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GRAND CANYON “Until you stand on the rim of the

Grand Canyon, no photograph, however spectacular, really does justice to the moment.” Ken Burns


Ebenezer Bryce, for whom the canyon was named, said of its labyrinth of pink cliffs and whimsical hoodoos, “it’s a hell of a place to lose a cow...”


“If Delicate Arch has any significance... it lies in the power of the odd and unexpected to startle the senses... with a reawakened awareness of the wonderful.” Edward Abbey

River. These rivers divide the park into four districts – today you’ll explore the northern section, Island in the Sky, where among other formations you’ll see a famed pothole arch, Mesa Arch, overlooking Buck Canyon. There is no better way to experience Canyonlands than at sunset – and the setting sun, during a picnic dinner at Dead Horse Point overlooking the U-turn in the Colorado River, is nothing short of inspirational. Meals BLD

4. CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK, AERIAL VIEW An optional Dawn Patrol this morning precedes a lecture by a local film historian who discusses the multitude of films made in Moab over the past 70 years; get more insights when you visit the Film Museum. Vignettes today include Dayton Duncan’s insights on the best way to access the major sights in the national parks; some are available at a turnout, while others are inaccessible and require back-country hiking or an aerial overview – and that is exactly how you’ll tour Capitol Reef National Park today. Get amazing views of the Waterpocket Fold (sort of a “warp” in the Earth’s crust) that runs nearly 100 miles, with colorful cliffs, twisting canyons, soaring spires, the free-standing monoliths of Cathedral Valley and elegant arches around it. Arrive at Bryce Canyon National Park, home to some of Earth’s more whimsical geologic formations, for the evening. Meals BD

5. FAVORITE MEMORIES OF ZION The Dawn Patrol hikes along the rim of Bryce Canyon to catch the shocking array of colors illuminated by the first rays of light on the hoodoos below. More of a series of horseshoe “amphitheatres” than a canyon, morning walks reveal millions of pinnacles positively glowing... This afternoon, depart for Zion National Park; en route you’ll learn about the park’s complicated creation via a film vignette by Ken Burns, who shares his favorite memories of the park. Upon arrival, Ryan Paul, Curator of Frontier Homestead State


Park Museum (formerly Iron Mission State Park), entertains with a lecture on “singaways” and the contribution of the Union Pacific Railroad to the story of the national parks. Meals BLD

6. ZION – “YOSEMITE PAINTED IN OILS” “I was so impressed by the red cliffs and wilderness surroundings of Zion Canyon that I determined we should... have it made a national park.” The words of conservationist Horace Albright set the stage for the expansion of national park designations in the Southwest, and the creation of Zion National Park in 1919. Zion’s most striking images are its unique sandstone cliffs that range from towering monoliths to narrow canyons, changing in color from light cream to pink to red. Tour the park, with walks to Weeping Rock and the Court of the Patriarchs. This afternoon you have free time to further explore Zion (there are some fantastic extended hikes) or travel with us to nearby Springdale and an honest-to-goodness ghost town – it was the setting for the famous bicycle scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Sunset Scouts visit the Virgin River this evening. Meals BD

7. NORTH RIM, THE GRAND CANYON A film vignette by Dayton Duncan tells the story of the Grand Canyon, and how it exemplified the struggle that often occurred when creating a new national park. Drive to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, a place infinitely more intimate and less crowded than the South Rim, with only 10% of the park’s total annual visitors making their way there. Following lunch, explore the rim, including the vistas from Point Imperial. Late afternoon attend a lecture by John Cook, third generation in the service of the national park; he’ll speak about the mystique of the park ranger, the importance of “place,” and the sacredness of the parks today in the eyes of Native Americans. Dinner tonight is at your North Rim lodge. Meals BLD

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