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Yearly Archives: 2009
Thursday afternoon: Re-energized, I rode the shuttle back north, stopping at the “Court of the Patriarchs” exit. Whereas Bryce Canyon had “overlooks,” featuring beautiful vistas from the canyon rim looking down, I suppose that one could say that Zion had “underlooks,” featuring beautiful vistas from the canyon floor looking up at the cliffs.
Thursday morning: With my backpack, an energy bar, an apple, and a one liter and 700 ml bottle of water, I boarded the shuttle at the Visitor’s Center. As the shuttle pulled away, I saw a man wearing a red knitted yarmulke. It’s too bad that I didn’t get a chance to greet him. The shuttle drove north on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, and I exited at The Grotto stop, where I walked across a footbridge across the Virgin River and began climbing the West Rim Trail toward Angel’s Landing.
Wednesday morning: I drove the 75 miles from Bryce to Zion, arriving while it was still morning. I entered the park through the East Entrance, which includes a 1.1-mile tunnel through a sandstone mountain, which, when completed in 1930, was the longest tunnel in the U.S. The tunnel and the road were actually constructed to make it easier for tourists to access Zion from Bryce and from the Grand Canyon.
Tuesday afternoon: I had mentioned that on the previous day’s three mile hike into the Bryce Amphitheater, I had developed a slight sunburn. At the camp store, I found a choice of two sunblocks and selected the Bull Frog SPF 50 Super Block Lotion Sunblock with Titanium Dioxide. Try saying that real fast. After applying this, I remembered that titanium dioxide is a white pigment, and I guess that’s what elderly people use when you see people on the beach with their noses painted white. This was only 7% titanium dioxide, so it wasn’t quite that bad, but it still left my skin looking much whiter than it should, so I wasn’t that fond of it. It was also so waterproof that a shower didn’t entirely remove it. This led me to buy a different brand of sunscreen, which was more pleasing.
Late Tuesday morning and early afternoon: I drove north on the park road, stopping at overlooks along the way. Most of these overlooks do not have any trails associated with them, but are simply small parking areas and sidewalks with an interpretive sign telling visitors what they are seeing.
Tuesday morning: In the morning, I drove down the park road to the southern terminus, Rainbow Point. This is the trailhead for the Bristlecone Loop trail.
Monday afternoon: After lunch, I drove about five miles to the north, into an area of the park called Water Canyon. It is actually outside the entrance to the park, so one can visit this area without paying admission. This area is home to Mossy Cave and a small waterfall. The trail is only about 0.9 miles, each way, with an elevation change of 300 feet.
Monday morning: By the way, what are Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks? There’s a geological region called the Colorado Plateau, which takes up a big chunk of the “Four Corners” states: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. This plateau has the greatest concentration of national parks in the United States. Scientists say that the region was once flat land, was then pushed up by tectonic activity, then slowly eroded over millions of years.
Years ago, I had enjoyed a vacation to the Four Corners states, especially enjoying Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Other tourists had told me that I should visit Bryce and Zion, and I always hoped to return. I finally decided that this would be the year.