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Exploring Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park

Exploring Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park

It’s taken me a little longer to catch up on blog posts about our vacation.  Between assimilating back into real life NJ, being sick, and preparation for the Philadelphia marathon weekend, it’s been busy.

Anyway, one of the best days my husband and I had was at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

Both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are located in Southwestern Utah. We knew we wanted to go to both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park but timing-wise, it wasn’t going to work out to spend a lot of time at both. We decided to drive through Bryce Canyon and look out and then spend a little more time in Zion National Park.   They aren’t too far apart, so you are able to do both in one day.

Personally, we could both spend a lot of time in either.  Both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are beautiful. Hopefully, sometime in the future, we will be able to go back and explore.

Bryce Canyon National Park: 

While visiting Bryce Canyon, we went out to Rainbow point and walked around.  There is a 10-mile rim trail hike you can do at Bryce Canyon and look over the Hoodoo Ampethetiar.  If we had more time, we would have done it! Bryce Canyon National Park is as beautiful as the Grand Canyon.

Bryce Canyon park itself is easily driveable.  From the entrance of Bryce Canyon, it’s about an 18-mile drive to the tip of Rainbow Point, and there are several spots and opportunities for photos at Bryce Canyon.

Zion National Park:

Like Bryce Canyon, we could spend days in Zion National Park.  Before arriving, we planned to do a longer hike at Zion National Park but quickly realized timing would not allow us too.

We still wanted to get back to Colorado and spend a few days there too!  When we arrived at Zion National Park, it was crowded and it was hard to even find parking.  By the time we were able to park at Zion National Park and get out of the car, it was nearly 1 pm. My recommendation for Zion National Park is getting there early.

We could have begun the hike at Zion National Park but it was a lengthy one and I didn’t want to be hiking at dark.  You had to take a bus to a certain location, then start, then take the bus back t0 the entrance of Zion National Park.  It was just a lot and if you’ve ever seen me hiking hangry…well…my husband would have left me there. Hiking in Zion National Park

So we just decided to explore Zion National Park and climb up to our own rock.  We didn’t have an exact trail or route but it was more fun that way.  We pulled over at a random spot at Zion National Park and just hiked.  Even with hundreds of people inside Zion National Park, we didn’t run into anyone.

Hiking in Zion National Park

Sitting in a rock seat

Hiking away from everyone was much better for us anyway.  If you ever go to Zion National Park, don’t be afraid to just stop and explore. Hiking in Zion National Park

You don’t need a trail or destination.  And yes, we actually made it up an entire rock.  You can see the main road of Zion National Park in the background.

To be honest, both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park were two of my favorite spots.  Eventually, my husband and I plan to go back.  You could spend days, weeks, and even months just exploring.

road trip through colorado

Posts from Vacation:
Hiking: 
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder

Running: 
Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Diners: 
Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)

Questions for you:

Where is your favorite place to hike?

Have you ever been to Zion or Bryce Canyon? 

 

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Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)

Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40) Provo, Utah

Last week, I ran the Haunted Half Marathon 5k in Provo, Utah.  Janae, Hungry Runners Girl, recommended we drive out to Utah and run the Haunted Half or Haunted Half 5k.  Since we had zero plans, but had a rental car and had never been to Utah, we thought it sounded fun.  So we progressed over and were there for the Saturday race.

The Haunted Half itself was massive. There is the Haunted Half Marathon, Haunted Half Relay Teams (each person runs 4-4.5 miles), and the Haunted Half 5k. Each race for the Haunted Half receives a long sleeve race shirt, haunted themed finishers medals, ad unique haunted themed finisher gift (this year they were Haunted Half gloves). While yes, I could have gutted out a half marathon a few things prevented me from wanting to do that.

  • I don’t run at altitude and we were at 4500 feet.
  • I had run a half the week before, and while I’ve done back to back half marathon weekends, I’m not in that fitness right now. I would probably injure myself.
  • I didn’t want to be sore the entire vacation.
  • I like the 5k.

We picked up the packets at the mall for the Haunted Half 5k and on Saturday quickly made it to the start.  There was a big parking lot which made it easy.  The race went off right at 9 am.

During the first mile of the Haunted Half 5k, my legs felt heavy.  I didn’t feel good.  Between traveling, not eating the best (well, the best for my soul…not for training), and still recovering from the half, it wasn’t surprising.

The first mile of the Haunted Half 5k was the easiest, and I ran a 6:20.  I had positioned myself as the second woman, and third was shortly behind me.

During the second mile of the Haunted Half 5k, we ran down a small hill and made a hairpin turn at the bottom.  The turn was sharp, and I wasn’t expecting it and nearly barreled into a volunteer holding water at the bottom.  Luckily I didn’t.  As we turned around, we ran straight through a tunnel which Janae more accurately recapped.  I hit several of the streamers.  After popping out in front of a barricade, I thought I had gone the wrong way, but another racer said we were going the right way.  We hit the second mile of the Haunted Half 5k in 6:12.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

No, seriously it was painful

During the third mile of the Haunted Half 5k, I felt the altitude hit me.  I felt as though I was breathing through a straw and winded.  We also ran up a giant hill, and I wheezed the entire way of the Haunted Half 5k.  I made it my goal to break 20 minutes for the Haunted Half 5k.  I felt like I couldn’t breath (not in a dangerous way) just in working tough way.

Around 2.7, we hit a long straight away, and I could hear the third place woman catching me.  I am making it a point to work hard on my finishing kick of the Haunted Half 5k.  I had too many races last training cycle that I was passed in the final strides.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

I crossed the third mile in 6:30 and finish line in 19:40 as second woman for the Haunted Half 5k.  In all, I’m pleased with my time.  The Haunted Half 5k was a fun race, and it was a whole different experience running at altitude.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

Afterward, I got to hang with Janae for a while, which was a lot of fun.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

My husband got fourth overall with a time of 18:05

It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.   I had no idea Provo, Utah was as big as it is!

Questions for you:

Have you met another blogger before?

Do you run at altitude or sea level? Have you run the Haunted Half 5k? 

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