Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Zion and environs...

A couple of things for me to remember when I look back on this blog...

It really is amazing how different the scenery can be within a relatively close proximity to each other. Bryce Canyon is like dripping sand castles, Zion has huge rounded layers like Jabba the Hut, the Grand Canyon is, well, it's the Grand Canyon, Arches has the arches (who knew), Canyonlands has layers of deep canyons, around Lake Powell it is like a lunar landscape and you can't beat the slot canyons in Page only a few miles away. What was going on all those years ago to have so many different layers of different types of sediment? One can easily see how the earth was pushed up and delineate the different layers from one area to another.

The other is how distance is sort of meaningless. With so much open area one thinks nothing of taking off for many hours for another experience. It would be like being in our home in MA and saying, "after lunch, let's go to Montreal."

With that in mind, recently, at about 1pm we decided to head out to go to Zion National Park. It would take about 6 hours to get there. We had planned to go there on our way home, but at this point, we may take a southern route to avoid any bad weather. I don't want to blog about tornadoes.

Once again, we were amazed a the beauty of the national parks in the west.

Coming in from the east, the first formations you see are huge, layered, rounded masses that could look like a millennium's worth of cow pies.

Once you go through a couple of man-made tunnels drilled through the mountains, you come into Zion Canyon which seems totally different.

We stopped at the Virgin River Bridge for a view of the muddy water

And made it through the park at sunset on our way to Cedar City for the night

The next morning we took a quick detour through Kolob Canyon at the north end of Zion. Also spectacular. Then we drove back through Zion in the opposite direction. Things look totally new in the opposite direction.
Judy drove so I could enjoy the scenery

We had our Utah Off-road book with us so we decided to take a few excursions into the outback on our way home. First stop was a place called Paria (pronounced Par-eah, like Maria). This was a spot settled by the Mormons in the late 1800's. I guess they stopped there because there was water but now all that is left is an outhouse and a cemetery where most of them are buried. Those in the cemetery either died from the elements or were killed by Paiutes. It was a tough life back then. We were amazed at the scenery but I'm sure that wasn't high on their mind.

Our last adventure took us into the lunar landscape on the Utah side of Lake Powell. We thought we could make it down to the lake itself, but the trails were not marked and it was very difficult to know where we were.
Here I am trying to find our way with my GPS

This place was so different than anything we had seen so far as can be seen by this overhang we drove under.

I had plenty of gas (this time) and there was plenty of daylight left, but it was getting late, so after climbing up and down the trail through deep sand, we decided to find our way back to civilization. On the return, we crossed paths with a couple in a pickup who asked if we knew where we were. Neither of us knew our exact location but were having fun finding our way around.

We got the last room at the Courtyard in Page and spent the night before heading home the next morning.


  1. Thanks, but it is hard to NOT take good shots with this scenery. Sometimes I wish I had a better camera for some shots, like the sunset one, but I know I would abuse a good camera and the little digitals are so convenient to keep in your pocket.