Utah – Days 1-3: Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and Making a New Friend at IHOP

Brittany Swanson   March 24, 2016   Comments Off on Utah – Days 1-3: Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and Making a New Friend at IHOP

My first day in Utah I met up with a fellow Couchsurfer at Zion National Park and together we hiked Angels Landing. Most of the hike is on a narrow path with a pretty steep drop on either side. There are some chains anchored to the rocks to give you something to hold on to, but other than that you’re on your own. Apparently people have died in the past. Neither of us died and we made it all the way to the top, even with my friend being pretty terrified of heights.

Tui and I at the top of Angels Landing, Zion National Park, UT.

Tui and I at the top of Angels Landing, Zion National Park, UT.

The view is stellar. More than that though, the hike itself is really really fun! It took us about two and a half hours to get up and about two hours to get back down. Though, to be fair, there were a lot of other people on the trail and since it’s so narrow we had to do a lot of waiting to let other people pass. If there weren’t so many people I’d bet we could have done the entire thing in a few hours.

This is Angels Landing...pretty much a straight drop on either side...Zion National Park, UT.

This is Angels Landing…pretty much a straight drop on either side…Zion National Park, UT.

Once we’d made it to the top we were rewarded by getting to witness a really cute proposal. After which the guy goes, “Now you know why I’ve been acting like a crazy person all week…” Adorable!

Before we started the hike I hadn’t known how long it was going to take and I forgot my extra water bottle. I also didn’t bring enough snacks, so when I got back to my car I was ready for a feast. I decided to splurge and hoped I could find a diner so I could get breakfast. Not five minutes after I started looking I found Blondie’s Diner. Everyone who works there is freaking amazing! They were all super nice and super friendly. They laughed at my corny jokes, like when I said to keep the water coming and they responded by bringing me my own pitcher. I loved it! I tried their pancake dippers which were pancake batter deep fried and covered in cinnamon and sugar. Despite feeling my arteries clogging, they were pretty tasty. In addition to that I also had a veggie omelet and hash browns and toast. Sufficiently stuffed halfway through my omelet, I got a to-go box and had breakfast for the next day as well.

Pancake Dippers from Blondie's Diner, Springdale, UT.

Pancake Dippers from Blondie’s Diner, Springdale, UT.

That night my host’s roommate was hosting a yoga party. At the beginning of yoga one of the roommates could not stop laughing, which of course, made everyone else laugh. Needless to say, it was the most I’ve ever laughed while doing yoga. There was this guy at the yoga party and when he found out about my trip he got really excited and bombarded we with a ton of questions. It was awesome. I felt like a minor celebrity. Finally, as he was getting ready to leave he was like, “Wait, I have to make sure I have no more questions for you…Ok, I think I covered them all.” I enjoyed seeing someone so excited about my journey. It renewed my zest for the trip and the guy’s enthusiasm was just what I needed to recharge my own.

My second day in Utah I went to Bryce Canyon National Park. Whoa. So. Freaking. Incredible. It was on a list of places I should go, but I hadn’t done any research. It was spectacular. Like at the Grand Canyon I stopped at all the view points in Bryce Canyon and all of them were pretty amazing. I hiked down for a short stint on the Navajo trail but then it got really muddy and I wanted to check out the rest of the points so I headed back up and continued on to the rest of them. If you get a chance I highly recommend checking it out.

I forget which viewpoint this was, but it's awesome! Bryce Canyon National Park, UT.

I forget which viewpoint this was, but it’s awesome! Bryce Canyon National Park, UT.

Then the drive from Bryce Canyon to Salt Lake City. Wow. Just, wow. There were rolling hills to my left and a giant mountain with it’s own cloud to my right and in front of me were a series of snow capped mountains. It was spectacular. Right as I was about to get to my host’s house the sunset started…definitely one of the top five of my life. So freaking awesome! I drove until I found a spot to watch it from. It was amazing.

Sunset in Salt Lake City, UT.

Sunset in Salt Lake City, UT.

When I finally made it to my host’s house after the sunset, I chatted with my host and one of her roommates and the roommate’s boyfriend for a bit. I played with their puppy and then went to bed. I set my alarm for seven because I had a lot of work to do the next day. At seven I reset the alarm for eight and at eight I reset it again for nine. At nine I got up went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth and was like, I can totally do Duolingo from the couch and then I fell asleep again until eleven… I think the only other time I’ve slept in that much in the last couple months was in Mississippi, so it was much needed. I eventually got up and realized it was St. Patrick’s Day and remembered that IHOP had $1 short stacks if you wore green. So I donned a green shirt and headed to IHOP.

I arrived at IHOP at the same time as this little old lady and the hostess was like, “Just the two of you?” The lady replied, “No, we’re not together,” and then turned to me and said, “unless you want to sit with me?” I said I’d love to and the hostess smiled and seemed to appreciate our new friendship. The lady’s name, I later learned, was Helen, she was 63, and really fun to have breakfast with.

I spent the rest of the day at Starbucks working on my blog and again looking for a backpack. Finally I was successful. I managed to find and order a backpack, and found a $20 off coupon and didn’t have to pay shipping! Woo! I did awkwardly get asked to leave Starbucks because I’d accidentally stayed past closing though… Whoops. Alas, it was bound to happen sooner or later.