Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guide: Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon (Adventure Photo Tours)

Like Grand Canyon, this tour will get you out of Las Vegas. This tour is like a McDonald's combo meal. Just like how you get to eat not only the burger but also get to enjoy the fries and drinks, you get to visit not only the very famous Zion National Park but also the Bryce Canyon.

Just a mention about Adventure Photo Tour's website, I thought it was interesting that they actually had a Chinese website too. It's not that I can't understand English, just that I thought it's pretty much going the extra mile to attract Chinese tourists. The thing I'm really curious about is, do they have Mandarin-speaking tour guides?

Tour group size and van
The tour group size was the largest I have had in a few days and the tour was the most expensive amongst all the tours I went on. There were 11 people on the tour and that completely filled the van up. The thing I liked about the van, however, is that it had a high door, so that I didn't have to bend my back too much to get in and out of the bus, as I did in other tours. I also appreciated the fact that we were given a fact sheet although honestly, I do not see how it enhanced our tour experience unless you thought a piece of paper could improve your photography skills by leaps and bounds.

Breakfast was a brown paper bag full of random items- including a muffin, a packet of peanuts, a granola bar and a cheesestick. I think that's more than enough to fill a hungry person up.

Zion National Park 
You will get to see the Virgin River at the Zion National Park, the Checkerboard Messa and interesting formations such as the hoodoos in the Zion National Park.

Lunch is taken on the bus which is totally fine because this saves time. You get a sandwich, a packet of chips and some famous amos biscuits. Water and orange juice is also available throughout the day. Sunblock and hand sanitiser are also available.

Bryce Canyon National Park 
I really liked the Bryce Canyon National Park. When you look down, all you see is the forces of Mother Nature's hand and it's incredible how the human mind works to conjure different images of these limestone rocks. My photos do not do justice to the rich colours you will see when walking the trail. Some daredevil tried to sit on a tree branch very close to the edge- what a photo it would make if he suddenly became superman.

Getting back
On the road back, we stopped at Wendy's to get some dinner. We reached back at the hotel at around 830 pm. On the road, we watched two very relevant shows- one was on Vegas (Vegas Vacation) and the other was about Zion National Park (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).

Tour Guide
Our tour guide, James, was a photographer. We are thankful for the fact that he was very helpful throughout the trip, in offering water and other necessities and taking photographs for us. He also gave us ample opportunities to get out and onto the bus at several points to take photographs. He also gave a lot of information, although his rather monotonous tone made me fall asleep halfway through. I know it's my fault that I fell asleep, but believe me, I really tried to keep awake. (Contrary to popular belief, I did not spend the night before gambling in the casino.)

We also watched two videos on Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. While these are very informative, it sure can't beat a tour guide pointing out the actual things we see in the video. When we were taking a short hike to Sunset Point at Bryce Canyon, everybody in the tour group who participated in the hike were asking each other- So, which is the Thor's Hammer? Although we saw it in the video, it was difficult for us to spot in amongst the many formations. James did not follow us on the hike, leaving us to our own imagination.

Compared to the price we paid for the Grand Canyon Trip, this is a lot more expensive. James was a good tour guide but it would be cooler if he could bring us around to point out the different well known formations during the trail. Without a car, I suppose this remains a good option to take if you want to visit both Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon although I find it important to inform you that, you will spend most of your time in Zion National Park stopping 5 minutes at each photo taking point.


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