Zion Canyon, Utah – September 3, 2009 (P.M.)

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.

A Methodist minister and a local boy had traveled into Zion Canyon and began naming the prominent mountains and features, and many of the names stuck. The Patriarchs are three mountains named, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob is actually the white peak hidden behind the rust-colored peak at the foreground of the photo below. That rust-colored peak is called Moroni, a figure from the Book of Mormon (and I suspect that mountain wasn’t named that by the Methodist minister). I also don’t know if there is a view possible from a different angle that will show Abraham, Isaac and Jacob without Moroni blocking most of Jacob. (Moroni is about 5700 feet high, while the three Patriarchs are 6800 feet high, so perhaps from a higher elevation it’s easier to focus on the three Patriarchs alone.)

Three Patriarchs, Zion National Park, UT

Three Patriarchs

Returning to a different shuttle, I rode to the next stop, Zion Lodge, and crossed the road to climb to the Emerald Pools. This was probably a 3-mile hike, and wasn’t too strenuous. I hiked up to the Upper Emerald Pools, then worked my way down to the Middle and Lower Pools.

Water dripping down the rock face carries different minerals, which create quite a canvas of color:

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT

Emerald Pools

Behind a waterfall:

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT

Standing behind a waterfall

Greenery:

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT

Emerald Pools

Some sort of bugs that float on water:

Floating insect

Floating insects

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT

Emerald Pools

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT

Emerald Pools

Apparently big rocks sometimes just fall off the cliff face. I wondered if someone good at puzzles could figure out where this one on the ground came from:

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT

Emerald Pools

I don’t know what the story is about these piled rocks.

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT

Emerald Pools

I don’t know if I’d call the algae emerald-colored, but it’s definitely some shade of green:

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT

Emerald Pools

While the 3-mile hike wasn’t as strenuous or as inspiring as the morning hike to Angel’s Landing, it did give me an opportunity to eat another energy bar and I think to polish off another 1.7 liters of water.

Returning to the shuttle, I rode back to the Visitor Center. A short walk away is a rock on which the Native Americans had left some symbols. Unfortunately, so have some recent visitors, as well.

South Gate Petroglyphs, Zion Canyon National Park, UT

South Gate Petroglyphs

I have no idea what’s Native American and what isn’t. I suspect the curly item and pitchfork (snowshoes?) may be Native. I’m skeptical that Snoopy is.

South Gate Petroglyphs, Zion Canyon National Park, UT

South Gate Petroglyphs

South Gate Petroglyphs, Zion Canyon National Park, UT

South Gate Petroglyphs

This is really shocking: Amy & Greg 1982 chipped onto the surface of a rock alongside ancient graffiti. One would think that people who travel great distances to visit a precious resource like a national park would know better than to deface it!

Friday morning, September 4:

I broke camp, this time packing up my tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. I drove back to the eastern entrance of the park to take a few photos, then drove back through the park and exited to the west, driving to I-15.

I then exited a few miles to the north, to visit the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. I drove to the top of the Kolob Canyons Road, where I found the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint. This features a number of small “finger canyons.” This photo shows Beatty Point and Nagunt Mesa:

Kolub Canyons Viewpoint, Zion Canyon National Park, UT

Kolub Canyons Viewpoint

I then went on my last hike, a one-mile roundtrip on the Timber Creek Overlook Trail. I even forgot to put on my boots, just walking in my casual shoes.

From this trail, one can see south to the Kaibab Plateau on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. (I won’t guarantee that I was pointing the camera in the correct direction, though.)

Kolub Canyons Viewpoint, Zion Canyon National Park, UT

Kolub Canyons Viewpoint

I continued my drive north to Salt Lake City, where I checked into a motel about 0.7 miles from Chabad.

Friday evening, September 4:

There were only about 13 men for services at Chabad, including myself and another out-of-town guest.

Rabbi Zippel and his wife had me as one of their guests for Friday night dinner. He mentioned that he had recently been invited to an upsherin, and had brought his shofar as it was Elul, and that while blowing it, a dog had come up behind him and started howling. Someone was recording this, and it ended up on YouTube.

Saturday, September 5:

For morning prayers, there were only about 18 men. The rabbi did almost everything: led all the prayers and also read the Torah. Another man, a professor of Hebrew at the university, read the haftorah. He read it without a melody, but with a dramatic emphasis on the words. That was interesting.

I then went back to the hotel and managed to sleep for a few hours. I had not been wise enough to purchase a book, but I had one or two alumni magazines that I read very slowly.

For afternoon prayers, there was not even a quorum of men.

Sunday, September 6:

In the morning, I flew back to New York, arriving in the afternoon. That’s how I spent my summer vacation.

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