Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bryce, Zion and Vegas, Baby! Day 7

On Wednesday, April 11th, which is day seven of our vacation, we decided to ride the shuttle up to the top of the canyon and walk back.  Yesterday this seemed like a wise decision.  Today it is cold and there is a threat of rain.

We go anyway.

The northern most point the shuttle goes to in Zion is called The Temple of Sinawava. When we arrive at the Temple, we discover Ranger Jenny is about to lead a tour up to the Narrows on the Riverside Walk so we tag along.

Ranger Jenny, besides being smart as a whip, also is carrying the equivalent of the circus clown car in her knapsack.  On this tour, she pulls out plant samples, photographs, diagrams and at one point, a life size beaver hand puppet.  (No, wait--I have to be accurate--she did tell us this puppet is actually the size of a muskrat--if it was a life size beaver it would be much bigger!!!!) She was great and we were glad we stumbled on her tour.  Her enthusiasm for her job and her subject was infectious.  Although, I have no plans to put a life size beaver in my suitcase at any point in my life.

So, off we go on the Riverwalk alongside the Virgin River and we do not go 100 yards before we run smack into a mule deer herd which appears to not care that twenty-five tourists are tramping by.

The Narrows requires the folks who want to transverse it to go into town and get a wet suit.  They then put this on and walk up into the canyon in the Virgin River.  At one point, if the water is high enough, the hikers are required to swim!

I can't swim.  Plus, it's like forty degrees outside.  However, that does not deter some adventurous folks from wading it at the farthest point we can walk to begin their wet journey.

After the Ranger tour, we decide to begin our day's choice:  we are going to walk along the Virgin River all the way back to the Lodge.

We launch out on our hike, we aren't down the road twenty minutes, and it starts to rain.  Then it starts to pour.  The good news was that the rain gave us some special little water falls to see.

So when we reach Big Bend, we decide to jump onto the shuttle and ride it back to the lodge for lunch.

During lunch, the sun comes out.

So, we are back on the shuttle to ride back up the road to Weeping Rock.  When it rains like it does today, the rocks really weep in a very cool way.

Because of the rain, we ride the shuttle to the next stop down the line called The Grotto.

Even though it is drizzling, we make up our minds that we can walk from The Grotto on the Kayenta Trail to the Emerald Pools Trails and then back to the Lodge.  As we walk the trails, occasionally the weather picks up.  At one point we hear thunder.  A few minutes later, it begins to hail and take shelter under a tree.  As we are standing there, a German tourist walks by and we do the usual "how's it going?"  He says, "Considering I am walking in a national park high on a mountain being pelted by hail, not to bad."

Then we stumbled upon this little guy feeding along the trail.

After stopping in our room at the lodge to dry off, we hop in the car and drive the absolutely fascinating and  beautiful Hwy 9 that is a part of the park but actually leads out to the east and back to Bryce.

That night we went to Springdale for a dinner at the elegant restaurant Parallel 88.  This will be our last night in the national parks so we return to the lodge.  

For all the photos from this, visit my Flickr site at

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