Saturday, March 30, 2013

About That Last Week at Zion (March 24 - 30)

Dear Family and Friends,

How can a month go by so quickly? We have loved our time at Zion, but are ready to head in a north easterly direction to Moab, Utah. We leave on Monday, April 1st. Though our month at Zion has been spectacular, we are ready for a new view from our front window.

The last week at Zion found us hiking, biking and enjoying Spring time blooms. On Sunday morning we decided to brave the crowds at Zion and go for an early morning hike, hopefully beating the crowds that arrived for Easter. Imagine our surprise when we found the park trams in use. We had to take one of these to our destination, Weeping Rock, for the trail head that takes us up into Hidden Canyon. Previously we had been able to drive our car to the trail head to hike, but with tram usage, only vehicles staying at Zion Lodge are allowed past the Visitors Center. Visiting Zion National Park is much less hectic before Easter, because that is when the crowds really descend into this beautiful part of Utah.

On the drive into the park, we passed orchards where the trees were sprayed with water to protect them from the night freezes that we experienced Saturday and Sunday nights. The trees appeared quite magical with their boughs covered in ice.


 The Hidden Canyon hike is considered a strenuous one, with long drop offs along the way. Our path followed along a steep cliff face to a narrow canyon. The pictures are mostly in the shade because we were so early.

 Though there were chains in certain areas on the trail, Hidden Canyon was not nearly as scary as Angel's Landing.

 This picture shows the steep drop off of the trail.

The picture below shows the tram that moves people around the park. Without them, the car back ups would be horrible.

So what has Bear been doing at Zion when he could not go hiking with us? Below is a picture of an exhausted Bear after a day at doggy daycare. We found a wonderful place near us called Doggie Dudes. Bear has been going two days a week to learn how to get along with other dogs. We had noticed that he was becoming much more dog aggressive in the RV parks when we walk him on a leash. He actually spends so much time with us that he thinks he is human and as a result thinks he does not have to get along with others. We love our boy, but he has got to be able to relate to other dogs. With Doggie Dudes help, Bear is doing much better.

A very tired Bear after a day at Doggy Dudes


 Melissa adores Bear and she is a big part of his success at Doggy Dudes

Spring is here at Zion. The fruit trees are in bloom with lots of color. The hardwood trees are just beginning to bud.

 Our last hike in the Zion area was on Wednesday at the Red Cliffs area. That is such a great place because there are very few people and Bear can go off leash. The pictures below show that hike.

Sometimes you have to work very hard to get that pic. Here Roger has a steep fall on his right and a prickly sage on his left.

Do you ever wonder where the tumbleweeds go? I do and I found a bunch of them at this fence. This is a favorite picture of mine because it depicts the wooden fence with the tumbleweeds and the mountains in the background. Yee Haa, y'all!

Next Sunday's blog will come to you from Moab, Utah. We will be there for a month. Thank you for joining us as we continue exploring this beautiful land. Happy Easter to all of you.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

About That 100th Blog (March 17 - 23)

Dear Family and Friends,

Can you believe it? This is my 100th blog! The time has flown by as Roger and I have chronicled our adventures on the road in this RVing lifestyle. With our two year anniversary coming up next month (I will have stats and thoughts on that in April), it does give me pause to think about how quickly our traveling time is going. Yes, it is still so much fun!

We are now into our third week at Zion National Park. We have noticed how popular the park has become and were thrilled to have had it basically to ourselves during the first part of March. Now it is time to share it with many more people. The park system does a great job of getting people to their various destinations through the use of buses. The park buses will start running at the end of this month.

On Saturday, Roger and I hiked in the Kolob Canyon. This canyon is part of Zion National Park, but located off of I-15, instead of the main road into Zion. We chose a moderate hike called Taylor Creek. This beautiful hike took us along Taylor Creek and into a canyon with incredibly steep walls. We experienced a sharp temperature change, complete with snow, as we finished the hike. This hike takes you past two pioneer cabins and ends with two arches. The pictures below show this beautiful part of Zion.

 This hike means crossing Taylor Creek many times.

 The first pioneer cabin on the hike.

 Snow still covers the creek with the water flowing beneath the snow.

 More snow as we get further into the canyon.

 The second pioneer cabin

I love this life!

 Two arches at the end of the hike

Time to turn around.

My brother Warren and Lea returned to the area for the weekend. That meant lots of fun!!! Lea prepared a delicious St. Patrick's Day dinner. The four of us did a demanding bike ride on Tuesday and then they had to return to Park City. Thank you for the great hospitality, Warren and Lea.

On Thursday, Roger, Bear and I drove 90 miles to Bryce National Park. Spending just a day at Bryce was not enough, but it did give us our hoodoo fix. Bryce is known for it's curious rock formations, caused by time and erosion. They are called hoodoos.

Bryce sits at 9,000 feet in places, thus winter (snow and ice) was seen throughout the park. At the highest point on our tour of the park, the temperature was 39 degrees. Brrrrrr!

Tourist season runs April through the first part of November, though the park is open year round.

 Roger and Bear are ready to tour Bryce

 HooDoos in the distance

 Thor's Hammer is the tall hoodoo in the center front of this picture. Bryce uses it as a logo.

 The southern end of the park

 Natural Bridge

What a great third week we had in southern Utah. Thank you for checking in with us. Next week is our fourth and final week at Zion. Learn what Bear has been doing in the 101st blog.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

About That Second Week in Zion (March 10 - 16)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Zion National Park. We have now completed week 2 in this beautiful spot. Imagine our surprise to find it snowing in the upper portions of the mountains on Sunday morning. A trip into Zion during the afternoon yielded these beautiful shots. It looked as if confectioner's sugar had been sifted in the mountain tops.

With the warm sun heating up the snow, it was not too long until we found more than 10 waterfalls created by the snowmelt.

 Mule deer are in the park along with fox, turkeys and other creatures.

 Angel's Landing
Our favorite hike

On Monday we decided to go for a hike along the Virgin River at Sinawava that leads to a hike called The Narrows. This hike is known for it's unique characteristic of hiking through the water, as it is here that the Virgin River "narrows" with only twenty feet separating the walls of the canyon. At this time of year, a wetsuit is needed to reach the end.

 At this point, there is no longer a bank to walk on, only the river.

On the way out of the park we decided to visit the Court  of the Patriarchs. Named by a Methodist minister in the 1800's, these mountain tops rise more than 8,000 feet.
 Abraham, Isaac, Mt. Moroni and Jacob are the names of the mountains at Court of the Patriarchs.

These boots are made for hiking!

On Wednesday, we took a car trip to Mountain Meadows Massacre Site. It is 35 miles south of Cedar City. In 1857, the Baker-Fancher Party, from Arkansas and on the way to California along the Spanish Trail, were massacred by the Mormons, who lived in the area. The history of this event is very complicated and hard to understand the slaughter of 120 men, women and children who were passing through the area. The Mormon Church and federal government in the form of the park service maintain the site.

The burial area

Mountain Meadow, the site of the slaughter

On Thursday, we did two hikes in the Red Cliffs area. Our first hike, the Red Reef Trail, found us in the bright red sandstone of Utah. This is Bureau of Land Management, thus Bear was welcomed on the hike.

Yes, Bear is ready!

Lots of rock climbing on this trail

Bear spent half of the time in the creek that runs along the hike.

You can imagine what a dirty Bear we had when this hike was over. He loved it!

Our second hike was in Cottonwood Canyon, part of the Red Cliff area. It was a much easier hike. 

On Friday we took a bike ride in nearby Hurricane, Utah at Sandy Hollow State Park. It was a great ride.

Our hike on Saturday will be in next week's blog. We have had an absolutely incredible week number two in Zion National Park. Thank you for checking in with us. Next week will feature the 100th blog of our travels. We appreciate your interest in our travels.