US Trip 2014 – From Bryce to Zion

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This part of the trip was from Tropic to Springdale, with a stop in Bryce Canyon National Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes and Zion National Park. We went to both Bryce and Zion last year, so we don’t have many caches left to find there.

We started the day with finding the closest cache, GC1CCNB where echo’s end. It wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, it was in the end of nowhere! Not surprisingly, not a muggle around, we had the place to ourselves. On the way back, we were quite surprised when we met another car – and judging by the look of the drivers face, he was surprised as well.

Since we had a lot planned today, we limited our visit in Bryce Canyon National Park to the Natural Bridge viewpoint and a couple other viewpoints along the road. We did Inspiration Point yesterday.

Natural Bridge

From Bryce, we continued towards Coral Pink Sand Dunes, with a few stops along the road. We thought we saw some other geocachers on their way back from GC1HYZ4 89 Overlook, so we turned around and went back to see. As usual I had the wrong type of shoes, and we crawled all the way to the top, just to realize the cache was only halfway up. At least the view was better from the top…

When we eventually made it back down to the same level as the cache, we found it and checked the log. Turned out the people we saw wasn’t cachers… Wonder what they did here…

Viewpoint

For some unknown reason, I decided that I knew the road to Coral Pink Sand Dunes better than the Nüvi. Turned out the Nüvi was right… So we ended up having to drive back a few miles. Once I started to follow the directions, things got a bit easier. Once we got to Coral Pink Sand Dunes, it was quite easy to understand where the park got its name!

We found the caches inside the park, one earthcache and one extremely easy traditional. The cache was just sitting there, out in the open, I would rate it D0.1.

Me in Coral Pink Sand Dunes SP

We found one more traditional on the outside of the park, and didn’t attempt the other one outside the park. It was simply too much water on the parking lot (we don’t want to get stuck with the rental!) and way too many muggles around.

We had one earthcache planned in Zion, GCZ5YT East Zion Erosion Features. It was rated T3, not sure I agree, but we’ll get back to that.

We parked at the pullout closest to the coordinates, grabbed the camera, the binoculars (which we bought a few days ago to use on earthcaches), some water and our geocaching-clipboard (would be kinda boring to get to the top, just to realize that the questions we were supposed to answer was laying in the car).

The thing I probably should have brought, was proper clothing and better shoes, but I’ll get back to that as well.

We started walking up towards the coordinates, walking on the sand stone was easy. The surface of the stone ensured we got a firm grip, and had no trouble walking up. At least, that’s how it started.

The view got better and better.

Going up...

But it also got steeper and steeper! I’m not the fittest geocacher in my area, and when I am close enough to smell the cache, there’s nothing stopping me. Well, almost nothing. When I’ve burnt enough of my energy, it doesn’t matter how close I am anymore, I needed a rest!

I needed a rest

Due to the angle of the photo, you can’t really see that I’m not laying on a level surface. As mentioned earlier, it was steep.

After getting some rest, I’m good to go again. Since I’m still close enough to smell the cache, I continued on full speed.

We thought it was steep enough, but it got worse. And now we get back to my choice of clothing. I was wearing a pair of denim shorts, which was comfortable in the heat. Because hot it was! You could probably fry some chicken on my forehead (the egg would be burnt). But back to the clothing. As mentioned, it was nice to have airy clothes in the heat. But I didn’t need more air!

When we got closer to the top, we had to climb up the last part. That was when my pair of shorts didn’t want to stay together anymore. And it got a bit more airy at the top! I was exhausted, and hot, so it was kinda nice with some extra air – but we had to go back down to the car, where muggles awaited us.

As you can probably imagine from seeing the photo below, it looked kinda silly.

Shorts

But we made it! Even though it was hot, steep and a bit airy, we did it! The view from GZ was amazing! We took lots of photos, and you will notice that I held our geocaching-clipboard in a strategic position.

Awesome view

After some studying and discussion, we had the answer we needed, and it was time to get back down.

Now, we’ll get back to my choice of shoes and the terrain rating. As you can see in the photo below, I did not bring the optimal shoes to this cache. They worked great on the way up, but not as great back down. At times it felt more like terrain 30 than terrain 3. I even got stuck, and had to go back up and find another way down.

My shoes...

But once we got down the first 100 feet or so, it got a lot better, and then I remembered how airy my shorts were… Once again, the clipboard acted as a shield so we could get past the muggles waiting below.

It took quite some time to get down, it was still very steep. The photo below is level, and you an see how steep the side is. It was still hot, and I was really glad that the car have a remote start function, that let us turn on the A/C when we got close enough.

Steep

We made it past the muggles, and into the cooled car, where I immediately changed to new pants.

So, was it worth it? Definitely! I would do it again, but probably with better shoes and other clothes… One thing is certain, we won’t forget this cache! And even though it might seems like I’m complaining a lot, we did enjoy the cache, and we left with mostly positive memories!

We arrived in Springdale early enough to have time to do some more geocaching after checking in at the hotel. But first, we spent some time at the hotel to reload after the earthcache.

We decided to find some of the caches we had planned tomorrow. We got to find a few caches we DNFed last year, and visit Grafton in daylight. When we visited Grafton last year, it was completely dark, and we didn’t see much.

Grafton

Unfortunately, the cache under what we called “ThePianoGuys Bridge” in Rockville (GC1HMG1 A bridge to the Past) was disabled, but at least we tried to snag a photo while driving over.

ThePianoGuys Bridge

We found a few more caches, before heading back to Springdale to get something to eat, and get some sleep.

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