Thursday, April 23, 2015

West Rim Trail and Temple of Sinawava

We were up and out early again today so we could park at the visitor's center, rather than take the shuttle in from Springdale. We got the last legal parking spot in overflow.  Today's first route was toward Scout's Lookout and then on to the West Rim trail.  The scenery is just beautiful.  The trail seems to have gotten steeper since we were last here....
This is taken from the middle of the climb up to Scout's Lookout.

Flowers are growing out of the cracks of the rocks - we were on Walter's Wiggles by then.  Did you know that the Wiggles are on the National Register of Historic Places?  The trail was put in place by the first superintendent of the park so that people would be able to get up to Angel's Landing.

Here we are on the West Rim Trail.  It's also gorgeous up there.  Parts of the trail are rocky, and parts are not.

The scenery is also magnificent from this trail.  It was windy and chilly up there.  Apparently weather is headed our way, with falling temperatures and perhaps rain.  Rain!  It is not supposed to rain in my presence.

When we were heading back we walked over to an overlook that gives a good view of Angel's Landing.  That is the pointy rock on the left.

I've zoomed and cropped so you can see the right edge of the rock.  That's where people walk to get to the top.  Jim and I have decided that we can be fully self actualized people without ever doing that hike.

We saw these two on the way back down.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of their faces.  Both of them had multiple piercings in the lips and eye brows, and he was wearing black lipstick.  I am totally loving the entire outfit, including the backpack and the tails.  It's good that they found each other, they appear to be really well matched as a couple.

We took the shuttle up to the Temple of Sinawava.  I walked right up to this Golden Mantled squirrel for his picture.

The squirrels have no fear of people.  We saw one walking up to a man having a snack, I think he would have run up his arm for the food if the man didn't swat at him.  On the trail they would walk along side of people, evaluating whether or not there might be food.

This is the Virgin river closer to the temple.  The water is really clear and really blue.

People come here to wade/hike the Narrows.  Most people rent neoprene socks, river shoes and water proof pants.  That water is unbelievably cold.  The whole canyon is cold because it's shaded by the canyon walls.

It was a good day.  We got about 8 miles on our feet with not too much discomfort.  My hip did not actually complain until we got off the shuttle after returning to the visitor's center.

In other park news, Kolob Terrace road is under construction. There are significant closure times during the day through the end of October.  Click on the link HERE for the details. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Hike to Observation Point

Today we drove to and through Zion to get to the other side.  We were able to drive to the trail head of the East Mesa Trail.  Most of the dirt road was in really good shape.  As predicted, the last half mile deteriorates some, but our Chevy half ton 4x4 was not challenged by it.  This section of road would be impassable if wet.  Someone has been out installing signage pointing to the Observation Point trail which was very nice.  The climate was perfect, it's so nice to be out of the heat and in the upper 70s.
The trail itself is not that visually entertaining.  Much of it is through the trees, some of it is down a water course, and much of it is through loose rock that I always call rubble.  However, it's much less difficult than coming up from the bottom of the trail.

As you approach the end, it becomes more interesting out in the distance.  I think this is Mystery Canyon.  The description of it is that it is a technical rappel to enter and permits are required.

After enough slogging, you get to see this.  It's an amazing sight.  Angel's Landing (on the right foreground) had people on it, but I don't have enough zoom so pull them in.

These are growing alongside the trail.  They're very pretty.

Driving back on the dirt road we saw three wild turkeys.  They're really big.  Unfortunately they wouldn't pose, so I have only this terrible picture of this one running away from me.

When we re-entered Zion we saw this.  I think this is the biggest Airstream I have ever seen.

The east side of the park is just beautiful.  I never get tired of looking at the rocks.

No one was behind us when going through the tunnel, so we were able to stop and take pictures through the cut outs in the wall.

So scenic.

It was a good day.  We walked seven miles with minimal discomfort.  My hip was yipping a little towards the end, but it was all tolerable.  I am not sure what we are doing tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Photos From Zion

Life got in the way today, so there were no big hikes done.  Jim spent some time washing the RV this afternoon.  I, being a bad wife, did not help - so I drove in to Zion to see if the park was crowded.  Why yes, yes it is.  The campgrounds are full, there are people everywhere.  Even though the ankle biters are in school, the park is full of visitors.  Is it ever not full?
I did a short walk up the Watchman Trail and took a few pictures.  Here they are.


Tomorrow's plan is to get up early (hah!) and drive through the park to the East Rim Trail.  We want to see Observation Point, but we're going to do the easy route.  We could probably make it from the bottom, but then I would be crippled for the rest of our stay here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Las Vegas to Hurricane and Notes on the St. George Pilot

Today we drove from Las Vegas to Hurricane.  It's a good thing it was a short day.  One of the knocks I have on the Las Vegas Motor Coach resort is departure.  There is no dedicated place available to hook up a toad to the RV.  It took quite some time to exit the RV park and get on the road.  I'm hoping that since it's unlikely that we'll be back in southern California, that we won't be back in Las Vegas, either.
This is the gorge we always forget about.  It's on I15 where it crosses the north west corner of Arizona.  It's not a major up and down, but it always takes us by surprise.

A new bridge is being built in the gorge.  Currently they are doing steel work.  I think this is going to be here for awhile.

This went on for several miles.  It's very narrow, and for much of it the RV tires are on the rumble strip.  Please make a note of this.

And now a few notes on the Pilot at exit 4 in Saint George.  You exit the freeway, onto a round about.  There is a teeny sign pointing to the right for Pilot.  However, the only Pilot sign we could see was for cars.  ZERO signage for trucks.  We missed the fuel plaza the first time; had to go down the freeway and come back.  Go UP the hill, past the car entrance.  Make a left, go behind the Burger King, left on 60th, and then left into the Pilot.  There's no signage for this.  When leaving, turn left on 60th to get back to the freeway.  Please make a note of this, as well.  It's the only truck stop in the area, so this is where you have to go.  It's kind of a frazzling place for diesel due to its very small size.
However, once all that was behind us, we came down the hill and saw this; and then it was all better.

We're at the Willowwind RV park in Hurricane.  We have 4 bars of 4G and there are no fires being burned.  The downside is that there are trees, so we have to use cable.  I think over all it's a win, since we can have the windows open without the fire stink.