Apart from the Salt Lake City metro area, Utah is a sparsely populated state. Unfortunately our drive through SLC on the interstate coincided with rush hour and a heavy thunderstorm. We were glad to escape the rat run along the I15 and stopped at Spanish Fork, just off the UT 6 for a Starbucks to recover from the last hour of hard driving. The rest of the journey, via Green River to Moab was uneventful and thankfully a lot easier!
From Moab we went to Arches National Park, but due to a flash flood from the previous day's rain the road to Delicate Arch was closed. It was also rather cloudy, however I got some of the best pictures from the holiday when the sun spotlighted some of the gorgeous red rocks against the sullen clouds as background. It just goes to show that dramatic weather can give much better pictures than wall to wall sun and blue skies.
We visited three of the "Big 5" National Parks in Utah : Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion. All have their own beauty and afforded some great opportunities for photography.
Bryce Canyon national park was a surprise. I wasn't expecting much as it is a small park with one road running along the canyon rim. However the views were great over the fascinating geology of the hoodoos (the slender pillars of multi-coloured rocks). Zion was a little disappointing at first as we got there early and on one of the first shuttle buses up the canyon, which was full. We started at the top of the canyon, which being narrow meant lots of shade and hard to get some good pictures. But as we made our way back down the canyon it opened up and we got some better views.
To visit Bryce and Zion we stayed in Mt Carmel Junction at the Thunderbird Lodge. A great hotel with traditional 50s style diner for breakfasts and dinner. Here we experienced a large daily temperature range, 40s (around 4 C) in the morning up to mid 80s (mid 20s C) by midday.