Friday, May 30, 2014

Zion National Park

(Panguitch, UT) Hi 78 Lo 45 – Today we drove one hour south to Mt. Carmel Junction to meet Cyndi for a day at Zion National Park. It’s our fourth National Park in Utah (along with one National Monument). Cyndi has been to Zion before and knew her way around, so we parked our car and joined her and let her do all the driving.

Zion is different from the other “canyon” parks in one significant way. Rather than driving along the top and looking down into the canyon, at Zion you drive along the bottom and look up at the rock formations, cliffs, and canyon walls. You’re actually “in” the canyon rather than just looking at it from the outside. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

IMG_7291 (1024x684)

IMG_7243 (1024x684)

IMG_7321 (1024x684)

IMG_7280 (1024x684)

IMG_7431 (1024x684)

IMG_7297 (1024x684)

IMG_7249 (1024x684)

We were intrigued by this area of mountains. They were smooth stone and looked like a great place to get a closer look.

IMG_7278 (1024x684)

So while Dee looked on (and took some photos), Cyndi and I took a hike up the side of one of the mountains.

IMG_7261 (1024x684)

IMG_7265 (1024x684)

Yeah, I’m king of the world!  Smile

IMG_7264 (1024x684)

It was actually kind of neat. The rock was very smooth, and the footing was great.
The main highway through the park has a mile-long tunnel. It’s a one way tunnel so the vehicles would line up at each end had to wait their turn to enter.

IMG_7443 (1024x684)

The best sights at Zion are seen from one of the shuttle buses that operate on a route that’s off limits to cars. We parked the car near one of the shuttle stops and jumped on a bus.

IMG_7347 (1024x684)

Our first stop was at the Zion Lodge for some lunch. We then rode out to the route to Angel’s Landing. From there we hiked a one-mile trail (and back) along the Virgin River into the canyons.

IMG_7354 (1024x684)

The scenery was just beautiful as the rock walls started closing in on us.

IMG_7352 (1024x684)

IMG_7353 (1024x684)

Along the way we saw some wildlife, including this snake along the side of the trail.

IMG_7355 (1024x684)

And a small deer, that wasn’t shy at all around people.

IMG_7372 (1024x684)

This little squirrel wasn’t shy either. He came right up to everyone, looking for a handout.

IMG_7414 (1024x684)

The trail meandered along the river, with occasional rapids and small waterfalls.

IMG_7357 (1024x684)

IMG_7395 (1024x684)

The rock walls got REALLY close in some spots.

IMG_7378 (1024x684)

IMG_7380 (1024x684)

At the end of the trail we came to a beach area, which was a great spot to cool off in the cold stream.

IMG_7393 (1024x684)

Cyndi wandered down to take some pictures.

IMG_7397 (1024x684)

Dee was content to sit up top and rest for the hike back. She’s the one in the green blouse and blue hat.

IMG_7402 (1024x684)

Cyndi also took a rest.
IMG_7407 (1024x684)

The view upstream from the trail was spectacular.

IMG_7405 (684x1024)

We hiked back to the highway and took the shuttle back to the lodge for a refreshment break, then returned to the car for the trip back to Mt. Carmel Junction. On the way we saw some more “wildlife.” Actually these bison were on a private ranch. I’m sure they’ll eventually end up as bison burgers.

IMG_7456 (1024x684)

There were two restaurants across the street from each other, so we picked one and had some dinner. We had a ball recounting our day, but it was kind of sad because we had to say goodbye to Cyndi. To meet up with such a dear friend so far from home and get to spend two days with her means more to us than we can express in words. Our summer travels are wonderful, but we go through long periods without seeing friends or family, so the last two days were very special. Thank you Cyndi for arranging your schedule to coincide with our travels.

Cyndi returned south to Kanab and we headed back north to Panguitch and our home on wheels. We got back just as the sun was setting in the west, casting a beautiful glow on the mountains off to the northeast.

IMG_7464 (1024x684)

That wraps up our National Parks tour of Utah. Tomorrow will be a rest day as we relax around home and get ready for our trip to Las Vegas on Sunday. Dee will post some photos of our park in tomorrow’s blog. See you then.


Al and Karen said...

Great pictures!We thought Utah was just wonderful. It was nice to see green grass again up here in Wyoming :-).

Nancy and Bill said...

Each National Park is so unique. You sure are seeing some beautiful sights!!

Karen and Al said...

How nice to have a guide through the park. It's another beautiful place you've been this summer. I think I'd need a few weeks there though!

The pictures looked so much better when I enlarged them. Wow..

KarenInTheWoods Karen Pfundtner said...

What a beautiful place! Looks like a great hike and loved the cool creek water to cool off in before heading back.

Karen and Steve
(Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

Vera said...

Very beautiful pictures. I enjoy following your Blog and seeing all the places you visit. Thanks.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Great pictures. I have never been there and now I know what I have been missing. Beautiful parks, for sure.

Gypsy said...

I can't get over how great the pictures are and how beautiful the Park is. Do you have any idea what kind of snake that is? It looks humongous!

Janice L Evans said...

we loved Zion as well. . .this was a great way to revisit. . .thanks!

Laurel Owen said...

Back in college, on the Geology field trip, we all climbed up Checkerboard Mesa (the second picture). That brought back great memories!

Bob and Jo said...

We love Zion and all the Utah national parks. Your beautiful photos brought them back to us.

Mike and Terri said...

Looks like another great place to visit! When we head west we'll just come back here to your blog to plan our route. Beautiful photos!