Friday, May 2, 2014

Zion National Park

We had a slow start to our first morning in Zion. While Aaron and his cousin played and looked for birds around the campsite we all relaxed and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery that surrounded us. Zion is one of my favorite national parks so I relished being back among the massive towering cliffs of red sandstone. Eventually we packed up and drove the winding road through the park to the mile long tunnel burrowed through a sandstone cliff and emerged on the other side at the Canyon Overlook trail. Miraculously we managed to snag two spots in the tiny parking lot and, after some snacking and sunning ourselves on the rocks, we headed out on a one mile hike to a spectacular overlook. While everyone else enjoyed the view, Aaron and I followed the calls of canyon wrens. We managed to find two and watched as they scampered around the cliff, diving in and out of cracks in the rock. They are really, really cute. Next we drove back down to the visitor center and hopped on a shuttle which runs through the park. We got off at the lodge stop and headed for the Emerald Pools trail. It was so fun to watch Aaron and his cousin run down the trail together. Afterwards we hopped back onto a shuttle which delivered us to our campers. At this point it was dinner time and the San Diego Taylors had to hit the road soon so we headed to Oscar's Cafe for some tasty Mexican food. Afterwards, with seriously full bellies, we hugged goodbye and watched as they drove off into the sunset, sad to see them go. It was so fun to have them visit us for a few action-packed days. Thanks for joining us!

The following day Jason had meetings in the morning so the boys and I walked to the other campground to snag a campsite for the night. We found a sweet site that had house wrens who were in the process of building a nest in an abandoned woodpecker hole. We hung out as we watched them and relaxed in the sunshine while we waited for Jason. After lunch we headed up to the plateau where we hiked up uber-steep slick rock until it was so steep we couldn't hike anymore. Then we hiked a draw where we stumbled upon petroglyphs. Tired, sun-soaked and happy we headed into town for dinner at our favorite restaurant before we settled back into our campsite to relax and watch the sun set over the cliffs.

The next day we hopped on a shuttle and headed to the Narrows. The Narrows is a hike into the narrowest section of the Virgin River where it winds through 2,000 foot tall sandstone cliffs and squeezes down to twenty feet wide. It has been closed the last couple of times we've been there due to high water and we hoped to wade our way up the river a bit on this trip. When we waded into the water it was icy and it didn't take long for our feet to freeze so we only made it about quarter of a mile in. The people in insulated waders should have given us a clue that maybe we were under-equipped. We then ate lunch in a sunny spot along the river in hopes that our feet would thaw in the process. All the while the well-fed, uber-aggressive, super-cute squirrels harassed us for a snack and tried to climb into Jason's lap. Next we hiked the Watchman Trail where we enjoyed gorgeous views before we drove back to St. George.

Click here for photos.

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