Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just a girl and her dream

What a week it has been.  I have been in love with slot canyons ever since I saw a picture of one in National Geographic.  Slot canyons are narrow canyons carved out of sandstone by water.  In another few million years, they will be huge canyons, but for now, they are just wide enough to get a few people in.  And they are gorgeous!

About 17 years ago, when we brought Jason out here, I had researched slot canyons and all of them were way out in the desert, inaccessible to most and required climbing and repelling skills I was not up to.  So imagine my delight when I found out there is now tours that take you right up to the front of one and guide you through it!  Yippeeeee!

So we took these people movers, along with a few hundred other folks, on a bumpy ride out into the desert: -

There are 8 more of these to my right - we're talking a lot of people.

  Right to the entrance of the slot canyon.  No hiking involved!

the entrance, looking pretty non-descript, but just wait....
there is magic inside!

I was giddy with excitement, and then began to panic when my photos just were not coming out they way I wanted them to - I kept playing with the shutter speed and f-stops, and the tour guide kept pressing us along like cattle.  I was about to cry when I finally figured it out.  Ahhh....the perfect picture - a photographers orgasm!

It looks like a bear, doesn't it?  The wonderful tour
guide showed us just where to stand to get this shot!  See it?

The sun creates these gorgeous colors and shadows as it shines
through the slim openings at the top.

Don't be fooled.  There is a crowd of people
all around me, and just out of the shot is
a tour guide poking the sand to make
it trickle!

See what I mean?  Elbow to elbow

This is the smile of one happy girl at the end.  We got to go back
through in the opposite direction, but I used the second
time through to take it all in without worrying
about getting the perfect picture.  Another
entry checked off the bucket list!

So we spent the last few days in Page resting and recovering and then packed it all in again and headed to Utah.  We stopped for a stretch break at a pull off we saw for a National Parks Historical Site called Pipe Spring.  It was an interesting history lesson about how the native Paiute Indians, the Mormon Pioneers and the Federal Government struggled over who controlled the water springs, over culture clash and polygamy.  To read about it, check out this website:

The house is built right over the spring
A spiny lizard.  You know I love me some lizards!

I love old linens, so of course it caught my eye on the house tour

A cute doll in the kids room
The early travel trailers....and I thought WE were roughin' it!! LOL

 We are staying in a beautiful campground called Willow Woods in the town of Hurricane, Utah.  Its beautiful here - this is the bank parking lot.  Can you imagine seeing this everyday?

We drove into Zion National Park.  I had picked out two of the easier trails from the park brochure.  The first one we went to was called the "Canyon Overlook Trail".  It involved driving a series of switchbacks, winding back and forth as we drove higher and higher, and then through a mile long tunnel straight through the rocks.

See those squiggles in the valley? That's the road, and then we drove through
the mountain on the left side of the picture...

Good thing we weren't pulling the trailer, because
larger vehicles have to have an escort through the tunnel so
they can drive right down the middle.  They have to stop
all other traffic and charge $15 to do it.

So once you are pretty high up, we had to jostle for a parking space at the trail head, and climbed up some steps.  The rest of the trail was fairly even, but pretty treacherous in places, with narrow paths and steep drop offs.  This trail had hand rails, some of the trails in the park don't.  So we trekked to the end of the 1/2 mile trail, and wow, it was worth it!

If this is an easy trail, I'm glad I didn't go for the hard ones!

Noel didn't think I would be fast enough to catch him.
I have the reflexes of a Ninja!

Noel hates heights, but even he admitted the view
was amazing!  And the chinese tourists up there were cracking
us up.  We didn't know what they were saying, but 
"oooooohhhhhh" is universal!

We saw some really pretty wildflowers along the way!

I was SOOOOO excited to see big horned sheep
as we got back to the parking lot

Someone pointed them out, or I would never have seen them!

So we went back into town for some lunch and stopped a rock shop (surprise!)

Since the park was so crowded, the parking lots were full.  Most of the park is not open to vehicles, but shuttles take you through the park.  It eliminates traffic congestion and is a lot easier on the wildlife.  So we took the shuttle:

to the Emerald Pool trail.  There are three of these "pools", but we only hiked to the first one on the paved trail, but it was a beautiful walk, and there were a few trickling water falls by the pool.  We saw some beautiful birds, some mule deer, and we kept hearing this loud chorus of sounds that we finally figured out were TREE FROGS!  Specific to the Virgin River, these golden tree frogs echoed through the canyon.

We were watching this raven - he would carefully stalk, then strike, and every single time he got a frog.  I took a bunch of pictures, and of course he would always have his back to me, but I managed a few pics.  If you look carefully, you can see him thrashing the frog in its beak, then pulling it apart to eat it!

Don't forget you can click on the pictures
to make them larger....

Poor little frog....

And so ended our Zion adventure.  Today I rested while Noel took the truck in to get two new tires.  Turns out that unpaved road through Monument Valley left a pretty good sized gash in one of the side walls of the rear tires.  Sigh.  Its always something!  Tomorrow, its Vegas or Bust!

1 comment:

beth cole barrineau said...

Slot canyons to driving through tunnels built though huge rock?! The wildlife, the flowers and the trails you climb!! Just amazing Anna ~ Thanks for sharing your fun!