An Amazing Day in Utah: 1 Brewery, 2 National Parks, 6 hours of driving, and 9 Miles of Glorious Trails

Words alone cannot do this story justice, so I will rely mostly on the pictures to tell this story of one day, 1 brewery, 2 national parks, 9 miles of trails, and 340 miles driven. I wanted an adventure and I found it carved out amongst the beauty of two of our National Parks. I just hope that my words and pictures would encourage others to go, visit and experience the beauty for themselves. This was the third day of my travels.

First, I hit Zion National Park early, and thanks to a tip from a friend, I was running up the Watchman trail as the sun lit the valley. While there are dozens of trails to explore in Zion, I needed something close to the entrance that I could park and run from my car. Watchman trail did just that. The views were spectacular. It was an out and back trail to an overlook; your basic up and down. I kept my mask on my face, taking it off when I found myself alone, putting it back on as I passed people on the narrow trails. It made sense to me, and I think it was the right thing to do. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest.

No time to lose though. Once I finished, I grabbed some food from the general store at the entrance and jumped in the car to drive a little over two hours to Bryce Canyon National Park. The drive through Zion is one of the most incredible I have ever done. If you’ve ever seen Disney’s Cars—think of some of the scenery they portray around Radiator Springs. Now multiply it by 10…to the 5th power. You’re getting closer.

Eventually though, I made it to Bryce, which is truly an amazing place. If you’ve ever been to Disneyland and ridden Thunder Mountain, that’s the best way to describe Bryce Canyon and its surroundings. It’s a series of naturally made amphitheaters and spires leading from the valley floor to a plateau overlooking it. So unlike previous runs which were up first and then down, Bryce was down and then up. Again, the views and the trails were nothing short of majestic. These pictures are but a taste of this immaculate site.

Afterwards I ate lunch on my tailgate and got on the road. The next destination: Moab, Utah, home of Arches National Park. Making it to my hotel early in the evening, I wasted no time. I wanted food and beer and not necessarily in that order. I found the Moab Brewing Company, and despite it being a Wednesday night, the place was packed. I was more than a little nervous sitting at the bar eating dinner as crowded as it was—but not nervous enough to pass up a good burger and beer. I chose their Juicy Johnny IPA to quench my thirst while I ate. This hazy IPA packed a lot of citrus goodness and flavor, but only at 5% abv. I probably could have had more, but one would do. I opted to buy a bottle and go back to my hotel room for the evening. My choice was their Desert Select Tripel, a hearty and filling beer in the Belgian ale style. Drinking out of the finest hotel room plastic cup, this beer did not disappoint. This beer was full of rich caramel flavor, and at 8.5% abv, I was glad I drank it in my hotel room. I spent the rest of the evening enjoying my beer, watching TV.

Here was my daily roll-up:
# of miles driven: 340
Miles run: 9.25
# of random texts I got addressed to “Sandy” about helping at voting stations: 4 (this is like a daily thing at the moment)
# of robo calls I get from either Belarus, Jamaica, or North Dakota: 5 (again, not sure why Jamaica would call me?)
# of sheep I saw sitting on the shoulder of the highway: 3 (they were literally sitting on the road’s shoulder watching cars drive by)
# of people I ran by who said, “Are you crazy?”: about 6…I think, I didn’t really stop and converse.
# of times I heard “The Promise” by When in Rome yesterday: twice (I love this song and hadn’t heard it in like 5 years! What are the odds—I guess pretty good when you’re in Utah apparently).

I went to bed content and tired. The next day Arches & Canyonlands National Parks beckoned along with a long drive to Alamosa, Colorado. My adventure continued.

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