Utah Road Trip

In mid August we met Aiden’s family in southern Utah to go on a road trip of some the Utah parks.

Day 1: We drove from Boulder, CO to Bryce Canyon. This was by far the longest driving day but we left early enough to make some fun stops along the way. Goblin Valley State Park is one of my favorite state parks and we decided last minute to stop there so Aiden could see the hoodoos. It is just such a unique place, I feel like the sandstone formations look like mushrooms and I love it! Next we drove through Capitol Reef National Park and stopped at the petroglyphs and some of the viewpoints. I loved just driving through the riverbed, it is so beautiful. We did not enter the other side of the park since we knew we were coming back on the way to Moab. We had an Airbnb in ____ for the night and they had some delicious fruit trees which was a great end to the day!

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Driving through western Colorado
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Goblin Valley State Park
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The hoodoos at Goblin Valley are amazing!
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More Goblin Valley Views
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Capitol Reef Overlook

Day 2:  My absolute favorite national park is by far Bryce canyon. I think it is so underrated and just amazing! We spent most of they hiking through the valley and up along the rim. We ate lunch at the lodge (not my favorite but they had a couple really delicious dishes). Late afternoon we drove to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park to meet up with Aiden’s family. There is a big reservoir that is perfect for swimming and paddle boarding. We did hike through the park and the petrified logs are super interesting and cool looking but I highly recommend doing it in the early morning. It was so so hot (a jump in the lake really helped though!). After hiking we headed to the Slot Canyon Inn which was absolutely amazing. The property is stunning and there are lots of animals. The views are so pretty! We got the best sunset views during dinner at their restaurant, North Creek Grill (the pizza was the absolute best I have had in a while). They even have petroglyphs just on their cliffs.

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Bryce Canyon National Park, headed up to Sunrise Point
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The views from Bryce Point (totally unreal)
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Our hike from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point, through the valley
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Driving to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
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Reading by the lake at Petrified Forest State Park
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Taking a break from the heat on a petrified log
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The amazing pizza at North Creek Grill
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Plum and apricot lemonade added the incredible meal!

Day 3: We started the day with a delicious breakfast at the Inn then headed out to hike to the Lower Calf Creek Falls. I wasn’t sure what to expect but we got to the top (after a long and hot hike) and it was definitely worth it. The water is freezing but I had to go for a swim anyways! It is a 5.5 mile hike roundtrip and not that difficult as far as terrain goes, but bring lots of water since it is so hot. The next stop was driving the Burr Trail in Boulder, UT. There was almost no one there and the views were, in my opinion, just as interesting and beautiful as Capitol Reef (and way less people). We ended the day with dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm which I 10/10 recommend. There carrot puree was amazing and they had an ice cream s’more dessert that was to die for. We drove from Boulder, UT to Teasdale up over the mountains and it was like nothing I have seen before. I think that drive was my favorite part of the whole trip. It is this gorgeous hike mountain range that looks down into the dessert and cliffs of Utah. It is indescribable. We stayed the night at The Muddy Duck Bed and Breakfast which is nestled up against some cliffs and looks over the rest of the valley (so beautiful and the kindest host).

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The friendliest cat joined me at Slot Canyon Inn
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Driving Burr Trail
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S’more Sunday at Hell’s Backbone Inn & Grill
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Driving through the high mountains to Teasdale

Day 4: We drove through Capitol Reef on our way to Moab but this time we explored a little more and went on hike. We drove down the scenic drive (absolutely beautiful) and through the gorge on a dirt road. It is crazy how narrow it gets, you are basically driving in the riverbed. We hiked along the Gorge trail from there to further enjoy the views. Before heading out we stopped for pie at the Gifford House. It is strange there are some orchards and the old town nestled right in the gorge. We drove on to Moab, stopping in Green Rive to buy melons. There is a local melon stand at one of the gas stations and they have a big variety of different melons. In Moab we checked into our Airbnb (a lovely house right in town). We walked to Miguel’s Baja Grill for dinner and then browsed Back of Beyond Books (of course).

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Morning views at the Mucky Duck
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Driving to Capitol Reef
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Gorge Trail in Capitol Reef
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More Gorge Trail views

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Walking home from dinner in Moab
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Getting my book fix at Back of Beyond Books

Day 5: We grabbed some breakfast burritos from Love Muffin Cafe (which are seriously delicious, the locals burrito is my favorite) before heading to Canyonlands National Park. We spent the day exploring different areas of the Island in the Sky area of the park. There are some gorgeous overlooks and short hikes totally worth checking out. We did the Mesa Arch hike and hiked along the rim at Grand Point Overlook. My biggest recommendation for this part is to get a four wheel drive car (or rent an off road jeep) because there are a ton of amazing dirt roads to explore, with way less people on them. Next we headed to Dead Horse Point State Park. The views here are totally worth it and different from Canyonlands. You can see beautiful views of the rivers and the salt flats. For dinner we went to Zaks in Moab, they have great buffet deal with the best bear cheese soup I have ever had.

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Dead Horse Point State Park views of the river
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Salt flats views from Dead Horse Point State Park
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Canyonlands viewpoint
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Grand Point Overlook in Canyonlands National Park

Day 6: Our final full day in the parks was spent mostly at Arches National Park. We have been here before so we still only spent half day here but it is definitely a cool place to visit. This time we hiked in the Devil’s Garden area, checking out Tunnel and Pine Tree Arches. We also went to the viewpoints for Delicate Arch so Aiden’s family could see it. In general my favorite area in Arches is the Window’s Section, there is so much to see! We walked around the shops in Moab for part of the afternoon (I recommend Moab Made, everything they carry is locally made and so interesting/unique). For dinner we headed to Sunset Grill for beautiful views and delicious food. It was definitely my favorite restaurant in Moab (the French Onion Soup and Chocolate Mousse were my favorites, of the things we ordered).

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Pine Tree Arch
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Starting our hike in the Devil’s Garden area
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A mojito while watching the sun set at Sunset Grill

I can’t recommend a Utah parks trip enough. They all have such unique landscapes and rock formations. Let me know if you want any more recommendations and/or trip advice! Thanks for reading!

Happy Sunday!

Erin

Denmark Travel Diary

I have finally been able to get to some of my travel posts! I am currently on my big Europe trip traveling around with my sister. We are in Nice, France right now but I was able to get my Denmark travel diary done on the train rides. In general I really loved this country! It is so beautiful and the city of Copenhagen is a great place to be. I am a little jealous of my friend who lives there!

Day 1- Just a note, that first picture is from the plane just before landing and I was just so impressed by how many wind turbines there were. I had never seen them in the ocean! I got to Copenhagen around 12:30pm on Sunday after a flight from Denver to London and then London to Copenhagen. I was extremely jet lagged but needed to stay up as long as possible so I could get on the right time zone. My friend picked me up from the airport, with Carlsberg beers as welcoming gifts. We rode the train back to his house in Hellerup. This town is very cute with lots of nice houses, flowers and a great beach/harbor. My friend’s boyfriend had a delicious danish lunch waiting for us so we ate open-faced sandwiches before taking a train to Klampenborg. It is only one or two stops and probably walkable (definitely an easy bike ride). First we walked around the deer park. It is a really pretty park which would be great for picnicking or biking through. There is a manor several kilometers from the entrance because the property used to be a hunting home for nobility. We saw several species of deer, including the fallow deer which I had never seen before (they have very fuzzy, wide antlers). After walking a little ways we headed to Bakken which is the world’s oldest amusement park. it was created in the 1500’s (I can only imagine what that was like). You do not have to pay an entrance fee so we just walked through the park and got some ice cream cones. Some of the buildings definitely channel a historical look with sloping roofs. They have lots of horse drawn carriages for rides around the area. From here we walked across the rode to the sandy beach for a swim. The water was chilly but so refreshing and really woke me up. It was a really nice, sunny day so there were lots of people! Back at home we had a traditional dish called Flæskesteg, which was amazing! Apparently it is usually made around Christmas time. We finished dinner around 9:30 and the sun was just starting to set (I forgot about the whole more sunlight thing). We walked through the neighborhood to downtown Hellerup and the beach/harbor. There is such a nice rose garden there as well.

Slide1Day 2- This day was pretty much entirely exploring Copenhagen. I woke up to fresh coffee and croissants (such a treat!). My friend and I went out around 8:30 and he took me on a long walking tour of the city. We started with Christiania which is an artist community in the city that sort of follows its own rules. There are lots of colorful buildings and beautiful art. You can’t take pictures inside so I only have one from the side entrance. It was a Monday morning so it was pretty dead but they usually have lots of food, music and shops. From here we walked along side the canals, past Church of Our Savior. I had no idea that Denmark is comprised largely of islands. There are so many canals in the city and just walking around is so nice, especially along Nyhavn. Nyhavn is the postcard Copenhagen with the colorful buildings and boats lining the canal. I would note that this area is so packed! It can be a little difficult to navigate with all the people so I recommend timing this well so you aren’t there during peak times. There are lots of great restaurants and cafes along here that would be so lovely to eat at. From Nyhavn we headed along the water towards the mermaid statue. Honestly this is not very worth it. It is very out of the way, tons of tourists are there and it is really small. I recommend just seeing it from the boat tour. There is a great view of the opera house, statue, royal houses and church along that walk though. From the mermaid we headed past the Gefion Fountain and St. Albans Church to the royal houses. The palace was burnt down several times so the royal family now lives in several houses that belong to noble families. The lutheran church is there as well so we walked through it, the ceiling is pretty cool! By this time we had walked a ton and were super hungry. We ended up walking a ton more to get to Gasoline Grill, a burger place that had been recommended to my friend. It was worth the walk! We ate in the park nearby before walking through the crown jewel palace to the botanical gardens. It was Monday so the butterfly garden was closed but we had a nice time checking out the plants and flowers. From here we walked through some nice market plazas that I definitely want to check out more when I come back. We walked through the Royal Copenhagen store (very beautiful but expensive tableware) and then had coffees at the top of the Illum, enjoying nice views of the city. We ran a couple of errands before heading back to Hellerup. Dinner was another traditional meal of Frikadeller and then we watched the world cup semi-finals.

Slide1Day 3- We took a train to Hillerød in the morning to visit Fredriksborg Castle. This was by far the most beautiful castle I have ever seen. There are such beautiful views from the town so we stopped there for some pictures. There are also some cafes there that would be fun to try! You walk across a bridge to get into the courtyard where there is a beautiful fountain. Originally we weren’t sure if we were going to get tickets to go in or just explore the courtyard and gardens. We ended up getting tickets and I am so glad we did. The interior was incredible. I was especially impressed by the ceilings and chandeliers (so ornate!). My other highlight was the church (yes inside the castle). We hopped on a tour for a bit before exploring by ourselves for a while. I cannot imagine only one family living in a place that big. We walked around the grounds next, which we just as amazing. The crown emblem is literally carved out of a hedge on either side of the canal that runs from the water fountains. We walked out the other side of the garden and though the other side of town to the train station.

Slide1Day 4- We headed out early to pick up my sister, Meghan, from the airport (she came on a 8:15am flight from Stockholm). Meghan and I ate some food before heading to Helsingor for some more castle adventures. This town is definitely worth a visit whether or not you decide to see the castle. There is also a maritime museum and some interesting things. The castle was costs around 120 krone and neither of us were dying to see it so we chose to skip the castle and just walk around it and down the shore. I am pretty sure this was the home of a noble family so it is not nearly as big as the Fredriksborg castle but it is right up against the sea which was very cool! After walking around the castle we headed back through the town, exploring, taking pictures and hitting up a thrift shop. We hopped on a bus to Humlebaek. This stop is worth it if you want to see the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, none of the exhibits caught my eye at the time so instead of going in we walked along the rocky beach and then up along the street (the house and gardens are all very nice).

Slide1Day 5- I took my sister into Copenhagen so she could see everything. We did some shopping along the main streets and walked around for a while. For lunch we went to Dalle Valle which is an affordable buffet that has lots of danish options. After lunch we walked to Nyhavn for a boat tour of the city. I highly recommend seeing the city via boat. They take you along the canals and point out all the important landmarks and the history in both Danish and English. We went with Netto boat tours which was 50 krone per person.

Slide1Day 6- We went back into the city with the sole purpose of reserving our train tickets to Germany. If you need to make reservations or get international tickets in Copenhagen make sure you leave a lot of time because we spent at least an hour just waiting for our turn. We then grabbed a bite to eat outside of Tivoli and then walked back through the city. We were pretty tired by that point so decided to head back to Hellerup to get packed up. We walked down to the Hellerup beach for a swim because it was very hot and sunny. The water was even better than the first day! Our last little adventure involved a very long walk to University of Copenhagen for my friend’s BBQ. It was so much fun! Lots of dancing, drinks and good food.Slide1

This part of my trip was truly amazing. I love love love the city of Copenhagen and it was so incredible to see my friend again!

Erin