Around the US

Vacationing in the USA

  • Around the US,  Utah

    Red Canyon and Tropic Reservoir

    While Bryce Canyon National Park is spectacular, there are other recreational areas nearby that also have red rock hoodoos. One of them is Red Canyon in the Dixie National Forest. There are plenty of trails in Red canyon for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and ATV fun! The Red Canyon Visitor’s Center is located on highway 12 between Panguitch and the entrance to Bryce Canyon. We visited in the evening after it was closed, but had we arrived in time we could have picked up a trail map showing the points of interest along the two trails that we hiked. We did get to see the display out in front…

  • Around the US,  Utah

    Willis Creek Slot Canyon

    If you’ve always wanted to hike a slot canyon, but thought that they were too tricky or dangerous, I’ve got a great hike for you! On our recent trip to Bryce Canyon we spent one morning hiking within the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It was only about an hour from Bryce Canyon; alternately you can reach it from US-89 coming from the south. The VisitUtah website has detailed instructions for how to find Willis Creek. The road to get there is a dirt road, and it can be sandy in places. We made it in our van, but there were some dicey spots. Bring a four wheel drive vehicle…

  • Around the US,  National Parks,  Utah

    Bryce Canyon National Park Scenic Drive

    Bryce Canyon National Park is one of those places that is absolutely stunning when seen from above. So if you would prefer not to do any lengthy or strenuous hiking, there are still so many ways to enjoy Bryce Canyon. There is only one entrance to Bryce Canyon, on Hwy 63. This highway can be accessed by either Hwy 22 or Hwy 12. Hwy 63 is the Bryce Canyon scenic drive, and continues for 18 miles through the park, ending at Rainbow Point. The road is situated in such a way that you can’t really see much scenery while driving, because of the trees, but there are multiple overlooks along…

  • Around the US,  National Parks,  Utah

    Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park

    I’m so happy that our National Parks are getting so much attention lately. We have 5 gorgeous National Parks here in Utah, and it’s so fun to get out and see what they have to offer! Last year we visited Zion National Park, and this year we decided to try Bryce Canyon National Park. Both are gorgeous red rock, but Bryce Canyon is unique in that it is made up of formations called Hoodoos. Hoodoos are formed when water freezes into ice and expands in the crevices of the rock plateau. It breaks down the rocks into walls, which further erode to form windows in the walls, and then eventually…

  • Around the US,  Salt Lake County,  Utah

    Donut Falls

    A couple of weeks ago, Kelley and I decided to take the kids on a little camping trip up Big Cottonwood Canyon. We stayed at Redman campground, just past Solitude Ski Resort. We were looking for a fun hike close by, and decided on Donut Falls! After breakfast on our second day, we all piled into the van for a short drive down the canyon. When we got to the Donut Falls entrance, we noticed that many people were parking out on the highway. We have hiked Donut Falls before, so we knew that it is a loooong walk to the trailhead. We took our chances that there would be…

  • Around the US,  Salt Lake County,  Utah

    Camping in Big Cottonwood Canyon

    It’s been an interesting spring, in light of COVID19. After being cooped up in the house for three months, I was ready to get into nature for a couple of days! I talked to my daughter Kelley, and she was up for taking a little break from home. Our criteria was somewhere that a) we could sleep in a tent and b) we didn’t have to drive for hours on end with five kids. I have to admit, camping does take a lot of gear, but we didn’t mind. Luckily we live in a beautiful area with mountains close by! Salt Lake City is bordered on the east by the…

  • Around the US,  Utah

    Jordanelle State Park, Utah

    High up in the mountains of Utah, rainwater begins to flow downhill, carving small channels in the earth. These channels of flowing water become larger the further the water travels, and the small stream soon becomes a roaring river. Water is a precious resource in Utah’s desert climate, and must be collected and saved for the use of our citizens. Therefore, the government of Utah has approved the construction of many reservoirs to hold our water. Over a third of Utah State Parks are located on the beaches of reservoirs and lakes. This offers a great opportunity for recreation throughout the state. Staycations are a way of life for us,…

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  • Utah County

    Battle Creek Falls

    One of the nature hikes that our family enjoys is Battle Creek Falls. It's not a long hike, only about a mile and a half to the falls along a wide trail. You can easily take children, even infants!

  • Around the US,  Illinois

    Nauvoo, City Beautiful

    Nauvoo, Illinois is an important historic site for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is one of the cities where early members of the church gathered, made a life for themselves, and built a temple to their God. In 1839, after being persecuted and kicked out of many towns in the midwest, Joseph Smith and his followers settled in a tiny town on the banks of the Mississippi River named Commerce, Illinois. It was located close to where Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri come together. Joseph renamed the city Nauvoo, which means “city beautiful” in Hebrew. When they first arrived at the bend in the river…

  • Around the US,  New York

    Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

    No trip to New York City would be complete without a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty! The first time I visited New York City was in the year 2000. The twin trade towers were still standing at the time, and I was able to get this amazing photo of both Liberty and Ellis Islands from the top of the towers. That trip was over the 4th of July, and New York City was busy! We stood in line for hours to get on the Ferry at Battery Park. Our second trip was in the month of May, and the wait was also extremely long at Battery…