Next week I’m braving the spring break crowds and heading south to meet some friends (alas, without an RV on this last-minute, whirlwind trip). We’ll start in Phoenix, head up to Sedona, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, then through Page, up into Zion National Park for a few days then return home from Las Vegas. Now is when I take a deep breath and ask for your wishes of “good luck!”
I know what the parks were once like. I remember camping with my dad, Chuck, in Bryce Canyon National Park years ago. We arrived in the afternoon and pulled into a campsite practically hanging over the hoodoo formations below. No problem. Peace, quiet, open campsites and no crowds. And it wasn’t just like this at Bryce… Death Valley, Yellowstone, Arches… it was all the same back then.
But you already know this. Most of you have experienced this too. I’m not here to reminisce on the “good ol’ days,” but you can be absolutely certain that when I have to wait in a line to take a picture at an overlook or on a hike, or sit in my car at the entrance stations (even before sunrise) for way too much gas-wasting time, I’ll be moaning and groaning.
I booked the trip pretty much last-minute, so hotel reservations, car rentals, and restaurant reservations (who knew you needed restaurant reservations nowadays in these small towns? SIGH.) were pretty scarce. Guess the high gas prices aren’t stopping spring-breakers. Does anything ever stop spring-breakers?
We all know what people are saying online. We’ve read the articles and seen the photos. Many of you have experienced it. Parking lots fill up by 6 a.m., the lines for the shuttles are longer than the Grand Canyon itself (not really, but close!), selfie sticks whack people out of the way for that “perfect shot”… This is what I’m expecting. I hope I’m surprised. Oh, boy, do I hope…
If you haven’t seen today’s poll yet, do you find National Parks to be busier than they ever were before, please go vote. I’ll be waiting (and cringing) for your answers.
OK, I’ve got a lot to do before I leave and time is running out. I’ll update you next week, when I’ll be writing from Zion.
Wish my grumpy self good luck, please. I’ll need it.