Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hiking Zion NP

I have a small obsession with National Parks as of late. When my dad told me we might have time to visit one on our way back from Colorado I was all over that. We landed on Zion NP several reasons: It was on the way and Bryce was basically closed for the winter.
We got lucky with Zion. It happened that it was the first time in 10 years that the snow had stayed on the ground. This made the scenery beautiful!We slipped and slid down several trails, like the Riverside Walk (Pictured Above). The gateway to the world famous Narrows, where in the summer you can travel 9 miles up a slot canyon where the walls narrow and you are inching your way along between them. So great, we do that in Lake Powell. The weather was too cold for us to do that.
Next on our travel was the Weeping Rock (pictured above). A phenomenon that takes place all year long. The sandstone rocks of the Utah desert soak up the snow and rail and them it seeps down through the rock and rains out. But Weeping Rock is unique in the fact that you can stand directly under the rock and not get wet because the water flows out sideways and creates a really big waterfall over head. The trail was interesting because it goes straight up for .2 miles but by then the temperature was warming up and the snow was getting a little slippery and icy. Still worth it.
We also traveled to the Emerald Pools via the Kayenta Trail, where you travel along the edge of the canyon, about 20-30 feet up, over looking the Virgin River. The trail into Echo Canyon was great, sunny, dry, and then we got to the shady part where there was still snow and it got a little hairy. Plus we took a wrong trail because we followed everyone else's foot prints (see picture above, it shows how easy it is to see where others have been, red dirt on white snow). That wrong trail ended up being up a steep area where it was so muddy and slippery we had to go really slow. Picture the scene from Romancing the Stone where they go sliding down the hillside, now picture our wrong turn. But we did find the right way eventually and it made the trip worthwhile.
Our last trail was Pa'rus (pronouced pa-roos) the only place in the park that dogs are allowed to go... on leash (hahaha, I laugh because Mocha was on leash about 10 seconds of the enitire trail, but there was no one else there). We took the trail at sundown as suggested by the Park Ranger for the beautiful views (see picture). It was a perfect end to the day.
Total Miles for the day (including wrong turn) = 6 miles

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