28 July, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park with kids

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Here comes the Day #3 of our South-Western Utah trip. 

Bryce Canyon National park in Southern Utah is famous for its crimson-colored hoodoos and spire-shaped rock formations. I can tell without any doubt that this the most beautiful national park we have visited so far. Our phones were filled with red sandstone pictures all over. It is no exaggeration when I say, the scenery is nothing like we have experienced before.

Read the previous travelogues here:

Zion National Park - Part1

Zion National Park - Part2


It's very interesting how these hoodoos are formed. They need 3 steps to form - 

  • deposition of rocks, 
  • uplift of the land, 
  • weathering and erosion 

Around 50 million years ago, this area was an ancient lake and flood plain system at sea level where several tiny particles from streams were deposited in the basin accumulating and cementing to become rocks. Later, due to tectonic plates shift, the land uplifted to higher elevation (now, Bryce is at an elevation of 9000 ft above sea level). This elevation, years of weather changes , and erosion made these beautiful hoodoos over the time. 

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Park Entrance:

Entrance fee is $35 per vehicle. 

We have our America the beautiful  Annual Pass which costed around $80.

On Day #3, we drove from Zion to Bryce Canyon. We reached Bryce canyon National park in the evening by 6pm. Since it's summer and there is enough day light till 8.30 PM, we started with the scenic drive. 

Scenic Drive:

Scenic drive is 18 miles from northern part of the entrance to Rainbow point. Shuttle is available to travel through scenic drive, but cars are also allowed.

It takes about 40 mins to drive to the southern end point of the scenic drive from visitor center. We stopped at all view points on the way. Here are some nice view points that you shouldn't miss - around amphitheater, Rainbow point, Sunrise sunset point, Bryce point, Inspiration point and Natural Bridge view point.

Natural bridge view is stunning and it's huge. It's great to see this unique rock formation without any hike.

Bryce point and Inspiration point are beautiful. They provide 360 degree views of the hoodoos.

We stayed near Sunset point to watch the Sunset. 


We stayed in Panguitch which is just 30 mins from the park. Here are some accommodation options to book:

How to Reach?

Las Vegas is the nearest airport for economic flight options. It's around 4 hrs drive from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon national park.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park:

On Day #4, we reached park after the breakfast and went directly to Sunrise point to hike the most popular trail - Queen's garden / Navajo loop trail. 

Queen's Garden / Navajo Loop Trail:

This hike is one way 3.9 miles. It will start at Sunrise point and ends at Sunset point through Queen's garden and Navajo loop. Initially we go down from Sunrise point and we walk through the hoodoos till Queen's Garden. The trail continues further and joins Navajo loop. The last part of the hike was very strenuous for me due to the elevation. 

You can see two bridges near the ending of the trail and also signs for Wall street while ascending up. Wall street is the only slot canyon in Bryce and the hike forks before two bridges on Navajo loop trail. Wall street was closed when we went, unfortunately.

The park itself is at an elevation of 8000 ft above sea level and so is usually colder in the evenings when compared to Zion national park. So, if you are visiting in any season other than summer, wear layers. 

This hike is wonderful for us to do with kids, but it's lengthy and is a steep climb at the end. We carried water, snacks and hydrating drinks. We took around 2 hrs 45 mins to finish. 

If this is tough for you, try the hike from Sunrise to Sunset point through Rim trail which is 1 mile or just Queen's garden trail which is 1.8 miles.

Bryce Lodge:

We took the shuttle to Bryce lodge, had lunch there and reached the car parking at Sunrise point through shuttle. Lunch was very good at Bryce lodge. There was a buffet with soups and salads.

Other trails:

Other easy trails are Mossy cave trail (0.8 miles) in the northern end of the park and Bristle cone loop trail which is  1 mile. Bristlecone loop trail was ok and we didn't like it that much.

We couldn't do another moderate trail on that day but Tower bridge trail is a good one for 3 miles. 

Mossy Cave Trail:

The trailhead is in the northern end of the park 4 miles east on highway 12. This is an easy 0.8 mile trail along the river which leads to a mossy cave. There is a little detour to reach a small waterfall. Don't miss that! That waterfall was gorgeous and it was like a cool oasis in scorching heat. 

Kids enjoyed the trail and could play in water. 

Parking is usually full here, so arrive either before 10 am or after 6pm. We hiked this trail in the evening around 5 pm and parking was available.

From there, we left Bryce canyon and drove through the highway 12 to reach Escalante National monument. More details on Escalante in the next post.


Here are some good food options near Bryce Canyon national park:

  • Cowboy Ranch House Bar & Restaurant, 13500 E, UT-12, Bryce, UT 84764
  • Ebenezer's barn and grill
  • stone hearth grille - fine dining with great views
  • Sweet water kitchen - scenic drive to it, more veg options
There is also a subway restaurant near the main entrance of the park.

So, that's about one of the most beautiful national parks in USA. See you in next travelogue.

Until next time,

25 July, 2023

6 Safe Internet Practices to follow #BlogChatterBlogHop

 It's always amazing that everything is in our finger tips due to internet. We use internet for many things - like check reviews online before watching a movie, order food, quickly check the status of our loved ones , search for an old friend, read blogs and watch videos before traveling blah.. blah.. 

Internet has become an important part of our lives. Sharing our wifi password to the guests at home is like an age old tradition of offering water to guests .. lol.

But, only one question remains in our heads. How safe is internet? How to prevent malicious security attacks, hacking and many other problems that we face being online. 

How to protect our data and how to ensure privacy? This is a large topic but here are some practices I follow to be safe on this world wide web.

6 Safe Internet Practices that I follow :

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Ad blocker and popup blockers:

I always use popup blockers on my browser. Whenever some new website shows a popup to allow Notifications, I always click Deny. We have many ad blocker softwares available which are powerful and I feel, they are very helpful.

Photo sharing securely on social media:

I hope, you all are utilizing the feature of sharing personal photos on social media to specific people and not to public. This feature is available in all social media sites including the popular facebook and instagram. 

Please don't share children's photos publicly. To share photos to a group of people or family, Google drive and One Drive is better. It is very easy to upload photos to social media and share in a click, but we don't want anyone to misuse our photos or our children's photos, right?

Location Settings OFF:

I always set my location settings off while browsing. Google tracks our travel history when we search with google maps and drive to specific location. You can specifically turn location settings off on google and Facebook. 

Image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay

Anti virus software:

A good anti virus software and regular scans for vulnerabilities are a must for safe browsing. This investment is never a waste for a personal laptop. 

VPN (Virtual Private Network):

I use VPN only for work, but this is good option if you want to keep your data safe. Don't trust public wifi for important work dealing with sensitive data. 

Restrict downloading of apps:

I would never download an app if I don't think it's useful. Even If I have to download, I use it for sometime and uninstall it when I don't use. 

Many apps collect personal information and are not secure. I heard, TEMU is such an app which isn't secure but provides cheap items. 

Image by Thomas Ulrich from Pixabay

Bonus tips:

  • Always check that website url has https: to differentiate between secured websites over not safe ones.

  • Try not to signup on websites if you don't trust them. The problem is not only about revealing your name and email id, but also because your inbox will be spammed with multiple emails.

  • Don't signup to websites with facebook or with google. It's better to create an account, and delete that account when you don't use those websites. I don't like when I have to give permission for that website to post or view my information on facebook / instagram when I signup.

  • Try not to share personal information online. 

Image by Bruno from Pixabay

What other practices you use to be safe during browsing? Please do let me know in comments.

Until next time,

This post is a part of Blogchatter Blog Hop and link it to www.theblogchatter.com

19 July, 2023

Best books read so far in 2023 #TBRChallenge

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

Book Reading Goals:

Last year didn't go as planned with respect to the books. I could read 20 books and my goal was 30. Moving to a new place, new house, settling in, India trip twice - many reasons for not reaching the goal. So, I have set very easy goal this year - 20 books. And I finished reading 17 books already! I haven't expected that :-)

How do I get time to read with a full time job, dance school and managing family?

No, I don't get time. I squeeze in time in between tasks.

1. Driving on car for groceries/ kids pickup? - I listen to Audio books. Try Audible plus free trial if you want to experiment. 

2. Have to run mixer to make dosa batter - Kindle / Audible

3. Waiting for something to cook - Kindle / Audible / podcasts

4. Daily 15 mins before I sleep - Kindle / Print copy of book

5. 15 mins before Afternoon nap / relaxation on weekends - Kindle / Print copy

6. Got bored while working on laptop - Kindle cloud reader

I am ready to share the 5 best books that I read so far in 2023.

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Here is the list of my recommendations:

1. The Night she disappeared by Lisa Jewell


On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.

One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE.”

Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?

With her signature “rich, dark, and intricately twisted” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Lisa Jewell has crafted a dazzling work of suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page.

My Review:

Loved this. A perfect thriller I would say. Till the last few pages, it's impossible for us to predict the storyline.

The story narrated by different people makes it still enjoyable. How the stories of 2 different people intersect at one point is interesting - Tellulah, a teenage girl who disappears, and Sophie, the girl friend of the new school headteacher. There are many other exciting characters with mystery around them.

I would recommend this to all thriller book lovers.

If you love listening to audio books -

Try Kindle Unlimited to access millions of books. 

2. The Maid by Nita Prose


Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

My Review:

The story seems simple and straightforward at first. An innocent and honest maid is setup as a murderer and a few friends helping her to come out of that situation.

This story says one thing loud - our kindness and honesty always help in someway.

The twist at the end is mind blowing. The characters are well etched and feel real.

Loved the book like many blogger friends who referred it.
It felt little boring in the middle but everything makes sense at the end. The title and book cover are apt.

3. The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis


Eight months since losing her mother in the Spanish flu outbreak of 1919, 21-year-old Lillian Carter's life has completely fallen apart. For the past six years, under the moniker Angelica, Lillian was one of the most sought-after artists' models in New York City, with statues based on her figure gracing landmarks from the Plaza Hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge. But with her mother gone, a grieving Lillian is rudderless and desperate - the work has dried up and a looming scandal has left her entirely without a safe haven. So when she stumbles upon an employment opportunity at the Frick mansion - a building that, ironically, bears her own visage - Lillian jumps at the chance. But the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the daughter and heiress of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family - pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death.

Nearly 50 years later, mod English model Veronica Weber has her own chance to make her career - and with it, earn the money she needs to support her family back home - within the walls of the former Frick residence, now converted into one of New York City's most impressive museums. But when she - along with a charming intern/budding art curator named Joshua - is dismissed from the Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick Collection, she chances upon a series of hidden messages in the museum: messages that will lead her and Joshua on a hunt that could not only solve Veronica's financial woes, but could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family.

My Review:

Loved the story. From author's note, I see that the story is not complete fiction. All the art references and Frick family collection are real. The characters make this story wonderful. 
It's interesting to see how Fricks family navigates through tough times and how each family member responds to the grief. 

Lillian obviously is one amazing character. She adjusts to the roles and adapts quickly. She always does what's right. It's good that it ends well for her. 

The book cover and title are apt.

I hated Helen's character at many points but she does good for all at the end. I would love to know about RJD and why he has to turn against Lillian.

4. Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons by James Lovegrove


1894. The monstrous Hound of the Baskervilles has been dead for five years, along with its no less monstrous owner, the naturalist Jack Stapleton. Sir Henry Baskerville is living contentedly at Baskerville Hall with his new wife Audrey and their three-year-old son Harry.

Until, that is, Audrey's lifeless body is found on the moors, drained of blood. It would appear some fiendish creature is once more at large on Dartmoor and has, like its predecessor, targeted the unfortunate Baskerville family.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are summoned to Sir Henry's aid, and our heroes must face a marauding beast that is the very stuff of nightmares. It seems that Stapleton may not have perished in the Great Grimpen Mire after all, as Holmes believed, and is hell-bent on revenge...

My Review:

This reminded me of Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle

It's lovely to read the continuation of one of the best novels in the history- The hound of Baskerville. I am a huge fan of original Sherlock Holmes series by Conan Doyle. I thought I will never like reading about Holmes and Watson written by some other author. 

This book proved it wrong. The narrative is similar to the original.  The suspense is maintained. Overall, enjoyed reading it!

5. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi


Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist - and confidante - to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own....

Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow - a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

My Review:

Absolutely beautiful and well written!

I understand why this book is recommended by many book lovers. I loved the story and especially the characters in the book. The talented and an independent woman with self respect - Mrs. Shasthri is commendable. Mrs. Shastri's mother in law is a great women learning about the herbs and helping other women. Radha's character surprises me even some negative traits.

The author portrayed every character in a realistic way. The characters of Malik, Samir, Lala... every small and big character is interesting to know about. While I feel characterization is the best in the book, writing style is relatable and involving the reader. I would highly recommend this book to all readers.

So, that's my book round up so far in 2023. Have you read any of these? Do you like them? Any other book recommendations for me? Please let me know in comments.

Until next time,

16 July, 2023

Best Family friendly trails in Zion - Day #2 itinerary

 Read Day 1 itinerary of Zion National Park trip below:

Zion National Park adventure for families - Day #1 Itinerary

On Day #1, we reached Hurricane from Las Vegas, hiked the Canyon Overlook trail, drove the Mt.Carmel Zion Scenic drive on east side of the park, entered the park through Zion Canyon Visitor center, took the shuttle to Weeping rock, headed back to Springdale for dinner before returning to our hotel in Hurricane.

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Today is an exciting day for us as we are planning to hike the Riverside walk trail which is the gateway to the famous 'Narrows'. Unfortunately, the Narrows is closed due to high water level. So, we had to adjust with riverside walk trail.

Riverside walk Trail:

Riverside walk trail is the last stop of the Zion scenic drive through shuttle. It's the The temple of Sinawava stop. 

The trail is 2.2 miles round trip easy trail along the river. It is so refreshing to do this hike in the morning. The river was flowing full and there are multiple access points to dip our feet in the river and relax. 

Gushing water

The Virgin River

Natural Rock Formation in Riverside walk trail
 with hanging gardens

The Starting point to Narrows

We could also see hanging gardens on the way. Many small plants are thriving on the rock with the seeping water from above. This trail took us around 2 hrs.

After the trail, we had lunch at Zion lodge. It was early june, but the wait was too long and they were short staffed. We had to waste more than 2 hrs for waiting and having lunch. But, lunch was tasty though with a great view.

The Narrows via Riverside walk:

This is a strenuous hike up to 9.4 miles. Most of the trail is wading under water, walking and swimming. Please check for flash floods before entering the trailhead. Water boots and walking sticks are necessary for this hike. Good point about this hike is you can go as far as you can and return. Completing this part with little kids might not be possible. 

Unfortunately, this trail is closed when we went. 

Emerald Pools Trail:

Emerald pools trail starts at stop 5 on the scenic drive at Zion lodge. Lower Emerald pools trail is 1.2 mile round trip easy trail. Upper emerald pools is 1 mile round trip moderate hike.

Lower Emerald pools trail was on our list but we couldn't do it due to the bridge closure. Please don't skip it when you go, as it's a good family friendly hike. 

 Other easy and important trails are Pa'rus trail (3.5 mile round trip), Watchman trail (3.3 miles round trip) and the Grotto trail (1 mile round trip). 

Angel's Landing:

We didn't do this challenging and the most popular trail. This needs a permit and please check your capability before attempting this trail. 

You can check here for hiking permits. The hike is 5.4 miles roundtrip with an elevation of 1488 ft. The trailhead is at Stop #6 Grotto. This trail can be accessed via west rim trail.

This is not a family friendly trail and it is only for people with good fitness levels.

Court of Patriarchs Trail:

This 0.3 mile hike is not a real trail, just the incline to reach a view point of 3 peaks - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob peaks.

Court of Patriarchs View point

Please read about the other trails here

Kolob Canyons:

In the evening, we drove to Kolob canyons. Kolob canyon area is 40 miles north of the Zion national park and is remote. 

Kolob Canyon scenic drive:

From Kolob canyon visitor center, we can drive 5 miles to reach the Kolob view point. This road takes us to an elevation of 1000ft. It was partially open when we went. The views here are beautiful. This part of the park is a great place if you want to enjoy the scenery with less crowds.

Kolob terrace road is another scenic drive to Lava point reaching 8000 ft from sea level. This needs a high clearance vehicle and it is the least travelled road. 

Kolob Canyon Scenic drive

Kolob Canyon Scenic drive

In this area, we can find the longest natural arch in the world - Kolob Arch. It is a strenuous 14 mile hike to reach this arch.

Zion to Bryce scenic drive:

In the evening around 6pm, we started our drive to Bryce Canyon national park. On the way, we saw an unique rock with checked patterns called 'Checkerboard mesa'.

Kids loved taking photos and trying to climb the steep rock with checked patterns. A fun little stop that you shouldn't miss.

Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive

Checkerboard Mesa

Zion to Bryce scenic drive is so beautiful that we wanted to stop and explore more places around. Red hollow slot canyons and Orderville slot canyons are worth a mention if you have time. 

There are 2 more fun little but unique stops from Mount Carmel Junction. 

Originally constructed as water drainage,  Belly of dragon is a fun spot. No hike is required. We missed this.

Sand caves on highway 89 are around 11 miles from Mount Carmel Junction. But, to reach there, it's a challenging hike of 0.5 mile round trip. 

Just before reaching Bryce canyon, you will be welcomed by the red rock tunnel which is beautiful. You can see a sign 'Red canyon'. This looked like a beautiful place, we might visit some day. 

Scenic Drive near Red Canyon

In the next post, I will share the details about our Bryce canyon itinerary and hikes. 

You can follow me on social media meanwhile:

Until next time,

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