Bryce Canyon: Up close and personal with hoodoos

On my 31st birthday, I became acquainted with something magical: hoodoos. Not the folk magic, or the gurus (in the form of an Australian new wave band), but one of the funkiest geological features that some say look like Queen Victoria or Thor’s Hammer if you look close enough.

IMG_1487That’s Victoria on the far right. I think.

We packed up and headed out of Moab, getting to know more of the Utah landscape (including Big Rock Candy Mountain) as we headed towards our next national park: Bryce Canyon. A lesser known park, Bryce Canyon is actually not a canyon, its an amphitheater (or, multiple amphitheaters). But it IS the largest collection of hoodoos — spires created by erosion — in the world. The National Park Service website says there is no place like it, and after seeing it with my own eyes, I’d have to agree. Continue reading

Road tripping through the Wild West

Wild West mapSeventeen-hundred miles, six national parks, four states, two adventurers. Or pseudo-adventurers.

After covering a good chunk of the West Coast last year and this past spring, it was time for the Addingtons to check out uncharted (for us) territory: The wild west. I had the opportunity to present at a conference in Salt Lake City in late September, which put us smack in the middle of a beautiful and largely unpopulated part of the country and close to numerous iconic national parks.

And so, we adventured — driving on quiet 80-mph highways and two-lane scenic byways, hiking up and down mountains, taking 1,000 pictures of big blue skies and deep canyons and craggy peaks and curious hoodoos and expansive arches. But always sleeping in a comfortable bed and drinking delicious local beer each night and eating giant sandwiches and salads because I wouldn’t take a vacation that didn’t include those things.

By the end, we had traversed Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. All places with few people, crappy cell service and some of the most amazingly beautiful sites.

I’m continually intrigued by the western half of the United States. Only residing on the East Coast, it’s a whole different world out there. I’m also grateful to have such beauty in our own backyard and always cognizant that many had their lives, lands and culture stripped from them to make it possible.

Here are our stops:

  1. Yellowstone National Park
  2. Yellowstone: Hiking Mount Washburn
  3. Grand Teton National Park/Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  4. Antelope Island State Park on the Great Salt Lake
  5. Salt Lake City
  6. Moab: Canyonlands and Arches
  7. Bryce Canyon National Park
  8. Zion National Park