Gypsy's Travels

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Travels With Abs - Zion National Park 7/2//2009

We boarded a coach, bound for Zion National Park, right after breakfast. We would be staying a couple of nights near Bryce, but we got to keep our room in St. George, so we only had to take a few things with us. Nice! It was less than 2 hours to Zion and we had videos (of dinosaurs) to watch on the way. I have been amazed there are so many dinosaur videos. I thought, the flawed, "Jurassic Park" was about the only thing out there, but National Geographic and Discovery Channel have a lot of different options.

Zion National Park is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, the oldest national park in Utah. A National Park pass gets you in for "free", and free shuttle buses will take you for a ride all the way round, where you can get off and on at will. The ride on the way in has a commentary on the park and its geologic features. We traveled to "The Riverside Walk" and hiked to the end. It follows the Virgin River along the bottom of a narrow canyon, is fairly easy, not paved, and partially shaded. Fortunately, there was good cloud cover, so we didn't suffer from the extreme heat we had been seeing in St. George. There were plenty of stops along the way to learn about the geology, plant, and wildlife of the area from Darrell and Marcia, our patient leaders.

Abs soaks up a lesson in geology.
This site was below an area that had suffered from a forest fire. When it rained, the waterfall was black, leaving traces of soot and debris on the face. Of course, we did not see a waterfall.

Maidenhair fern thrives in the cracks of the rocks. If we had seen a waterfall, there would surely have been a small one here at one of the hanging gardens.

The "Great White Throne," a grayish white expanse of rock that towers over Zion Canyon and is the main landmark for the park.

We left the trail and boarded a shuttle back to civilization. There was no commentary on the way back "leaving ample time to reflect on your journey and the scenery." Most were too tired to carry on conversations and the shuttle was filled, with visitors from many different countries as well as our folk. However, Abs and An, the similarly aged friend she had made on our trip, were in deep discussion. An had been given a "beetle farm" for her birthday one year and, since they had seen a lot of beetles on the trail, the girls were discussing the life cycle of the beetle. Everything went smoothly until they got to the reproductive cycle.
"How do they have babies?" Abs asked.
"One gets on top of the other and jiggles, then the female lays eggs." An replied.
There was not one snicker on this crowded, silent bus full of adults, but several people expressed their appreciation of the lesson as we departed. There was a lot of laughter after exiting.
It is against the rules to feed the wildlife, but some people feel they are above the rules. Here a cute little squirrel feasts on forbidden fruit. The squirrels were not intimidated by the human monsters who towered over them.

Could there ever be enough time to explore this beautiful park? I only know that I plan to return to camp, or rent a cabin, and attempt every trail in the park! I would like to make that every trail in every season, but that might be pushing it.

Our group moved on after a box lunch in the commons area. We were headed for Bryce where we would be staying for a couple of nights. During the trip by coach through the beautiful canyons, I took more photos out the bus window.Although this one appears to be the work of a super grader, the face of this mesa was actually scored by winds from opposing directions.

More scoring and examples of faults, uplifts, and such. DH would have loved all this.

Here is a naturally formed arch in the cliff. There were several of these.

We traveled to Bryce, but the beauty of that park was not to be revealed until the next day. After dinner, we went to the local rodeo. It consisted of locals who were breaking in new horses to the events, and practicing or learning. It was very family oriented and did not appear to push competition. There were a slew of young children who were gamely learning to ride whatever they were put on. One father led his daughter through a barrel race by holding on to the reins and running in front of the horse the whole way. Another small child was, I am convinced, not out of diapers.
Rodeoing is a tough life. My dad gave it up after my mother laid down the law early in their marriage, but I still have a lot of admiration for those who can face a bull or a bucking horse.
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  1. People from the East have no idea of what they are missing.

  2. I love how she is paying attention so intently in every picture! She has the bag in almost every picture. What was she carrying in it, or do I even want to know? Kiss her for me, I miss her terribly.


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