10 on 10 | The Secret Season

Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

Every year we escape on a family vacation during our school Fall Break.  I have come to think of this as the Secret Season – a magical combination of quiet and uncrowded destinations with perfectly unpredictable fall weather and colors.  Previous trips have taken us to Disneyland, Yosemite and Patagonia.  This year we headed to Utah to explore 3 of the 5 stunning national parks located in this beautiful state.Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

Our first stop was at the Utah Olympic Park outside of Salt Lake City where we were treated to an afternoon with Olympic ski jumper Lindsay Van.  If you ever want an inspiring story to encourage your kids to follow their dreams, check out Ready to Fly, a documentary chronicling the story of Lindsay and her team’s fight to get the women’s ski jumping team admitted into the Olympic games.Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.comThat evening we nestled into Robert Redford’s rustic and cozy Sundance Resort.  On our hike to Stewart Falls the following morning we did not see a single soul and had the waterfall all to our ourselves…Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

I love a good general store and Sundance did not disappoint…Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

And then we were off to our main destination, Moab!Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

The beautiful Red Cliffs Lodge was our home base for the next 4 nights and from there we took advantage of all of the incredible adventures Moab has to offer.  We hiked, biked, went off-roading and hiked some more!  The Devil’s Garden hike in Arches National Park, mountain biking in Dead Horse Point State Park and the Hell’s Revenge Hummer tour were highlights for the whole family.Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

Our final stop was in Torrey, home to Capitol Reef National Park and some cottonwoods still hanging on for us…Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

There was more amazing hiking, ATV-ing, and kids creating animal shadows to be had here…Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

Our home for the night was the charming 15-room Lodge at River Ranch and would you believe we had the entire place to ourselves?Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

Playing Clue by the roaring fire with the house cat, Bobby, snuggled on my lap is a memory I will not soon forget (and it was Mrs. White, with the revolver, in the kitchen).  We tried to enjoy every nook and cranny of the lodge before heading home for some trick-or treating.  It seemed fitting that my final shot of the trip was my daughter absorbed in a travel magazine reminding us to Play Now – I couldn’t agree more.Utah | Arches, Canyonlands & Capitol Reef | www.suzanneobrienstudio.com

I way exceeded my 10 shots for this month, but wanted to do my part to advertise these incredible national treasures. Be sure to head over to Trine’s site to see what fall looks like in Norway!

  • November 10, 2015 - 4:00 pm

    Kristina Rust - Oh my goodness, these photos are beautiful. I’ve never been to these parks and totally want to go after seeing your images. Love the photo of the kids waving up to you. What a cool shot! And that lodge…oh my….how wonderful. And you had it all to yourself. How lucky! What a great trip!ReplyCancel

  • November 10, 2015 - 6:24 pm

    Luciane Steiner - Suzanne, the very first picture looks like the cover of a travel magazine, love it! All the others are amazing too! Looks like you and your family had a great time together, outdoors and enjoying the lodge!ReplyCancel

  • November 12, 2015 - 10:38 am

    Trini - Amazing Grace – I can´t get the song out of my mind after having stared at your images for a while. Such an amazing place. Your pictures are beautiful and I hope someone will pay you money to shoot travel pictures and create ads for your national parks – way to go girl 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 15, 2015 - 12:31 am

    Connie Hanks - You did a beautiful job advertising these places brilliantly! I soooooo want to go to each and every location! I love every shot, but your UTAH family travels shot is beyond words! Album cover, book cover, poster – all come to mind with your images! Amazing! Thanks for sharing 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 15, 2015 - 6:24 am

    Stacey Griffin - So beautiful! I am feeling the need to go to Utah now!ReplyCancel