Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bryce, Zion, and Vegas, Baby! Day 6

Today is Day 6 of our trip west, Tuesday April 10th, and the first full day in Zion National Park. As mentioned at the end of the last post, we rode the shuttle through the whole park last night.  Visitors who are sleeping in the Zion Lodge (as we are) may drive their cars into the park but no one else can.  Now that I can see the park, I can understand why.

This park is essential one long road between enormous canyons of rock.  There is very little space and you ride the shuttle from one point to the next in order to explore the approachable.  Some hikes are insane (like Angels Landing) and each year people die in this park from being stupid. 

We began this day with our second horse/mule ride of the trip.  Today we are lucky enough to get the half-day ride in Zion.  Our trail guides were Angie and Dion and our mounts were Charlie (a horse for Denice) and Fancy (a mule for me).  Unlike Bryce, where we rode behind the guide, today we are second to last in line and eat dust the entire ride.  Seriously, we were covered in dust the entire ride, including the camera.  Maybe the hint should have been that we were on the Sand Beach Trail.  I kept the camera under my jacket most of the trip to try to protect it.  But, I still took these photos:

In the afternoon, we made a fateful decision.  We could have done some hiking but instead we decided to do our auto tour today.  (Tomorrow it is going to rain but you will have to wait for that story).  We first drove to the Zion Museum to watch the movie about the park.  I cannot emphasize how quickly the walls of the canyon rise up around the lodge, the museum and the road.  At one point, when I could not understand the height, a ranger told me the canyon I was standing next to rose as tall as a one hundred story building and that was the front canyon behind which were even taller ones.

Then we drove to the highly recommended Kolob National Park, the northwestern neighbor to Zion that comes highly recommended in the tour books as beautiful and less traveled than the big park.  Lastly, we drove up a very remote road called Kolob Reservoir Road that proved to be everything that we wanted.  

Because the first night our lodge food proved to be--well, lodge food--we decided to eat in Rockville (just south of the park) at The Spotted Dog, an elegant restaurant in a town full of good food and fine art galleries.  

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

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