyon, another National Park for Allyson’s collection. Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time to hike the trails and see the cave dwellings as we only got there shortly before closing.
We ended up spending the night in Flagstaff, AZ and having dinner at Five Guys. I had never been to a Five Guys but Allyson was excited to show me the experience.
Day 5: National Parks of Wupatki National Monument & Grand Canyon
Got an early start today and went to Wupatki National Monument first. Because it was Sunday and we did not see a single car on the road, I was a little concerned that it might be closed. But luckily it wasn’t and we were able to explore it by ourselves for awhile. And of course, Allyson was happy because she got another stamp in her National Parks passport.
Our next National Park was the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. And yes, Allyson got another stamp in her passport. On the way, Allyson and I sang church songs since it was Sunday and there was no church nearby to worship at.
An interesting story about the image with the tree below. There was a steep slope down to this tree with another tree higher up at the path. I joked with Allyson about getting a picture of her with this cool tree and didn’t think she took me serious but she did. She was in flip flops and ended up sliding on the loose gravel down to the tree and could have easily gone off the edge if she didn’t grab the tree. I felt so bad and ended up having to put my camera down to reach down to her to pull her back up. Thankfully God was with us.
After exploring the South Rim of Grand Canyon, we drove almost five hours to the North Rim and arrived there just shortly before sunset.
Here we had some fun, photographing images like Allyson falling.
And some more lovely images of Allyson enjoying the area.
And now another story for the next image. There is a narrow path on the side of the cliff about 4 ft wide going down the hill and this rock formation was on one side of the path. I was backing up while photographing silhouettes of Allyson and stepped on some loose rocks and fell down. I instinctually placed my right hand down to protect my camera and ended up springing my right pinky. I then tried to stand up too fast while the momentum and gravity continued to pull me down the hill and almost off the path. Once again, I was thankful that God was with us!
And here are a couple more images showing the gorgeous sky that we had.
It was pretty dark by the time we left the park and had to drive awhile before we finally found a hotel in a small town shortly after crossing the border into Utah.
Day 6: National Parks of Zion and Bryce
Today we explored the National Parks of Zion and Bryce. First up was Zion National Park
Next up was the unique pinnacles of Bryce Canyon National Park.
At Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon, Allyson and I hiked down the canyon and back up. These are some of the views on that trail.
Goal #4 Completed: Visit National Parks
After exploring Bryce Canyon, we drove straight to Park City, Utah where we had dinner with a friend of Allyson’s. Afterwards we continued driving the rest of the way to the University of Wyoming. We arrived at Allyson’s apartment around 2:00 am and transferred all her stuff from the car to her apartment.
After having driven a long ways that day, I was pretty tired and was hoping to sleep a couple of hours on the sofa in the living room of her apartment, but her friends said that they didn’t feel comfortable with that (which I thought was very rude).
Goal #5 Completed: Deliver Allyson back to school at University of Wyoming
So I ended up back on the road at 3:00 am and driving on small Wyoming roads in pitch black trying to keep from dosing off and running over jackrabbits. Finally around 6:30 pm, I decided to pull over in a rest area in Cody, Wyoming and take a half hour nap.
With just a very short nap, I was back on the road and continued driving to Yellowstone National Park and seeing Old Faithful. Here are some images from that.
After Yellowstone, I drove up to I-90 where I headed home. But after crossing the bridge at the Gorge, I was seeing things due to lack of sleep. It looked like the highway in front of me was a grate on a bridge or that I was flying. So I decided to pull over again into a rest area at the pass and take another half hour nap, before driving the rest of the way home and arriving in Kent around midnight.
Visit 2015 Vegas & National Parks Roadtrip – Part 1, if you haven’t seen my images from Vegas including the portrait sessions at the Neon Sign Museum and the Ghost Town in Nelson, Nevada.
So that ends my 2015 Roadtrip…
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