Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Zion Adventure: Day 2

Sunday morning, we slept in a little bit and headed up to the main lodge for breakfast. The main dining room had a buffet, but I just wanted something small. I stopped by the saloon, picked a fight, and got my cinnamon roll and coffee. David got some kind of breakfast burrito. We sat out on the main patio of the lodge, overlooking the canyon. Not a bad breakfast, I tell you.

Then, we went on a short hike to an overlook called Bright Angel Point. The name "Bright Angel" is pretty common with the Grand Canyon, but I'll have to research why. We just saw it everywhere. It's like everything is named "Black Bear"-something in the Smokeys. Maybe the angels at the Grand Canyon are brighter than elsewhere. Some aspen trees and yellow bushes lining the path. I don't know what the bushes were, but they were as pretty as the trees.

The Fall colors already showing.

An attempt at a panoramic shot from the lookout. If the sun is too bright, you can see the frames, but oh well.

A sweet British couple took these for us.

While we were up there, we encountered a group of four hipsters, led by a guide. They wanted to "experience the REAL Grand Canyon." So, we're at the top of the point and they're gasping their air. One of the girls says, "We did it. Whew. We did the hike. Let's go back now." The guide says, "Uh...this is a little baby hike. We haven't done the real 10-mile hike yet. We're going down into the canyon." You should have seen their faces. Y'all, this Bright Angel trail is literally a mile round-trip...they had only gone half a mile. They started back to the lodge before us and we caught up with them halfway because they were resting. The guide was telling them about how one time a duck tried to attack him in the canyon (a duck?) and he grabbed it and slung it off the canyon and it didn't fly, but fell all the way down. Yeah, good story.

We packed up our stuff, checked out, and headed north again to Springdale, Utah. Going back through the Kaibab Forest, we decided to take some pictures of the trees and meadows.

We were actually leaving, but shhhhhhhhh! nobody has to know.

This was a "water hole" only for the wildlife in the park. The fence around it was to keep out the cows. Cows? I thought the same thing. The whole way through, we kept seeing Cow Crossing signs. And deer crossing, but cows? A little info board said they had cows just roaming all through the forest as an environmental assistant or something. I personally think it's because nobody wanted to mow these meadows. Either way, the fences keep out the cows and allow the deer and other critters to drink from this little pond without being scared away.

Leaving the forest.

Entering Utah.

We stopped to have lunch in this cute little town in South Utah called Kanab. It was small and quaint and had really neat buildings...a very old town feel. HOWEVER, it was just cute enough to be creepy. Like, one of those towns where a couple on the road stops for the night because they're having car problems and they go to the only Bed & Breakfast in town and there's a guy asleep in the lobby, and a grouchy lady at the desk, and the sheriff just happens to walk in and say, "Howdy folks...y'all ain't from around here, are ya?" And then he goes on to say how "things ain't what they appear to be. Just keep to yourself and don't be askin' any questions." And the town has a horrible, dark secret. Okay, I've read too many Frank Peretti books. BUT, seriously...Kanab could totally be the setting for that story.

We headed out of town and saw a sign for the Moqui Caves. Hey, we were ahead of schedule...we'll stop for a tour of the sandstone caves. I LOVE caves. As we're pulling into the deserted parking lot, Agatha (the Jeep) gives us a "low tire pressure" warning. Great. David opens his door and all we could hear with this intense hissing. Sure enough, the back left tire had run over something. We're guessing the front tire flipped up a nail and the tire ran right over it. I went to the entrance of the cave to see if we could use their phone, because, of course, we didn't have cell signal. Oh look, it's closed. And it actually looked creepy, too. AND...I'm not making this up. There were three other cars parked there and all three had flat tires. WHAAAAAAAT???!!! My mind starts thinking of all the terrible things going on inside the cave and how nails are planted in the road so people have to pull into the cave parking lot and then they're lured inside the cave and their organs are sold on the black market. I told David that's what was going to happen. He smiled and casually changed the flat tire to the spare (I helped) and we drove back to Kanab, where a guy named Steven patched up our regular tire and sent us back on our way, for real this time.

Woo hooo!! We made it!

At the Checkerboard Mesa viewpoint.

The Checkerboard Mesa. The erosion from wind and water leaves checkerboard patterns on this section of rock.

Driving onward into the canyon.

We stopped right before the tunnel to do the Canyon Overlook hike. You can see a part of the canyon from the east rim. You see the tiny people on the other side? This one went in and out of side canyons.

A slot canyon far below.

Thankful for the rails.

A not so comforting walkway over a sharp drop.

There were a lot of these "false arches" in the park. I'm not sure what type of erosion caused them.

The overlook.

You can see the Zion switchbacks below. Several groups of people built the tunnel and the switchbacks in the late 1920's. Otherwise, entrances from the north and east were pretty much impassible.

The trail is there somewhere.

The one-mile Zion Tunnel. Took folks 3 years to build it in the late 1920's with pick-axes. It's a really cool tunnel.

On the main road in Zion. That's the Watchman peak in the distance.

The mountains in the same view as the overlook. The tallest one with the flat, tree-rimmed top is the West Temple. The rounded peak to the right is the Sundial. In the far right (it's hard to tell), there's another flat-topped one with red streaks running down...that's the Altar of Sacrifice.

We finally got to our house...Flanigan's Villa One. I'll show you pictures of that later, but it's right at the south entrance to the park in Springdale. The PERFECT location. Before supper, we headed up a short little trail on a little peak right beside the house.

The white-roofed house below the building is Flanigan's.

A different angle of the Watchman peak.

Looking down into Springdale and the Visitor Center.

There was a labyrinth at the top of the hill. It was based off of the Celtic idea of labyrinths. It's not a maze. There's only one way in and one way out. The Celts believed it wasn't about "finding the right path" or having to fight your way through something, it was about completing the journey set before you. So, David and I walked the whole thing...right as some more people were coming up and we looked like weirdos.

Also at the top was a tree with prayer flags tied into the branches. They were either Himalayan prayer flags or Peruvian...I can't remember...but I thought they were pretty.

You can build your own rock tower in memory/honor of something or someone or as a prayer.

A Indian mother and her baby.

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