Sunday, July 29: Bryce to Zion
Due to the late arrival, we slept in a bit, then visited the visitor’s center. We found that Mike could get a special medal if he hiked three short trails or one medium trail, so we decided to hike down to the natural bridge (a “medium” trail).
It was only a mile or two long, but it dropped 800 feet into the canyon. It is misleading, because you start hiking down, and then you have to turn around and hike all the way back up. It is also “misleading” because you are hiking around 7,000 feet, where the air is noticeably thinner than at sea level.
Halfway down, Mike pulled a cord out of his pocket, tied the end around a large pinecone, and led “Piney” for a walk along the trail. At the bottom, he made sure to tie the free end to a log so that Piney wouldn’t run off. :-)
The day started out cloudy, but by the time we started hiking up, the sun began to come out.
When we popped out on the rim, we got some lunch. But while we ate, the clouds thickened, the temperature dropped, and the wind began to pick up.
We stopped by the visitor’s center so that Mike could get his medal. We had planned to hike Mossy Creek, but while we were in the visitor’s center, it started raining. So we decided to skip the hike and just head straight out towards Zion (hour and a half away).
This was a bit different rain than we’ve had before. Rather than localized thunderstorms, this was more like a constant wide-spread rain, more like we have out east.
The mile long tunnel for the East Entrance is interesting. It is narrow and dark. There are no lights in it (other than some “windows” occasionally in the walls). It is also narrow and low, so that when a large vehicle (e.g. an RV) wants to go through. They need to halt normal traffic through it, and than have the RV drive straddling the center line.
We got to Zion, and by that time the rain had mostly petered out. We stopped by the visitor’s center and found that as opposed to 25 years ago, you could not drive in the canyon. You had to take the shuttle. The exception is that as we had reservations at the Zion Lodge, we got a red ticket that allowed us to drive up the canyon as far as the lodge. Beyond that, however, we needed to take the shuttle.
We drove up and checked in. We found that dinner really required reservations, so we went to the restaurant and found that the next opening was almost an hour away, at 8:45. So we drove to a spot nearer the cabin and moved our stuff in. By the time we got settled, it was about time to head over for dinner. They were a little delayed, however, so we didn’t get seated until after 9.
Needless to say, after dinner we just went back to the cabin and hit the sack.