We made it to Capitol Reef // Day 3

Another day, another national park. Right now we have hit up 2 and I think by the end we will be at 4? Pretty proud of that fact. Today was a lot of driving - but also a lot of killer views. Bryce is like nothing else in the world - and has to be seen.

Wakeup & Breakfast
When we woke up this morning there was this thick frosty layer of ice on everything - including the car. But it was gorgeous to wake up in Bryce Valley. The sun rising over the mountains was so majestic. Plus, Kerrianne cat friend came back to say hello - and try to get into the cabin. We ended up back at Ruby's Inn again for breakfast because.... nothing is open :).

I can't imagine coming to Bryce and not going for even a little hike. Even just like a couple hundred yards. It is amazing the difference in perspective when you are standing amongst the hoodoos versus above them. Really breathtaking and  incredible. We made a couple stops in Bryce before heading onto another park. As we were leaving the park around 1pm, the line to get in was pretty long.... not sure why these slow pokes don't get up earlier.

(1) Sunrise Point hike - The minute we started on this trail I felt the same muscles that we had used the day before on Hidden Canyon in Zion. There are a lot of switchbacks to get down to the bottom but so incredibly worth it. Immediately you are impressed by the colors, size, and shape of the earth. My new favorite tree is the limber pine which grows in the park. It manages to grow in this space with super neat roots.

We tacked on a little extra hike here but were unable to do "Wall Street" because it was closed. None the less, I'll say it again - this place is so impressive.

(2) Rainbow Point  - This is the furthest point in the park. The park does a great job including mile markers at all the reference points which is super helpful. Rainbow Point is the very end... mile 18. It would be a much further drive with high-season (or even midday) traffic. By the time you get to this elevation there is a lot more snow - which prevented us from tacking on another short hike. We had just done 3+ miles so there was no reason to get super wet and snowy.
(3) Natural Bridge - So we really conclude that this is "neat" and absolutely worth stopping at, if nothing else that for watching other people try to take pictures of themselves with the arch. BUT - we are headed to arches so we know that it is going to get a lot better than this. Sorry Natural Bridge.
Drive to Capitol Reef
After Bryce we really just hit the road for Capitol Reef, while I knew it was a two hour drive... it was absolutely one of the curviest drives ever. Not quite like when I made my own self car sick in California, but I would never have been able to do it as a passenger. Ever. We made a pit stop in Escalante for lunch at this place called Nemo's. Love Nemo's. Fun part? I thought Kerrianne was saying "Mimaw's" for a couple hours and so I was really into stopping because of the name.

I texted my friend John who used to live in Escalante and he was like "wait till you see the road to Boulder tho". I just thought that meant it had great views - which of course it did. But it was a two hour slog up and down canyons. There was this part where you were just driving on the ridge line and it was a cliff to the left and a cliff to the right. No thanks.
Our Hotel & Dinner
We had booked our hotel pretty early on after pretty much falling in love with pictures of colorful teepees. Well, it's apparently too early for teepee season but this place was still an oasis after the long drive. There were some mixups with the room that had me channeling my yoga breathing. At first it wasn't cleaned, and we waited 50 minutes for that to happen. Then, we realized there was only one bed in the newly cleaned room. So we were upgraded to a larger lofted cabin. Cabin is pretty much a elegant way of saying "this place bought a ton of tiny houses and let's tourists stay in them".

We decompressed from the day with walks around the property and saying hi to the llamas. We even sat down at the restaurant for dinner before abandoning ship a few minutes later. It was this fun game of chicken where nobody was quite willing to admit this was going to be terrible. Thankfully we found another oasis across the street - Rim Rock Patio. There was music, horse shoes and delicious pizza.

We closed out the night with a little fire pit time and watching the last episode (and then the first episode) of The Office all huddled on the king size bed. Home run of a day.

Tomorrow? Capitol Reef Park ... then the long drive to Moab.

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