This past weekend, Albert and I celebrated the changing of the seasons with one last trek to Southern Utah to enjoy the relative warmth and desert scenery before winter seriously sets in. The main 'excuse' for heading south was that in a fit of enthusiasm after completing the Legacy Bike Tour in September, I decided that my arm would be healed enough to hop into a late-season triathlon and see if I still remembered how. The race was the Powell3 Triathlon, a small second-year event which I also did last year. The setting is absolutely stunning and, with the exception of having practically invisible swim buoys, the race is well organized and stress-free. Two laps on the swim, 2 laps for the bike with a steady challenging uphill then a swooping downhill, followed by an out-and-back run. I surprised myself by not only winning the event, but posting a time that was almost 5 minutes faster than last year! I'm beginning to think training is over-rated. :) Needless to say, it certainly felt great to get back to competing and to end the season on a positive note.
We decided after the race to head a bit further north to camp and hike near Bryce Canyon. Ever since Sherman joined our family, we've had to look a little further off the beaten path to find places where dogs are allowed. Bryce Canyon = National Park = no dogs allowed. So we settled on Red Canyon instead, a little to the east of Bryce but with the same kind of red and gold "hoodoo" rock formations. There's a visitor center, a gorgeous little campground nestled among the red rocks and pine trees, and a trailhead to an extensive trail system all within 1 mile of each other. We tucked in for a cozy night of camping, then in the morning packed up and headed off for a 3 hour hike on the various loops in Red Canyon. Gorgeous! I've posted several pictures from the hike below---I tried to cut it down to just a few but there were just too many good ones! All in all, it was a great trip and a good way to hail in the coming of winter.