We ended up scratching our original plans for the weekend (Hatch Chili Festival in New Mexico) and decided on a last-minute, closer-by trip to Brian Head, Utah. Brian Head is a small ski-resort town about 145 miles from us with a plethora of ski condos at reasonable summer prices. (http://www.brianhead.com/) We started on out on Saturday morning and stopped at Navajo Lake for a picnic lunch, then a few miles away we pulled into Cedar Breaks National Monument for a 1-2 mile hike to Alpine Lake, and finally we arrived into Brian Head in the mid-afternoon. We checked into our condo and then went back to the ski hill to watch a mountain biking competition, complete with a live band and beer. Jacob said "I want to do that when I grow up." There is a cute picture of him just watching the activities. On Sunday, we set out for a scenic drive to the Parowan Gap Petroglyph State Park, then went to Zion National Park - Kolob Canyon entrance. We hiked another 1-2 mile scenic trail there, headed back to Cedar City for a late lunch and finally we finished the loop back to Brian Head. Monday morning, we packed up to return home with one small detour to the Brian Head Summit - 11307 feet - which was windy, cold and cloudy. Southern Utah has some very scenic and diverse landscape. Brian spotted many fishing opportunities and he may be heading back next weekend.
P.S. Our Annual Park Pass expired on our trip - Sunday, August 31st. At lunch, we wrote down on a napkin with blue crayon the number of parks we visited over the year: Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, Zion NP-Kolob Canyon , Grand Canyon NP - South Rim, Grand Canyon NP- North Rim, Cedar Break NM, Mesa Verde NP, Bandalier NM, Wupatki NM, Sunset Crater NM, Tuzigoot NM, Montezuma Castle NM, Montezuma Well NM, Hubbell Trading Post NHS, and, of course, Glen Canyon NRA. (NP= National Park, NM = National Monument, NHS = National Historic Site, and NRA = National Recreation Area.) Not too bad. That's not including some of the BLM land we've set foot on as well. Let's see if we can top that for next year !