Posted by: sunnyharvy | June 6, 2014

Beating the Heat at Zion

We enjoyed Grand Canyon from the rim above. At Zion National Park we got a very different perspective as we traversed the canyon bottom. Our necks got sore from looking WAY up all the time, but the views were definitely worth it! Those incredible vistas began presenting themselves as we drove towards the park from the east on the Zion – Mt. Carmel Highway.

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Checkerboard Mesa

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Amazing 1.1 mile long tunnel…

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that even had view windows!

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The West Temple, highest point in the park.

Suddenly it’s summer! It was very hot when we arrived (and remained so throughout our 4-day visit), so we sought less strenuous activities. On our first afternoon we toured both the Visitor Center and Human History Museum, where we watched a very informative and entertaining video about the park’s geology and thousands of years of human presence here. Later that evening we took a fascinating shuttle tour with a ranger who took us to some less frequently visited areas.

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I snapped this shot during a morning walk.

The Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge in the upper reaches of Zion Canyon – 16 miles long, up to 2,000-feet deep, and at times only 20 to 30-feet wide. A section of this gorge, referred to as The Narrows, displays soaring walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs, and hanging gardens. Our hike, a few miles up and back, much of which was actually in the river (hiking stick and kayak boots mandatory), proved spectacular and refreshing, as the temperature in the tall, narrow gorge was 15 to 20 degrees cooler than down in the canyon proper.

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The hike begins with the Riverwalk, which is paved and accessible to all.

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Once the pavement ends, you have to get your feet wet.

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To provide scale, that’s me in the lower right corner…!

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We rode our bikes along the Pa’rus Trail at sunset.

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And took a driving tour to higher (cooler) altitudes on the Kolob Terrace Road.

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We hiked a bit of the West Rim trail (Can you see it zig zaging across the rock face above?), but we didn’t last long in the heat.

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We did hike far enough to savor this canyon view.

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Then we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach along another section of the Virgin River that runs right behind the campground.

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The view from my beach chair.

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Great photographs – wish I had had a decent camera in the 70s – somewhere I have a picture of a full moon through that tunnel window. Beautiful country !!

    • Thanks Judy. You can’t stop in the tunnel to take photos out the windows anymore. I had to do that one as we drove by. 🙂

  2. Looking at Al’s most recent pictures – I have to believe he is starting to really enjoy this lifestyle. Perhaps a rolling stone with NO intention of going home!


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