DAY SEVEN-- Zion Canyon

This April 8, 2019 photo provided by the National Parks Service shows a California condor in Zion National Park in Utah. On Thursday, May 30, 2019, park rangers said they suspect a pair of endangered California condors has hatched their first egg because of behavior changes between the male and female birds. (National Parks Service via AP)

This is my personal blog, and is NOT a news story. As such it is my opinion and does not reflect the opinion of the station, my family nor anyone else. Some people don’t understand that this is a personal blog.
(*Lack of internet service has delayed this posting.)

DAY SEVEN—Zion Canyon

The presence of viable internet service in the National Parks is variable, with some service sometimes, but not others. And there are problems with bandwidth also. So we may have been missing a few reports.

Briefly, we left the Grand Canyon and shipped our boxes. But while walking the box down the aisle of the motor coach, I snagged my watch wristband, snapping it and ruining it. As a result, I’ve been operating in a timeless fashion. (In fact, my cell phone has been running down daily, especially when used for Facebook Live, the camera, or just powering up to check the time!) But I don’t mean to complain… just explain that we’ve all been out of touch while soaking up Nature in the National Parks.

We checked into our cabins in Zion National Park after a quick orientation, and several begin hikes before dinner up to the Emerald Pond, about a half mile up a box canyon, gaining about 85 feet. It’s a very pleasant way to work up an appetite. Others walk to the Grotto Picnic grove, though more flat and less than a half mile away. Shuttles run up and down the valley of this canyon every few minutes, so we grab one to return to the central Lodge and cabins in time to dress for dinner.

A wonderful meal awaits us and we enjoy it so much, we eat from 7pm to 9pm, missing the 8pm ranger presentation on "Bats: Our Friends". However, we crash the meeting at the final five minutes, and the ranger, assuming that we had been told the wrong starting time, restarts his slide presentation and quickly recaps his hour presentation in less than 20 minutes! We thank him for his passion and new information on bat habitats in the canyon and across the nation. Several of us are making plans to build or hang new bat houses to help foster these creatures. (For more info, go to www.BatCon.org)

Zion Canyon has long been a tourist destination, since the first Mormon settlers entered the valley to farm, and the valley was first named as a national monument, and then a National Park. A tunnel, improving access to the east, was started in 1927 and completed by 1930. As the fourth most popular National Park, traffic has become a critical problem.

However the shuttle system was implemented and visitors can now get around quickly and efficiently, instead of driving. Reservations are needed in advance for overnight housing. (Fair notice, the park is managed by the same parent company as Holiday Vacations, so we get great arrangements!)

The individual cabins are clean and feature modern conveniences, but with a rustic charm that echoes down the decades. We watch deer graze on the green lawn before the lodge, along with turkeys and squirrels. And after the sun sets, the full moon illuminates the canyon walls with an errie white, ghostly light that contrasts with the bright starry skies. It is breathtaking as we walk homeward to turn in after dark.

*As mentioned before, internet service is poor, until very late at night, as the bandwidth improves, and I am able to post some additional pictures.

The next morning rises cool but bright, as the sun doesn’t drop into the canyon until late morning. Everyone eats a hearty breakfast in the Lodge and then immediately set off for hikes in the cool morning air before the temperatures climb from the 60s into the 90s this afternoon. Several complete several mile trails before the heat arrives.

Unfortunately, several trails are closed due to rock slides, but we are alerted before we attempt them. The projected restoration date is unclear, as they may never be reopened.

I’ve failed to describe the vertical walls of this dead-end canyon that protect the Virgin River base that carved the canyon. That’s because it is so striking, so inspirational, so colorful (reds, white, gray, yellow, with green cottonwoods and grasses on t floor), that I can’t adequately paint the picture. You have to come visit for yourself. Search for photos and description on the internet and then put this destination on your bucket list.

Zion Canyon deserves to be revisited time and again.

Tomorrow, we dive back up the switchbacks to journey to Bryce Canyon.



 
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