Utah’s gorgeous scenery attracts people from all over the world.
If you’re coming from a place that has a high altitude, you’re probably already acclimated to its conditions and effects. But if you’re one of the many who comes from lower altitudes and areas near sea level, you may want to know a bit about how altitude affects your body and maybe why you’re not feeling so good.
What’s happening to me?
Altitude affects air pressure. The pressure of the air that surrounds you is called barometric pressure. When you go to higher altitudes, this pressure drops and there is less oxygen available. In general, around 7,000 feet above sea level, the amount of saturation of oxygen begins to decline rapidly. Depending on where you are in Southern Utah, the altitude can range from lows in Saint George at 2,800 feet above sea level, to Cedar Breaks National Monument in Bryce Canyon at 10,000 feet above sea level! Our own Western Star Vacation Rental in Kanab sits near 5,000 feet.
So what does this mean? Well, going from a low altitude to a high altitude can have some negative effects on your body. Altitude sickness symptoms can include
dizziness or light-headedness
loss of appetite
nausea or vomiting
rapid pulse (heart rate)
shortness of breath with exertion
Altitude sickness can affect you whether you’re skiing in Park City, hiking at the Grand Canyon, or lounging in Cedar City.
What can be done?
Well for mild or medium altitude sickness, some medications include, Acetazolamide (Diamox), Altitude RX, and good old acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for headaches. If medication isn’t readily available then some general tips would have him or her rest, give plenty of liquids and avoid alcohol or sleeping medication.
If you start to have serious trouble you should not try going higher for at least 24 hours. If your health doesn’t improve or worsens during that time, you should descend immediately! I have only seen some of these symptoms in a couple of guests, but it just helps to be aware if you are susceptible to these things.
Please be safe and attentive during your exploration of Utah. A quick search of any area can give you insight to the terrain and altitude you may be dealing with.
Southern Utah is just one big outdoor playground! Even in winter, it is just so beautiful you simply can’t resist getting outside.
For more years now than we can even remember, a group of my girlfriends and I head to Bryce Canyon for our annual “Cross Country Ski Trip”. I put “Cross Country Ski Trip” in quotes because some years there is just no snow and it becomes a hiking trip instead. But this year – No hiking! Just glorious, beautiful snow and sunshine. Just the way we like it.
Ruby’s Inn at the very entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park has been catering to visitors needs since 1916, twelve years before Bryce even became a National Park! And so it continues. You can rent everything you need for a day of Cross County Skiing or Snow Shoeing right at Ruby’s Inn. They even have an Ice Skating Rink.
The trails are not groomed very far into the Park, but you can ski right to the edge of the Fairyland Trail rim. There are miles of groomed trails behind Ruby’s Inn and across the street where you can go to the very edge on or off trail.
So rent or bring your own, just come! There is just absolutely nothing like Bryce Canyon National Park in snow.
The number one question visitors ask is “Where should we eat?” Once they let me know what they are looking for, and that is “Just good home-cookin’ ” then my number one answer is Houston’s Trails End Resturant,
Houston’s is a Kanab staple. Plain and simple.
A Great family restaurant with reasonable prices, and on a good night, the waitresses all have their holsters and sixshooters on. This is the West after all and Houston’s has been serving up Western style for more than 40 years!
In 1945 Merle “Peaches” and Donna Beard opened the Trail’s End Restaurant. Thirty years later, in 1975, The Houston family took over the reins. A lot has happened here in the West since then, but one thing that has stayed the same is the high-quality food and service that you can find at the Trails End Restaurant. The next generation of Houston’s now run the business. But today, just like in the past, Grandpa Bob still makes 10 gallons of his country gravy and DayLean bakes her rolls daily. (There should have been a photo of TWO of those big fat fluffy rolls in the opening photo – but they come out warm…… John was not about to wait for it to cool down!)
In 1978 the Houston Family expanded into the mobile catering business and since that time has worked for the Federal Government feeding firefighters at remote sites all over the West. In 1999 Houston’s Catering, Inc. was awarded the “Small Business Contractor” of the year award by the Department of Agriculture. This was no small task for a company from the small town of Kanab, Utah. The catering company continues in operation today and you may very well see their rigs running up and down the roads of the West.
Can’t decide what to order? Then just go for the local favorite and get the Chicken-fried Steak. We have never been disappointed.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Serving lunch from 11-5 and dinner from 5-9, then Friday-Saturday 7 a.m.-9:00 p.m. serving breakfast from 7-11:30, lunch 11:30-5, and dinner 5-9.
32 E. CENTER ST.
KANAB, UT 84741
RESTAURANT / TAKE-OUT ORDERS
Here is a link to a past menu – But pretty much the same:
Anyone who has been to Kanab in southern Utah can tell you this is a special place. But there is a special place within this special place I want to tell you about.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
This is the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the country. They have other locations throughout the USA in New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Houston, and Atlanta, but Kanab is their headquarters. Not only is it huge, over 3,700 acres and they have over 1500 animals to care for each day, but, they can change your life as well. Volunteering at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a bucket list item for many of our guests.
Everyday folks from all over the country (and the world) volunteer at Best Friends. And you can too. There are two shifts every day of the year, shift times are 8:15-11:30 a.m. and 1:15-4:00 p.m. You need to sign up early though as each animal area has a maximum number of volunteers it can accommodate during each shift.
The website for Best Friends https://bestfriends.org is super streamlined and very easy to navigate. You can set up your own volunteer schedule there. That gives you the flexibility to volunteer at the sanctuary and still have time to visit our beautiful National Parks.
During the high Spring Break, summer season and holidays it gets super busy. So signing up as early as possible is important. Some slots book out months in advance. But if you are just passing through for a couple of days, don’t despair even if the shifts are all full, you can contact the Volunteer Center and ask about other opportunities such as helping out in their gift shop or Angels Rest and other special service projects like landscaping and maintenance.
What Will I Find There?
Two shifts every day in seven different animal areas; Cat World, Bunny House, Parrot Garden, Dogtown, Piggy Paradise, Horse Haven, and Wild Friends. Opportunities in each of these categories are limited so it is highly recommended that you sign up and schedule your shifts as far in advance as possible!
A nice bonus is the two places to eat at the sanctuary. The Canyon Grill it is open during the summer months but their $5 vegetarian buffet it is served year-round daily from 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
When you arrive at the sanctuary you will have a 10-minute check-in at their Welcome Center. You will be provided with a name badge, your schedule and anything else you need to know to make your volunteer time the best that it can be!
What To Wear
They do ask that all volunteers wear closed toed shoes, even slip-on clog type shoes must have a heel strap. You could be climbing a ladder or walking animals and they are concerned about everyone’s safety. They also strongly recommend long pants when working with the horses or pigs (but please, not the same ones you have worn around horses and sheep at home).
Shall I Bring My Own Pet?
Many of our favorite guests at My Star Vacation Rentals are Best Friend volunteers! Of course, these animal lovers all have their own pets at home.
As our home is pet-friendly many want to bring their own pet with them to Kanab.
Just a couple of things to be aware of though, your own pets are not allowed in any of the animal areas at the sanctuary. Pets are also not allowed in the National Parks. Both are a couple of good reasons to consider leaving your own pet at home.
But probably the best reason to leave your own pet relaxing at home is that some of the dogs, cats, and bunnies at the sanctuary are approved to go home with the volunteers for an overnight visit! If you have volunteered at least one shift in that specific animal area you can bring a pet home for the night. How fun is that? We have hosted many sleepover pets at The Western Star and hear nothing but amazing responses from our guests about that great experience.
Can I Bring My Kids?
While you may not want to bring your own pet to Best Friends you will definitely want to bring your kids that are six years old and over! They must be accompanied by an adult but one adult can supervise up to three minors. For safety considerations, each animal area has its own minimum age requirements:
Cat World = 6+
Bunny House = 6+
Parrot Garden = 8+
Dogtown = 10+
Piggy Paradise = 12+
Horse Haven = 12+
Wild Friends = 18+
Please keep in mind that these age restrictions apply to sleepovers as well. So for instance, You cannot come and volunteer with the doggies and the take home a sleepover if your kids are less than 10 yrs old, but they could get a cat or a bunny.
I have a couple of friends come with their daughters and love sharing that experience. One comes every year as a special mom and daughter project. One came with her daughter and even adopted a bird to take home!
This is Christian, we call her “The Bird Whisperer”. She puts doll clothes on her chickens and she LOVES her bird they brought home from Best Friends.
I talked with several employees in prepping for this post and they did stress that this is a working sanctuary, not a Petting Zoo for tiny kids!
Want To Sign Up A Group?
You bet, Best Friends has unique programs for 5 to 12 people looking for an integrative service learning experience. Come for 2 to 5 days and leave with unparalleled memories for your group.
Take A Tour
So what if you don’t have time this trip to be a volunteer– just be sure and take the free Sanctuary Tour! To schedule a tour, please call the Welcome Center staff at 435-644-2001, ext. 4537. Or click HERE
Tours are offered every day at 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. They are two hours long, and you will be amazed at what you get to see and the scope of the sanctuary. You will get to go inside a couple of buildings and drive through many other areas of the property. But again, the tours fill up, so please sign up early!
Again, Their extensive website is https://bestfriends.org
You can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call at 435-644-2001
They are open every day at 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mountain Time.
I love being a vacation rental owner and host, I really do!
I love meeting guests and helping them discover little gems in our beautiful area.
I love hearing about their adventures at the end of the day.
I love feeling like friends at the end of their stay.
And I love helping a friend out and saving them some hard-earned vacation money.
At the end of the day, a host makes about the same amount whether the guest books direct or thru a third party travel website. It is the guest who comes out on the shorter end of the deal.
dang, That’s not what friends are for. Next time – Book Direct!
Balloons and Tunes is on it’s way, Hooray! Kanabs annual Hot Air Balloon Festival and Battle of the Bands is coming Feb 15 and 16, 2019. Kanab, Utah. This is becoming one of my favorite events of the entire year.
Who doesn’t love beautiful Hot Air Balloons rising against Red Rock cliffs and bright blue skies? (see my former post on Balloons and Tunes) But Saturday night is when this Festival really shines!
Food, music and Balloons. The Police Shut down the main highway thru town for about 5 blocks. The Balloonist line their baskets down the center of the street. Weather permitting, they inflate their balloons but stay on the ground. Weather not permitting, they don’t inflate balloons but still flare the gas burners. Oh glory! It is so cool! Heat, light, huge balloons, the roar of the burners. Ya just gotta feel it.
The winning band from the last two days of “Battling it out” gets to play in the big tent on Main Street for a couple of hours while we enjoy the food and booths.
And then it gets a little better… Wishing lanterns. For every child who saw Disney’s Tangled and didn’t think all the floating lanterns were real.. THEY ARE!
Here is my sister launching her wishing lantern with hundreds of others. It is so beautiful. I wish you all get to come this year! You are gonna love it.
Spring is Coming….. in a while. But now is the time to prepare – for Ragnar! Gather up your trail running team, get registered and get training! The race takes place May 10-11th, just outside of Zion National Park, South Western Utah.
While John and I are not racers, we did go up to Ragnar last year and volunteer at the arrival and unloading zone. Wow, what a lot of folks and what a lot of ENERGY! And what a beautiful setting for a trail race. Zion Ponderosa is just a few miles outside of the East gate of Zion National Park. You just cant beat this setting. The stars are going to be amazing on the night portion of this run.
The popularity of trail running has been growing rapidly in our area the last couple of years.
– June bring on the extremely tough “Top of Zion Relay”.
– September is 7 days of “Grand 2 Grand Ultra Marathon”, an outstanding event with folks from all over the world.
– Grand Circle Trailfest in Oct. is a huge 3 day event that pretty well fills up the town of Kanab.
High desert mesa trails, billions of stars, unforgettable long weekend
“Ragnar Trail Zion-UT presented by Salomon is the trail relay that inspired the entire series, and it’s back for year seven! Grab your most adventurous friends (or anyone ready for an unforgettable, nature-fueled experience) and join us May 10-11, 2019 to run relay style over two days and one star-filled night!
Your team will set up camp at Zion Ponderosa Ranch, a hidden gem just outside of Zion National Park. This venue features amenities such as a pool, hot tubs, showers, a rock climbing wall and restrooms. This year, Ragnar Trail Zion is a full blown 3-day weekend adventure in the desert. Runners (friends, co-workers, kids) are welcome to start their Ragnar Trail experience one full day earlier on Thursday for s’mores, campfires, a stargazing activity and a live band!
On Friday, the real fun begins as teams of 8 (or 4) cycle through a series of three challenging trail loops that start and finish back at Ragnar Village. You’ll run through sweet summer sage, under towering ancient pines and across red dirt trails that take you up (and up!) to some expansive overlooks including Dixie National Forest, Cedar Breaks, and Zion National Park’s famous “Checkerboard Mesa.”
When the sun sets and the moon comes out the party keeps going as runners head to the trails in the dark for a spirit-quest, soul-searching, star-fueled night of running is where the real memories are made.
The race wraps up Saturday where you can finish together under the Ragnar arch and celebrate with the best medal ever. Mark your running calendar for May 10-11, and don’t miss the experience that just might change you.”
WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH OUR NATIONAL PARKS IN SOUTHERN UTAH??
A huge question for our guests in Kanab right now. So this week in my “Know Before You Go” post, I have tried to track down the most up to date info possible.
The National Government shutdown has affected a lot of people in many areas. But the Parks are our “nearest and dearest” here in Southern Utah. You can still enjoy our amazing natural wonders, just bring some extra respect and patience (and your own trash bags) with you this month.
We have all seen the photos and stories – Trash and human waste are piling up in some national parks that lack employees in visitor centers, rangers on roads, and custodial workers to clean bathrooms and empty garbage cans during the partial federal government shutdown. But NOT IN UTAH! Rangers are being paid with state and private money and are safeguarding park roads and resources in Arches, Zion, and Bryce Canyon national parks. Hoo-Ray!
I have heard the visitors who have been to Zion have, for the most part, been very careful to do their part by packing out their trash, and some have paid their entrance fees in the form of a donation.
Zion National Park The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is open through January 30, 2019 along with one loop of Watchman Campground, the park store and restrooms at the visitor center.
The shuttle service will be discontinued, but cars can travel the shuttle route. Please be aware that the park staffing will be minimal and visitors need to be careful and take responsibility for their own safety.
The Utah Office of Tourism has agreed to spend another $4,275 to keep Zion National Park open through Wednesday Jan 16th. After that, they expect private funding to continue so the park can remain open through the end of January.
Bryce Canyon National Park The park is open with most areas and services available. The main park road and the road to Bryce Point and Inspiration Point are closed to vehicles at the Bryce Junction. The Sunset and Sunrise viewpoints and all the roads below Sunset are open and will be plowed in the event of snow.
Bryce Canyon National Park will remain open for at least the next 10 days (up to Jan 24) due to funding from the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association, though the state might step in with “nominal” contributions to extend that through January, according to the budget office.
Visitors centers are open through:
Arches: January 30
Bryce Canyon: January 30
Canyonlands (Island in the Sky District): January 30
Zion: January 30
After these dates, should the shutdown continue, the parks will still be accessible, though the visitor centers will be closed. All other federal welcome centers are closed.
The Utah Department of Transportation plowed snow-covered roads in Arches and Canyonlands national parks last week. The Canyonlands Natural History Foundation has committed to cover the costs for visitor services in both parks for 30 days.
“We want to make sure people can plan out weeks in advance. We know what we can do for the next six weeks, two months if this continues,” said Kristen Cox, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. She told reporters – “If we can’t sustain it after a few months, then we’ll have alternative plans for people to visit state parks.”