If I had to sum up the five national parks in Utah, it would be as follows:
- Arches: beautiful, crowded. Well known for Angel’s Landing and The Narrows hikes.
- Bryce: a little bit for everybody. Harder hikes, easier hikes. Beautiful scenery. I fell in love with Bryce. It was my favorite of all the parks.
- Capitol Reef: Awkward middle child. U-Pick Fruit, hikes, remote. It has a little bit of everything, but doesn’t stand out for anything.
- Canyonlands: Get a Jeep and go offroading. There is so much to explore. If I went back, I would want to get the courage to drive the White Rim Road. I highly encourage you to check out the video in this link: https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/whiterimroad.htm. It’s extremely remote, and there is so much to see.
- Arches: Pretty, but overrated.
After camping outside of Arches, I made my way to Loveland, CO. Thankfully, I avoided the absurd hotel rates in Moab. I was feeling pretty gross by this point, but happy that I didn’t spend $200+ a night on a hotel.
Since I woke up early, I passed through Grand Junction early and saw a Subaru dealership as I stopped at a store. I decided to stop in and see if they could service the car. I was a few hundred miles away of needing an oil change and a few other regular maintenance things. Luckily, they had availability.
They got the car done in an hour and a half, which is more quickly than the Seattle Subaru dealership can do with an appointment. Time at the dealership gave me the opportunity to plan out the next week and a half or so.
The plan is to spend a couple days in Denver, a day in Colorado Springs, a couple days in Durango, CO, take a train ride, have dinner with a mentor in my Registered Life Planner training group, Carlsbad Caverns, Big Bend for two days with a river kayaking trip for a day, and then Austin to visit a friend. I’m still not sure what route or what to do from Austin to Madison.
I arrived early evening in Loveland, CO, checked into my hotel, secured a permit to enter Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) for the follow day, did a load of laundry (first time doing that in a hotel!), and ate at Cracker Barrel for the first time. That’s some home country-style cooking!