Thursday, September 11, 2014

Zion National Park

1a

What picture do you start with when you are talking about visiting Zion National Park?  We took well over 200 pictures…wore our battery down for the first time during a day trip because someone (that’s me) did not charge it up all the way….thank goodness it went out as we were climbing out of the valley towards the tunnel headed back home, and I did bring a charger and an inverter, so we did not have it for only 30 minutes or so.  Regardless, back to the initial question…I decided upon this one that Marcia took as we were driving to the valley along the switchbacks after coming through the tunnel.

1b   1c

It could easily have been one of these taken before we went through the tunnels. 

1d
1e     1f

Or we could have even used this guy who we saw walking across the road before the tunnels, and thank goodness there was a pullover in which I could take a number of pictures of him as he walked along this wash and then the side of the mesa.  I guess what I am trying to say is that many of the 200+ pictures could have been used as the opening of this blog, let alone in the blog.  The hard part now is trimming it down to just a few pictures to describe what Marcia thinks is one of the most beautiful places she has ever visited.

2a

We drove down highway 89 south from the Panguich area, and then turned west on highway 9 where we stopped at a Subway to grab some breakfast/lunch for later. (did the same thing yesterday at Bryce)  As we get closer to the park, I comment to Marcia that this drive so far looks like any other drive….and as you can see above, it does.

2b

As we get closer to the east entrance I say, “Things are starting to look a bit interesting now, wouldn’t you say?”  When you enter from the east, the landscape just changes right before your eyes with every mile you are on highway 9.
 
2c

Marcia is lost in the scenery, clicking and clicking away at every opportunity.  I chuckle….because I know what is coming after the tunnels.

2d     2e

She is mesmerized by the trees, by the strata in the rocks.

2f     2g
2h

We get through the first tunnel, and soon we are awaiting our turn to go through the mile long tunnel.

3a

She successfully gets a picture through one of the window holes in the tunnel…she didn’t even get a chance to look at it….

3b    3c
3d

And then there is silence as we start our way down the switchbacks….before we hit the bottom Marcia does not know what to say…speechless (for once).

4a

We get to the valley floor, and head over to the visitor’s center.  I get a special permit that will allow us to drive our car along the Zion Canyon Scenic Road instead of using the park shuttle.  HOW? you might ask???  You just have to know your ADA rules and regs, and read their website very closely.  I KNEW that we could drive it, but THEY try to make you ride their free shuttle.  I just looked the lady ranger right in the eye when she said, “The shuttle has a lift for the GoGo…” and I respond, “And does your shuttle have onboard toilets?  Because with MS, being able to get to a bathroom quickly is very important.”  “Oh, I guess I could give you a permit to drive down Zion Canyon Scenic Road….”, which is what I asked for initially.  Back at the car I catch this picture of the flag, on September 11th, at half staff….there are many flags in the park, and they are at half staff.  Along route 89 we passed through two towns which had many American Flags placed along the road.  I hope we will never forget….but history shows that one day in the future, 9/11 will lose its meaning.  However, I did have a young couple from probably Germany come up to me and ask about why the flag was at half staff.  All I said was, “Today is 9/11!”  He immediately understood the meaning of that statement….and then explained it to the young lady in their native language because she did not get it.

5a    5b
5c

We head down the Zion Canyon Scenic Road.  The only cars along the way that we see stop as we get to the lodge, which in the bottom picture above.  The road is ours, and the shuttles.

5d    5e

Marcia is still clicking away, with me taking a slight few out the left side of the car.  We can stop along the road because there is no traffic.  What a wonderful way to introduce Marcia to Zion.

5f

We come around a corner, and there is a deer, just standing there giving us the eye.

6a      6b
6c      6d

We get closer to the end of the road…Marcia jokingly says that her neck hurts….it probably does a little,but it does not stop her.

6e     6f

And we are finally at Temple of Sinawava, which is where the road ends…but the trail just begins.  We choose not to do the trail, I have done it before to the point where it goes right into the river.  The walls close in on you, and parts are only passable during very low flow of water.  I did it in November once…and did not enter the water because in November the water is very, very cold…as is the entire walk through the canyon.  We sit there and have our Subway lunch, and enjoy.

7a     7b
7c     7d

We reluctantly start the trek back to the motorhome.  Marcia says that she is having trouble describing all that she saw today.  I use the word Magnificent….she uses the word Awesome.  

7e     7f

We start climbing the switchbacks headed for the tunnel…

8a     8b

….we pull over to get these last shots…and the battery goes out.  We know we will be back some day, not only because of the beauty, but because there are other parts of Zion which we want to see in the future. The Kolob Terrace Road is a 20 mile drive each way from the city of Virgin at 3,500 feet to the Lava Point Overlook at 8,000 feet, or a few more miles to Kolob Reservoir at just over 8,000 feet.  There is also the Kolob Canyon Road, which is off I-15, a 5 mile drive through Kolob Canyon.  But for now….Marcia has had a taste of Zion National Park….and there is always “next year”.

2 comments:

  1. Another favorite park!! We spent an entire month in Zion. We hiked 27 of our 30 days. I loved that we could just stop anywhere on the east side and hike into the slickrock! So glad Marcia had a great first experience:) I'll be waiting for the Cedar Break photos:)

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    1. Yes, I remember following many of your hikes in your blog. I love taking her to a place where I know how wonderful it is and she does not have a clue....the look of astonishment on her face is just amazing to watch.

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