Kevin's Utah and Arizona trip, 2011
Friday - Zion
previous: Thursday
next: Saturday

I got up, got dressed, hobbled over to the Thunderbird Restaurant for breakfast.
Then I came back, got my gear put together and left for Zion.

The weather was just perfect the whole time I was at the park. 70's and sunny. Just a few clouds late in the day, for visual interest. Warm, but not too warm. Not so cool that I'd get chilled while resting. Perfect.

I stopped a few places again in the east side of the park above the tunnels. Right at the entrance to the tunnel is the trailhead for Canyon Overlook. It's not a long or difficult walk, and it leads to an overlook... of the canyon.

Below the trail, there was a team of canyoneers climbing down through the slot canyon.

This was up there.

I rode the shuttle up the canyon, and walked up to Weeping Rock. The trail is short and paved, but steep. My feet hurt, but I was in no hurry. Weeping rock is a rock overhang in the cliff, with water coming over it. It's not a waterfall from a stream, it's water seeping out of the cliff wall. Water seeps down through the sandstone, and when it hits a harder layer of, say, shale, it runs over that, and drips out of a cliff face. The overhang was cool and mossy.

Weeping Rock from above.

After that hike, I rode all the way to the head of the canyon, at the Temple of Sinawava.

This rock (in the center) stands near the shuttle stop at the Temple of Sinawava.
You can see it in the the lower right of this pic.

I walked up to the entrance to The Narrows, which were closed due to high water.

There is a paved mile-long trail along the river, to the mouth of the narrows. Hiking the narrows would have been cool, but it was closed to due to high water. Some of the narrows are permit-only. Some of the hikes are so long you can only do them overnight. I would have liked to go in partway, but even in summer there is waist-deep water in places. The thing that's cool about it is that it's, well, narrow. Let's say thirty feet wide, with sheer cliffs reaching 1000 feet. Some measure it 1500 feet, but by then it's sloping back a bit, and not so sheer. But basically we're talking about quarter-mile high cliffs.

After that nice walk, I got back on the bus and went back down to the Weeping Rock area.

Angel's Landing, from the back.

From the Weeping Rock trailhead, I hiked up to Hidden Canyon.

First you walk up some long switchbacks in the sun. Then up these shorter switchbacks in the trees.

You go around a rock...

A little ways into a narrow canyon, where you go up some stairs...

double back, and go out along a cliff face.

But it's fun! This is Rudi. He's from the Czech Republic, and he was having a great time here.

Have you wondered how trees can grow out of sheer cliff faces? A seed sprouts in a narrow ledge,
and as the tree grows, it collects blown sand and dirt, and its little neighborhood grows.

There was a nice view in places.

The Organ, a low promontory which sticks out from the end of Angel's Landing. Notice the bus on the road.

After you go around the rock on the cliff face, you go into another canyon.
This one has a nicely contoured slot formation at its mouth, where it hangs over the valley.

And then you walk back into Hidden Canyon. It's an easy walk,
for the most part, but it has a few scrambles.

The destination is an arch. It's not what you expect, but it's still kinda cool.

3D, if you know how to see it. Try crossing your eyes.

When I went back down, after I went through that first side canyon area, I went out onto a nearby promontory, to get some photos (including the above 3d shot). I wandered around out there a bit, and when I was just about ready to head back towards the trail, I heard a noise that sounded like fireworks. Some sharp cracks followed by what sounded like a shower of sparks or static. Then a couple of gunshots. I looked back and a young couple was scrambling down the trail out of the canyon area. When it was done (it was over quickly) I jogged over. There was a man from Illinois with two teenage girls standing there. They said they saw a cloud of dust up on the cliff. I talked to them for a few minutes, until we decided nothing more was happening. I went in to where it happened, and couldn't see any evidence of a rockfall.

I wandered slowly back down the switchbacks. Besides my feet hurting, I was taking a lot of pictures, so I didn't rack up much mileage, in general. But actually, my feet were doing a lot better the second half of the day. This was my last day in the park, so I rode up and down the canyon one more time. I usually took a lot of photos from the buses too.

Then I stopped at Zion Lodge in the middle of the canyon, to see if they were open for dinner. They were and I was seated right away. It turned out to be kind of an expensive place, but I wasn't the only one there dressed for the trail (and likely stinking from the trail). I had some kind of salmon and pinot noir, plus a big plate full of salad from the salad bar. I listened to two guys in suits discuss government finance with their wives, and wondered what they were doing at the park.

3D again.

I drove back through the park in the twilight, which was nice. Not many people out. I stopped for a few more photos as the sunlight left completely. I got back to the motel at ten to ten. I waited a bit before I went out to shoot their fabulous sign, but they turned it off at ten, so I missed it. The next morning I left town.

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