The fourth part of Iris’ Grand Adventure brought us to the beautiful state of Utah. See previous installments of our story:

Part IV of Iris’ Grand Adventure: We took our time driving through Colorado, stopping along the way to stretch our legs and hike as we drove through the mountains.  We made it to Utah right around dinnertime.

The weather couldn’t seem to decide if it wanted to be sunshine or rain showers, which made for an incredible sky.

dog standing in front of Utah landscape at sunset

After dinner, we made our most important stop of the day – ice cream!  It was Iris’ 13th Birthday, and eating ice cream in Utah after an afternoon of hiking in Colorado seemed like the perfect way to celebrate.  Iris was pretty impressed with her ice cream treat.  I know 13 is supposed to be unlucky, but I felt like the luckiest person alive to be celebrating this day with my girl.  She is the best little red dog, my constant companion, my crazy girl.

Iris licking vanilla ice cream off a spoon

Next we drove into Indian Creek Recreation Area, which is adjacent to Canyonlands National Park but much more dog-friendly.  Although many of the national parks are limited in where they’ll allow dogs, there is usually public land next to or nearby where dogs are free to hike and play.  It was getting close to sunset when we arrived, but we there was just enough light for our first walk through Utah’s colorful landscape.

Iris standing in front of Utah's mesas

dog sitting in front of mesas in Utah

The next day we were up with the sun and ready to hike.  Being outside of the national park meant that we had the trails almost entirely to ourselves, and the landscape was just as beautiful.  You might notice that Iris’ belly is still shaved from her surgery in these photos.  Nothing slows her down!

Iris standing in a dirt trail looking at the camera

Iris looking out from the top of the trail

dog standing at the top of a hill looking out over Utah landscape

We might not have seen many other hikers on the trail, but we did see a small herd of horses.  The area was open range (mostly for cattle). This beautiful horse was very friendly and not at all intimidated by my barking Aussie dog.

horse standing in a field in front of mountains

After a day of hiking, we drove back into town to get gas.  As we were returning to camp, the sun appeared through the clouds creating a rainbow above the landscape.  Initially, I was disappointed that we needed to take time to get gas, but if we hadn’t gone out, we would have missed this moment.  The best way to see amazing things is to be out in the world when they happen.

dog standing under a rainbow

Next, we drove out to Needles Overlook to watch the sunset and found this spectacular view.  Iris was absolutely fascinated by how far we could see.  She loves to supervise and from here, she could supervise the whole world.  Watching her look out over the world was my favorite moment on our journey.  She could have stayed there forever just watching the world, and I would have been perfectly content just watching her be happy.

Iris looking out over the canyons at sunset

After a few days in Utah, we were ready to see an even bigger canyon – Arizona’s Grand Canyon.  To continue following our road trip adventure, go to Part V of Iris’ Grand Adventure.

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