Today was a day we were slightly concerned about in terms of length, as it was almost 400 miles in total distance. However, it proved totally worth it. Our first stop was Bryce Canyon, which I knew very little about except that it had ‘Hoodoos’, which also happened to be the name of a beer (other examples shown below)
Anyway back to the canyon. Another park and ride job, which is a brilliant system that the national parks have got down to a T. It made getting around so much easier! We had a short walk through some woods before we came out onto a small viewing area where we saw this.
Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t really feel the pictures do it justice, it was so beautiful. The brilliant this was that you could see it from two places – above and below! We started at the high viewing point, but then hiked down to the bottom of the canyon, where you could look up to find most of the sky obscured. Truly amazing.
However we then had to walk back up. This was not so fun. I think I walked into about three peoples photographs, as I thought ‘If I stop now, I won’t start again!’ Luckily we got back just in time to evade the thunderstorm that was boiling up in the park (a big threat in the area!)
We then headed to Salt Lake City, a drive we were not looking forward to until we realised the speed limit was 80! This made it much more bearable! We stopped off briefly in Provo, but were not impressed – to be honest it looked like a bit of a wreck! There also seem to be a lot of people who hate buses, as lots of trees had black ribbons with anti-bus service messages posted on them.
When we got to Salt Lake City, we went immediately to Temple Square, to see the beautiful buildings. Our first stop was the Tabernacle, where a lovely missionary from California, Sister Howard told us a little about the buildings history and use. I have such a lot of respect for these young girls and men. They give up 18 months/2 years doing missionary work for the church in an unfamiliar place and they can only call home twice a year (at Christmas and Easter) – all other contact is limited to one letter a week. I don’t think I could do that.
Sister Howard also pointed us in the direction of the highlight of my evening – a chance to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir live in the Conference Centre! They allow the general public to listen to their rehearsals and being given this opportunity to listen to one of the best choirs in the world free was a dream come true! From a musicians perspective it was also really interesting to see the rehearsal process and understand how the music comes together.
By this point I was starving, and am not really existing well on the breakfast and muesli bar option. We had marked out some restaurant options, but they weren’t in our area so we had to go to Plan 2: the Squatters Pub. This is a brewery, pub and restaurant not far from our hotel, which also serves a wide and varied menu. I chose the Carnitas – slow cooked pork with Southern rice, refried beans with queso fresno, salad, salsa and guacamole, stuffed into tortilla wraps. The pork was so tender it fell apart, whilst the rice and beans were so tasty I couldn’t stop eating them, even when stuffed otherwise! Other dishes sampled were the meatloaf which looked (and tasted!) delicious, and the pulled pork sandwich which was so full of meat the bun couldn’t hold it all!
We were told on the way into the pub that it was a locals favourite, and we can see why, both of us saying that if we’d stayed here longer we would have come back several times. The atmosphere was relaxed and fun, the food and beer great and the service impeccable – another win!