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Tuesday, July 31: Zion

Thursday, August 02: Bryce

Wednesday, August 01: Zion to Bryce

The early moring is magic

It is magical to get up and see the early morning sun lighting up the tops of the west rim, while the lower canyon is still in the shadow of the east rim. It is a glorious sight that you wouldn’t have unless you were staying in the park.

I still think that Zion is one of my favorite parks. Looking up at those huge walls and monoliths in the early morning or late day sun, or reflected in the river is magical.

Unfortunately, this was to be our last day in Zion.

We had been planning to hike up the river this day, but with the unusual rain storm the previous night, the river was still an ugly brown color. Even if wading in it was allowed, it was very unappealing.

Spiny Cacti

We packed up the car, and then drove to the human history museum. Then we drove to the visitor’s center to ask about east side hiking. The short answer is that there are no real trails out there because it is all slickrock and you can hike wherever you want. The only real trail is to the canyon overlook.

We drove back to the lodge and had lunch (and an ice cream), then we left the valley. We drove up through the tunnel (after waiting for buses to come through in the other direction). We missed the parking lot for the overlook trail, as it is *immediately* after the tunnel.

We drove to the Checkerboard Mesa, then returned to the overlook trail. Along the way we spied some bighorn sheep Michael opted to wait in the car, so it was just Amy and myself that hiked to the overlook. It features some exposure, but a lot of railings. It has one walkway over air, but also a large underhang that it goes through.

Bighorn Sheep
Baby Bighorn Sheep
Underhang on Valley Overlook Trail

I found that particularly with a railing, a measly 100 foot drop didn’t really faze me. However, when we got to the valley overlook, I found that a thousand foot drop definitely did bother me, railing or not. This is so strange as I wouldn’t survive a fall down either one.

Valley Overlook

Then we left the park.

Things to do next time: * Hike up to the narrows * Hike around the slickrock on the east side * Get a ride (somehow) to Ponderosa, then hike down the East Rim trail to weeping Rock * Hike up to hidden canyon * Hike the Subway (requires permit ahead of time)

We watched lightning ahead of us as we drove out of the park. Just after we turned north we caught the rain, although it most petered out by the time we got up even with Bryce.

The Red Canyon is wonderful, but the lighting was mediocre with the clouds and drizzle. With all of the rain, we didn’t really relish the thought of camping. So we checked out the hotels just outside the park, but they were full. So we drove to Tropic, about 10 miles east, and got an inexpensive room there.

We then drove to the park and had dinner at their lodge. Afterwards, we drove to Bryce Point and Sunset Point, and the sights were wonderful, despite the muddy sun. I’m really looking forward to visiting it again tomorrow morning when the sun is out.

Bryce Canyon
Deer at Bryce

Then as the sun set (behind the clouds) we drove back to the hotel, watched some Olympics, and then hit the sack.

Up to West Trip 2012 main page

Tuesday, July 31: Zion

Thursday, August 02: Bryce