By Annie Chang

Bon voyage! Groggy at 5 A.M., my family hustled into our Toyota minivan to embark on our journey to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah. On the way to our destination, we planned a delicious sojourn for brunch at the world famous Caesar’s Palace Buffet in Las Vegas.After devouring plate after plate of Italian pasta, Korean sushi, Spanish sausage, and French cake along with a nice warm bowl of American chicken noodle soup, we headed to Zion.
By early in the afternoon, we arrived. My two younger brothers and I were eager to challenge Bryce 2ourselves by hiking The Narrows, a spectacular gorge through the Virgin River. Dressed in wetsuits and waterproof shoes, we trekked through swift, cold currents and walked above slippery, algae-covered rocks. We were exhausted when we finished the hike. The next day, we ventured out to Angel’s Landing, the most popular and most dangerous hike at Zion. While we were terrified of this steep rock climb, at the same time we were exhilarated by its magnificent view of the park. Guided by an experienced park ranger, we traveled through a woodland of pines and junipers and then ascended a mountain that offered views of rivers, trees, and sandstone.

We proceeded next to Bryce Canyon, a national park named after Mormon Pioneer Ebenezer Bryce. Bryce 1It is renowned for its red spires called “hoodoos” and unparalleled opportunities for stargazing. During our first day we enjoyed a mélange of fun activities, including a ranger program where we listened to a lecture on the geology of Bryce Canyon and a campfire where we roasted s’mores and gazed at the night sky. The following morning my father and I rose early to watch the sunrise at Inspiration Point, a beautiful and unforgettable experience. After eating breakfast, my brothers and I decided to test our audacity by hiking the Queens Garden-Navajo Loop Combination Trail, a three mile trek which starts from Sunrise Point and ends at Sunset Point. We hiked down into the canyon amphitheater and observed the hoodoos from below. Much to our delight, we spotted a prairie dog, some butterflies, and many squirrels. Afterwards, we wrapped up our day with a relaxing walk through Mossy Cave. Finally, we drove back home, satisfied with our experience of the grand phenomenon of nature at Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.