The inaugural Singles Travel International Utah Grand Slam Active Singles Adventure started off with a bang and ended with a celebration! WHAT A WEEK!!! I have been to all these National Parks many times and they knock my socks off EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!. I could go on for days describing the beauty of the 5 National Parks, plus ALL the gorgeous drives. I’ll try to hit the highlights just so you’ll be wanting more….because there is ALWAYS more!
Day 1 started in Salt Lake City with a wonderful Welcome Dinner at Cafe Molise. Our private room kept us safe, but also protected the other patrons from our wild and crazy group. You see, many had already bonded by then. Many of the members came in either 1 or 2 days early to get a lay of the land. They had so much to share about seeing bison, the Great Salt Lake, the botanical garden and the majestically, hilly city.
Day 2 was National Park #1, Canyonlands NP. We had a nice easy hike to the Mesa Arch and took photos on, around and under the Arch. The Grand Viewpoint was stunning as you were able to see many miles of the park in one fell swoop. Then a nice leisurely walk around the “Island in the Sky” rounded out the visit. We checked into our hotel in Moab and set off for our included meal. Lucky us, we had the opportunity to help Manya O celebrate her birthday. She couldn’t have picked a better place than Moab, UT to celebrate with all her new Singles Travel International friends.
Day 3 found us in National Park #2, Arches NP. If you have never been there, well, just go. The park is filled with the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. There are over 2,000 arches and various other geological formations. And you can hike to many of them. We chose to hike to one of the more remote and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful arches-Delicate Arch. It isn’t an easy hike, but every single member on the trip made it to the arch. That was such an accomplishment for many. After that, the hikes seemed easy. Some of the other hikes we did that day were Landscape Arch which is one of the longest natural arches in the world, the Windows section and Double Arch as well as Broadway. We also saw petroglyphs carved into red-rock walls. It was an extremely rewarding and fun day.
Day 4 we found ourselves on a beautiful drive from Moab to National Park #3- Capitol Reef NP. We had one stop before we made it to Capitol Reef – Goblin Valley State Park. This is one park I hadn’t been to before but will be going back again and again. Wow, just wow. GVSP is a valley of strange-shaped rock formations surrounded by a wall of eroded cliffs. The rock formations look like mushrooms, aliens and goblins. The sandstone changes and erodes with time, so you can go back and see a completely different park each time you go. The members had a ball climbing the funny shaped hoodoos. To learn more about GVSP, visit stateparks.utah.gov.
After goofing around with the goblins, we headed to Capitol Reef National Park. We hiked up & down to the Hickman Bridge, a 133 foot natural land bridge. From there we hiked 2.25 miles through the majestic, family friendly Grand Wash. It follows the dry wash bed deep into the sandstone canyon, with cliffs looming up to 800-feet high. At its narrowest, the walls are just 15 feet apart. It had the feel of slot canyon hiking and a dry version of The Narrows in Zion National Park (more on that later). Super chill hike with lots of photo opps. We stayed in the quaint town (?) of Torrey. I put a (?) because it was just a gas station, a few hotels and lots and lots of sandstone.
Day 5 some of us got up early for a sunrise at Panoramic Point. It was a long wait for the sun to come up over the mountains, but it was well worth it. The sun reflected around the 360 view and lit up Capitol Reef National Park. Gorgeous. We spent a few hours exploring CPNP before we headed along the Canyons of the Escalante Staircase to National Park #4 Bryce Canyon NP. Susan A. celebrated her birthday with us in style with 5 different desserts to choose from while the entire restaurant sang Happy Birthday to her.
Day 6 found us up early again for a sunrise at Sunrise Point. It was a little cloudy that morning, but many of the members got their exercises in by doing jumping jacks to stay warm. That day, we split up – one group took a scenic drive around Bryce Canyon rim and stopped for many photo ops. The other group hiked down into Bryce Canyon via Sunrise Point and the Navajo Loop for a look up at the hoodoos (irregular columns of rock). This park is beyond description but let me try. The park is a series of large natural amphitheaters with thousands of multi-colored rock formations (hoodoos). These formations shine brightly with reds, yellows, oranges as the sun hits them during the afternoon. Sunset is the best time to view the hoodoos with the soft light of the setting sun. Around each corner were different, beautiful views just waiting for you to arrive. That afternoon, we headed along red-rock mountains of Route 12 to our final National Park #5 Zion NP.
Day 7 was a highlight for many members as they had been waiting to hike The Narrows. The Narrows starts with a gentle 1-mile paved walk along a bubbling river called the Riverwalk trail. At the very end is a rocky entrance in the river that starts the hike. The Narrows is the narrowest section (hence the name) of Zion Canyon. This gorge, with walls over 1000 feet tall and the river, sometimes just 20-30 feet wide is extremely popular. Six brave members, geared up in their waders, water shoes, grabbed their hiking sticks and ventured into the waters of The Narrows. The rest of us, put on our water shoes and walked into the water, just to say we did it. The water was VERY cold, but it was an awesome thing to do. Next time, I plan to go further into the river. The evening ended with a lovely Farewell dinner at the Bourbon House.
Day 8 we said our good-byes and of course, “see you later”. Many had already booked their next Singles Travel International trip with their new friends.
Think you missed out? Come with us in October, when we do this trip all over again. I CAN. NOT. WAIT! What are you waiting for? Sign up today!