It is not possible to see everything without turning this trip into a marathon of ticking boxes on a checklist of places. So we had to revisit our plans, drop Bryce Canyon and go straight to Zion. First impression – awesome. All green, real trees!
There are campsites in the national parks which can be booked online but in most cases reservations need to be made months in advance. There are also first-come, first-served ones – you just show up in the morning and if there is any free site, you just claim it. The key word here is ”morning” and keeping in mind our travelling style, getting a campsite is always a lottery. In Joshua Tree there was no issue finding a spot. In monument Valley we made a reservation only 2 days in advance. In Zion it did not work and upon arrival we immediately realized why. It is crowded. Really crowded. Kropowki, Giewont (hot spots in Polish mountains) and the like. There are shuttle buses running around the park and I guess if they allowed normal cars to drive there, they would be stuck in a permanent traffic jam.
We grabbed one of two last free campsites on a private campground, just behind park gates. It turned out to be great – there is a pool and it will be a blessing in the next few days. We still practice waking up at 5 a.m. because first shuttle buses leave at 6 and the queue to catch them starts well before that. But if you hit the trail so early you can trek on your own enjoying cool weather of the morning. Around 11 a.m. the sun starts to burn and the temperature rises above 40 celcius degrees. Tired but happy we come back from our treks around noon or 1 p.m. and this pool helps us survive the heat. It is also a great opportunity to meet the neighbours. Watching kids being communicate with other kids and in a foreign language and in foreign environment is great. I think one of the biggest takeaways of this trip for them is to not be afraid, move forward, do stuff.