Kevin's 2011 Utah and Arizona trip
Wednesday - the trip out, and Zion
next: Thursday

I got up a little bit early so I could make my flight to Las Vegas. It wasn't an extremely long flight. We made it to Vegas, I got my suitcase, and rode the bus out to the rental center, where I picked up my Jeep. I drove up to St. George Utah, where I found a grocery store to stock up. I bought a bunch of protein bars, granola bars, some beef jerky, fruit and Gatorade. I got back on the freeway, forgetting that I was supposed to be looking for a turn-off to Zion National Park around St. George. So I drove north a while, before seeing a smallish sign to "KOLOB CANYON (ZION NATIONAL PARK)" or something like that. It didn't seem like what I was looking for, but I went in. Checking the map at the (closed) visitor center, I realized this was at the far northwest end of the park. Well, I was there, so I decided to look around.

My trusty Jeep Grand Cherokee.

At the top of the canyon there was a large vista area, looking out from the mountains. Nice. It's a little ways down from this spot. Didn't really get a good picture of the view, though.

I didn't realize it at the time, but this is the South Fork of Taylor Creek, which I would be looking for, shortly.

Once I drove up the canyon, I got out my hiking guidebook, and found a hike that I had wanted to do. I had given up on it because I hadn't planned on coming to this far corner of the park, so this was a good chance to see it. It was a bit of a struggle to find the South Fork of Taylor Creek. But I did, and set out on the trail. It was "unmaintained", and it had a sign marking it as such. I went down, past the sign, hopped a stream, then looked around to find the "trail". I did, and started up the canyon. It looked like it had gotten little or no use since the previous year. It was pretty much just deer paths. I was ducking through bushes and trees a lot.

After a while, I came across a short side canyon. A little water was coming down the rocks, and I shot a good pic or two. I decided to turn back because (1) I couldn't find a way farther up-canyon, and (2) the light was starting to fade.

I started at home in the morning at an elevation of 700 feet. The hike was around 6000 feet. I think I did reasonably well. The trail goes up to about 6700 feet, but I didn't go that far. After I got back to the car, I checked the trail guide, and it said I was supposed to be on the north side of the canyon, instead of the south. From my vantage point up in the canyon where I turned back, I could see the north side was open, not in brush. I could have gotten a lot farther on that side.

When I got back to the road, two guys with tripods (whom I'd seen a couple of times already) had set up at my canyon.

I left that part of the park wondering how to find the rest of it. a little way down the highway, I saw the sign to the park. It was dark by the time I got there, so I didn't stop. I drove on to Mt. Carmel Junction and checked in at the Best Western (Thunderbird Lodge).

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next: Thursday
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