Spirit of the Desert trip returnees

I welcome your comments of those who recently came back, or took this trip last year (going real soon myself).
1- How was the bug situation in the national parks?
2- How was the temperature overall during the day and then at night?
3- What was your favorite place?
4- How were the meals?
Thank you for answering!


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    Hi Susan,

    I did this trip last September. It was fabulous! I'll answer your questions as best I can.

    Bugs. Can't say I noticed them one way or t'other. I always have insect spray, but I don't think I used it at all.

    Temperature. In mid September, it was nippy in the morning and before sunrise, but once the sun came out, it was lovely. Evenings, in the parks, needed only a very light wrap ... just something to cover your shoulders. In general, and I think this would stand for any time of year in the mountains. Have things you can layer.

    Favourite place. Too hard! I loved the colour of the landscapes in southern Utah. Red. :) Just like the Kimberley. Wish I knew more about geology!

    Meals. Very good.

    I'll add a tip. If you are not used to dealing with altitude, seek your own medical advice before you leave home. It's a very individual thing. Many don't even notice. Many scoff! Many are totally non-plussed and seemingly unsympathetic to the discomfort you might be suffering. As someone who lives at sea level and knows they don't cope too well at even minor elevations, I was so glad my Doctor prescribed the appropriate medication. (You need to start before you reach the highest point.) It meant I could walk out to Bright Angel Point on my own and save my gasps for the view. Unfortunately, the pills didn't make me instantly fitter! Still, it was heaps better than the people who didn't venture much further than the bus because they really felt the altitude. Best I could do for them was to make soothing, sympathetic noises and offer them my arm. Oh, and the reaction isn't particularly age related! ;) Maybe kids are too busy doing kid stuff to notice! ;))


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    Six of us just returned from Spirit of the Desert. As everyone says, it was a wonderful trip. We had a brand new coach -- very comfortable -- an excellent driver, and a superior tour guide. The guests lecturers were outstanding. A word of caution: the first three days are very fast-paced: early mornings and/or later nights; very full days; very little opportunity for down time. I would suggest going a day early if at all possible. We did and were very glad. After the first days, it is a slightly slower pace with more free time, and more options: get up to see the sunrise or sleep in; watch for sunset or read a book. When they tell you to drink lots of water, do it. It helps avoid dehydration and the effects of altitude. We are looking forward to our next national parks trip in a different area.

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    Couldn't agree more, Sam38. Arrive early and give yourself some settling in time ... and time to enjoy the sunning location.

    As for the early ... let's be there before sunrise start on the first touring day... Mmmm. Yes, it was stunning when the sun rose. Yes, it was absolutely freezing, just as you'd expect for a desert before sunrise. Yes, a picnic breakfast was very nice. Yes, that timetable plays havoc with any morning medication and morning ... umm ... bathroom rituals. You are eating in a National Park carpark in the early morning before the daily cleaning services arrive to tend to the "facilities" from the previous day. Yes, I believe the coffee was hot ... for those who drink that peculiar beverage called coffee in North America. A suggestion ... have something in your room (equipped with kitchen facilities) you can snack on before you leave for the sunrise. I know, it's still the middle of the night and pitch dark, but at least you will have something inside you to tide you over till you can trust your innards ... because you don't trust them to behave otherwise under that morning's drill conditions. Was it worth it? My heart said yes, but my innards were upset and protested quite irrationally. You have to work with what you've got. What can I say? Forewarned is forearmed. Anything to help, that's my motto.


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    We are booked for the September 19th, 2013 trip. As luck would have it, we just returned from visiting our family in Boulder, CO. Our son planned, as a treat for us, a train trip from Denver to Grand Junction. While we were in Grand Junction, he took us for a 25 mile drive in the Colorado National Monument. This canyon rim drive was awesome. I would suggest to anyone that has the time to add an extra pre day to the Tauck trip, stay overnight in Grand Junction, rent a car and drive the Monument. You can probably be picked up at the airport by Tauck the next day. I found photos of the drive in the Internet, but none of the pictures matched the reality of the place.
    I highly recommend doing this.

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    byelen wrote:
    Good grief! The things I have to do to get through the technology glitches on the Forum to post! Why? I often ask myself!

    Back to the issue at hand.

    Couldn't agree more, Bev. I took a drive through the National Monument a few years ago as part of a now-discontinued Colorado trip. I just had to see more of this wonderful geography, as if I need more encouragement! An extra night in Grand Junction is soooo worth it.


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