All posts by Mira & Brynn Simons

Days 12 & 13: Capitol Reef

Day 12

Written by Mira

On day 12 we packed up the camper and moved to just outside Capitol Reef. Once we set up the camper we ate lunch and headed into the park. We went to the visitor center to learn about the park. We learned that it’s named Capitol Reef because there is a rock formation that looks like the Capitol.

We also went to a little park area where a few deer were hanging out. There were three total, two females and one male. The buck had antlers and the antlers still had the velvet on them. Which means the antlers were fuzzy.

Day 13

Written by Brynn

Day 13 was sort of busy in the morning. First, we went to do 2 very short hikes. It was already heating up, so we tried to do them quickly. They were super easy. The views were very pretty and cool, also!

Then, we went to a super old schoolhouse. It was so small! I bet it could fit only about 11 or 12 people. It was also very dusty inside.

Next, we went to see a wall of petroglyphs. Mira and I saw a bunch of pronghorns carved into the wall. There were also a lot of people, too. That was the most that we have seen so far!

Finally, we were about to go back to the camper, but then we saw a “U-Pick” sign for an orchard! We were trying to find one yesterday, but the fence was locked. The orchard was an Apricot orchard! Mira and I were super excited because we LOVE Apricots! There we also 2 deer! We made sure to stay far away though! Mira said that she saw a tree FULL of Apricots! So we went over and picked at least 30 Apricots! We went to go pay for them and went back to the camper. The Apricots were amazing! Definitely recommend!

Written by Mira

That night Grandpa and I went to an area in the park for some night photography. There were no people around us so, unlike last time we went to do some night photography. (When we first went for night photography in Bryce) I actually got to use the camera to take pictures for myself, instead of showing people how to take pictures of the Milky Way on their phones.

We look forward to sharing our adventures with you!

Brynn & Mira

Days 9, 10, and 11: Bryce Canyon

Day 9

Written by Brynn

Yet another travel day! We left Page to go to Bryce Canyon City. It was a bit of a drive, but we made it! When we got there, the campground was so big! Biggest I’ve ever seen! And our site was way bigger than we needed it to be! As soon as we got unpacked, we had lunch and got ready to go into the park. As soon as we entered it, we went to the Visitor Center. It was very cool! Lots of displays! Then we rode a shuttle to our 1st viewing point. Mira and I weren’t ready! We were amazed! The park is mostly a bunch of structures called hoodoos! They are made from weathering, mostly ice and rain. Well, it has several stages. 1st, a thing called “Frost Wedging”. Some water seeps into cracks in the rock walls, and freezes. It then breaks apart the rock and creates a what called “a window”. Next, as the windows expand, the tops eventually fall off, leaving a column. Finally, erosion continue to sculpt the columns into spires, known as “Hoodoos“. It was really funny to see the hoodoos because sometimes, you would say that they were a character, or formation from something!

Then, we went out for dinner and a show at Ebeneezer’s Barn & Grill. The show was a Blue Grass show, which Mira and I had never heard of! I was really excited because I like trying new things! The dinner was really big and delicious! At first, when I heard the word “ Blue Grass,” I thought it was Country! Well, I was only half wrong. Some of it is actually Country, Blues, Jazz, Pop, and Old-time music. The show was really fun and cool!  The singers were a couple and their friend. While the show was happening, 2 of the couple’s kids came out to sing with them. It was so cute! They were really good!  

(Click on a picture to see it bigger.)

Day 10

Written by Mira

On day 10 we spent more time in Bryce. Grandpa took Brynn and me on the Navajo trail loop which starts at Sunset point, which we will come back to. Anyway, the trail was really fun, we started early before it got too hot. I don’t think I’ve ever started a hike by going down and end by going up! It was really pretty, with all the oranges and reds. There were a lot of switchbacks going up and down. They were steep so while going up we had to take a lot of breaks.

Once we finished, we got back to the camper, and Grandma wanted to take us to the general store. Brynn and I were looking for earrings and we found some! Brynn got dragonflies and I got whales, Brynn also got an amethyst geode and I got some magnets to fidget with.

If there is one thing you should know about me, it’s that I absolutely love looking at the sky and stars. I just think it’s so magical and majestic! Anyway Grandpa and I went back to Sunset Point at about 8:30 (Utah time) and we waited for all the stars to come out. We saw the ISS and the Milky Way! There were a quite a few people who were there that all wanted to take pictures of the Milky Way with their phones. So I was teaching people how to take a long exposure pictures. Which if you don’t know it opens the camera for a longer period of time, which lets more star light in. Making a better picture! I guess that’s what happens when you take the daughter of a photography teacher for night photography!

Day 11

Written by Brynn

Day 11 was our last day in Bryce. It was a very relaxing day. We didn’t do much other than going on a scenic drive through a little bit of the park. There were about 8 points to view, and we went to all of them. Some of them were Farview Point, Ponderosa Point, Agua Canyon, and Natural Bridge. On the way to all of those, we found out that on June 14th, 2009, a lightning strike started a fire that burned 3,947 acres in Bryce Canyon National Park. We were very surprised that it happened so long ago because there wasn’t a lot of growth in the trees. All of the view points had great views of the park! I definitely recommend going to Bryce!

We really look forward to sharing our new adventures with you!

Brynn & Mira

Day 8 Lower Antelope Canyon

Written by Mira Simons

On day 8, Grandpa took Brynn and me to Lower Antelope Canyon. Grandpa has been to Upper Antelope Canyon. We went on a tour of the canyon, and we actually got to walk through the canyon.  It was super cool to see how it was carved out by water unlike the sandstone above which was eroded by wind. The shapes were much more jagged above, but inside the canyon since it was eroded by water it was completely smooth.

Written by Brynn Simons

Our tour guide was really nice and would show us all the different shapes in the rock. Or the shapes caused by the rock outlining shapes and the shapes would be the sky. Some of my favorite formations in the canyon were “The Woman in the Wind,” “Rocky Mountain Sunset,” and a cute little heart! We took lots of pictures, obviously because there were so many sights to see! I really hope that I will get to come back here! It’s one of my favorites so far!

We can’t wait to share more of our adventures with you!

– Mira Simons & Brynn Simons

Days 6 and 7

Written by Brynn

Day 6 was yet another traveling day. We went from Grand Canyon Village to Page, Arizona. Along the way, we stopped at a big Navajo trading post for lunch. We looked around the store for quite a while before we got hungry for lunch. The restaurant’s most famous dish was recommended by Dean and Graham, our brothers. They said that the famous “Navajo Taco” was really good and that we should try it. So we all got Navajo Tacos (and I got mine without tomatoes because I don’t like them – they’re disgusting!) —they were delicious! None of us finished the meal and so we got containers to carry them home in the RV fridge.

After that, we continued on the road until we saw another really small trading post with just one person. All of her jewelry was handmade and all of us were really impressed because they were all so pretty. Mira and I were going to buy something, but we decided that this wasn’t the place, so we continued on the road again. Finally, we got to Page.

Our campsite was literally right next to the indoor pool. I was really excited because I love swimming. When Mira and I went into the pool with Grandpa, we realized that the pool was kinda nice! The hot tub was good, also!

Written by Mira

The 4th of July (Day 7) was a busy day! First, we decided we would go to visit Horseshoe Bend. It was a bit of a walk from the parking lot. Grandma and Grandpa said it was way different from when they’d been there several years ago. Horseshoe Bend is basically a formation of rock that’s really big in the middle of the Colorado River. We saw kayakers and a speed boat—they looked like tiny ants!

After that, we went to the Glen Canyon Dam Visitor Center. The Glen Canyon Dam was built on the Colorado River, the dam caused Lake Powell. Lake Powell is about 254.1 mi2 big. It was really interesting looking down on to the dam from the visitor center. We went to a Ranger Talk, and the ranger told us that in May of 1983 plywood had to be attached vertically to the top of the dam so that the dam didn’t overflow. The plywood was eventually replaced with sheets of metal. Once the Lake was down to a safe level, they were able to check and close the flood gates. What they saw was not good, there was a giant problem. In the tunnels there was a gap almost 30 feet deep and 40 feet wide. They had just enough time to fix these holes because they were afraid that they would have to open the flood gates again. But in the end they didn’t have to open the gates. And they haven’t had to open them since.

We are super excited to share more of the trip with you!

Sincerely,

Brynn and Mira

Days 3, 4, and 5

Written by Brynn Simons

On Sunday morning, we went out to MartAnne’s for breakfast in Flagstaff. They are a Mexican restaurant and we went there because it is Grandma and Grandpa’s favorite breakfast restaurant. Their most famous breakfast dish is the “BBB”–which includes two pancakes made with buckwheat, banana, and blueberries. Mira got the BBB and I got french toast (4 pcs!) with strawberries. We surprisingly both finished our meals!

Grandpa took us to Walnut Canyon where there are a bunch of ancient cave dwellings in the cliffs. Native Americans lived there years ago. We walked the Island Trail. I’m amazed at how they were built so many years ago and are still standing to this day!

Next, we went to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. At first, we took a trail into the Petrified Forest behind the visitor center. We walked part of it and it started thundering and lightning. So we went back to the truck to have lunch and wait for the storm to pass. We then tried to go back into the forest to finish the trails that we didn’t complete. We didn’t think the storm would come to us and rain down on us, but we jinxed ourselves! It started pouring down rain and it was very windy. Our hats almost blew off! While it was still pouring down rain, we decided to go to the Rainbow Forest Visitors Center and check that out and to get stickers for our water bottles.

We went to specific sites to see the different designs and patterns of the desert. There was also some Petrified Wood there. We went to Crystal Forest briefly because it was still raining. We saw lots of lightning!

We went to see Newspaper Rock — it was very cool to see all the petroglyphs. They are basically little drawings that each mean something different to the Native Americans who lived there. We saw some that represented migration, different animals, and people. A person at Newspaper Rock told us there were other petroglyphs at The Pueblo. So we went there, too.

At The Pueblo, we walked on a little trail to see the ruins and some more petroglyphs. The ruins were the foundations of buildings in a small Native American village. They were short and the rooms were about the size of a king-sized bed.

From there, we moved on to see the Painted Desert. Grandpa said he had never seen it this beautiful before.

Grand Canyon National Park

Written by Mira Simons

On day four we packed up the camper and drove to just outside Grand Canyon National Park! We unpacked the camper and went into the park. This was my first time going to the Grand Canyon, and it was absolutely incredible. If someone you know is going to the Grand Canyon, don’t even try to explain just how crazy it is. Looking down into the Canyon is mind blowing. Grandma and Grandpa tried to explain just how crazy it was, but how I was imagining the Canyon was WAY different than it actually was. I thought it was going to be smaller than it actually was.

Written by Brynn Simons

I actually thought the Canyon would not be so deep! I mean, I’ve seen pictures of it, but it was absolutely astonishing! It was an awesome experience and one of my favorites! Other than that, the one thing that also surprised me was that the water was really BROWN! I thought it would be blue or green because those are the usual water colors. But I found out that there are little miniature rivers that run into the Canyon. Then they bring their own dirt and dust into the Colorado and make it brown. Those are called tributaries. It makes a lot of sense now! I’m really glad that we went to the Canyon!

Day 4

Written by Mira Simons

We spent the rest of day four at the Grand Canyon. It was very fun, but quite tiring. We made sure to drink enough water and eat enough. Once we got back to the camper, Brynn and I were crazy, Grandma said that we were overtired and I agree.

Day 5

Written by Brynn Simons

We were also at the Grand Canyon today! It was our last day in the town! We woke up a little early to get into the park before there was traffic and before it got too hot. Throughout the day we were walking and taking pictures at the places that we didn’t get to yesterday. While we were doing that, we saw and came close to Squirrels, Ravens, little Lizards, Elk and even Big Horned Sheep! Overall, going to the Grand Canyon was a great choice! I loved it!

P.S. – All pictures were taken by Mira or Brynn, except the pictures that have Brynn and Mira in them.

We look forward to sharing more of our adventures with you!

Sincerely,

Mira and Brynn

Arizona & Utah Trip 2.0

Hello everybody! We’re back in the RV for V2.0 of the trip Dean and Graham did with Grandma and Grandpa. But this time it’s me, (Mira) and my sister, Brynn. I’m 13 and Brynn is 11.

Days One & Two-June 28-29

Day one: We drove from Corning, NY to Rochester, NY. Then we flew to JFK from ROC, then from JFK to PHX.

We left Corning at 1 PM Eastern Time and got to ROC at about 3 PM. We had an amazing dinner at ROC of BLT’s and chicken sandwiches. We boarded the first plane at 6:25 and landed at about 7:20 then we had to hurry to our next flight which was very far away, we reached the gate just as boarding started. Phew! We landed in PHX at 3:00 AM (Eastern Time) which was really a little after Midnight in Phoenix. Then, after getting our luggage we had to wait for the hotel shuttle, and by the time we got to our room it was 1AM in Phoenix. Which really felt like 4AM because our bodies were still used to Eastern Time.

Day Two: We had breakfast at the hotel which was AMAZING. Then we took the truck, which was parked at the hotel before Grandma and Grandpa flew to Corning to see Graham graduate High School. (Congratulations to him!) Anyway we left Phoenix behind to drive to Flagstaff. On the way there we got stuck in an hour of traffic. Finally we got to the first of many campgrounds. The RV was left in a campground that Grandma and Grandpa had previously stayed at on the way down from Montana. Anyway we got the camper set up and went on an adventure to Sunset Crater.

Sunset Crater is a NON-ACTIVE volcano. That in Volcano Terms, erupted recently as in 1,000 years ago. It was really interesting because the reason it’s called Sunset Crater is because the top of the cone is covered in oxidized red splatter.

Hey, I’m Brynn, Mira’s sister. The second part of visiting Sunset Crater was exploring the short little trails. There were lots of lava rocks broken down EVERYWHERE! Of course we took our cameras, because there was lots of things to take photos of! We saw some very interesting things. Some include: A very big and crooked tree, a plant called Apache Plumes, and different types of Lava Rocks and how they’re formed.

Around the Visitor Center, there were a lot of burnt trees. We found out that the reason happened on April 19th, 2022. A wind driven wild fire called the Tunnel Fire came in and burned 61% of the monument. It grew to almost 20,000 acres in 48 hours. Most of the trees were black and some were even completely burned.

The second adventure of our day was hiking\climbing the A’a Lava Trail. Basically, you get to climb on cooled lava rocks. They were really big and jagged. It was super fun and awesome! We saw a bunch of geckos and lizards. They were always scurrying around and on top of the rocks. We had lots of fun on our first 2 days!

We look forward to sharing the rest of our trip with you!

Sincerely,

Brynn and Mira Simons