Todays plan was to visit Zion NP. Well we both must have been tired and ended up sleeping quite late this morning. I was up first and figured we would just go to Zion this afternoon as it is only 30 minutes away.
Then I went over and talked to the office to let them know I was expecting a package tomorrow. I then saw that Rich and Vicki were sitting out, they also are Beaver owners. So I went over and talked to them, they are here for 6 weeks. They told me a few places to visit and it looks like there is a lot to see here. So I went back and talked to Bonnie. We put Zion on hold for today. Then we decided that we would see if we could stay here another week. So back to the office and I asked Tami and she said she could do it and so we are here until July 12th. Doug her husband was at the office and I sat down and talked to him a little. We chatted for at least 2 hours. His relatives settled this town and his ranch still has over 3000 acres on it. They raise cattle up till they weight 500 pounds and then they sell them.
Once back at the coach Bonnie started supper. We had our first mountain thunder storm. A little lighting and it rained hard for 10 or 20 minutes now its nice and cool 65. We had some pretty gusty wind but now it has settled down. Thats about it for today and we have an A and B plan for tomorrow. Then plan to take it easy for the weekend.
The alarm woke us at 7:00am this morning and we put Plan A into action. We got dressed, ate and headed to Zion National Park. We hoped to be there by 9am. If there was a spot on the Ranger led bus tour we would take it. If not then we would try for Saturday or Sunday. We missed the turn for the visitors center and were a few minutes after 9 when we got parked and walked into the visitors center. We were able to get two seats on the Sunday tour. So Plan A is working. We looked around a little and then headed back to the car. Here are a few pictures from the Visitors Center and the parking lot.
Zion is so different from Bryce. Here we were down in the Canyon. We will see more of the park on Sunday. Today we drove through part of the Park on Route 9. Many beautiful vistas, once again the camera can not capture the 3D that our eyes did, I wish it would so you could share.
We finally got to I-15 and we took it North to. Kola Canyons visitors center which is part of Zion.
Notice how red the parking lot is from the red aggregate that they use, also on the roads in the park.
By this time I realized my error in judgement of not getting fuel on the way up here. We were very low the dash meter said we had 22 miles till empty. But we drove the 10 mile scenic route anyway.
Again a lot of beautiful vistas.
Next we stopped in Cedar City at the All American Diner. It was very busy and the food was very good and ample portions. The pictures speak for themselves.
The next and last stop for the day was the Cedar Breaks National Monument. It is not all that big but is known for their wild flowers. We drove up and up the whole time we were here. I thought we had reached the summit.
No we kept climbing and finally reached the visitors centers.
There were two overlooks at the visitors center and we checked them out. Bonnie also was going on a Ranger talk about the flowers and how they were used by the Native Americans but we had time for the look outs first. They call this the Amphitheater.
As I did the panorama I notice a dark spot on the white rock, so I zoomed in. Some type of animal and it looks like there is something in his mouth.
I had never seen this animal. Its a Peka. They live at high altitudes, did I mention we were up over 10,000 feet and it was in the 50s. The Peka is kin to the rabbit. It has a very thick coat and often gets heat stroke if it is over 80. It is often seen with grass in its mouth.
After Bonnies walk with the Ranger, actually an intern that knew her stuff. We continued our drive and we continued to climb.
The altitude was starting to bother me and I was hoping we would head down soon. We actually went up over 10,600 feet today.
We finally started down and eventually got back to Highway 89 just North of the turn off for Bryce. We headed South and 45 minutes later we were home. We had completed a loop of about 190 miles. We saw a lot of beautiful scenery, what a joy to be able to view God’s handiwork. We were also blessed to have a Bald Eagle fly right over us on the way home. We were tired when we got back. It looks like it rained hard again just before we got back. I walked over to pick up the GPS mount that I ordered from Amazon and thats it for today, it is nice and cool here after the rains.
Today is an R&R Day, rest and relax. Nothing planned for today. We both got up when we wanted to and took it easy. Mid afternoon we headed the 4 miles down to Orderville and had a sandwich at the German bakery and restaurant. The sandwich was good but left me hungry later. Their oven is broke until Tuesday so no fresh bread, Bonnie did pick out a couple desserts. Then back to the coach and early to bed for Sundays return to Zion.
6:30 alarm and we are headed for Zion for our Ranger led bus trip. It was 55 when we left this morning and the car sensor for a low tire lit up on the dashboard. I did stop and check the tires but I know they are very sensitive. After about 20 miles and the tire warmed up the light was off the rest of the day. Note to self add air tomorrow morning while it is still cool. Otherwise it was looking like a beautiful day and there was not much traffic on the way into the park. That would change on the way home. Here are some pictures before the tour. They call this the checkerboard mesa.
Caused by snow, ice and erosion
We saw several herds of Big Horn sheep and even saw a couple mature Rams, was lucky to get stopped and get this shot
There is a mile long tunnel through this mountain completed in 1930.
The hole in the rock is one of the windows for light and ventilation in the tunnel.
This is the view as I stepped out of the car.
We had time to visit the rest room and then it was time to meet the ranger at the flag pole. Let me try to explain how special this tour is. It is free and you can sign up for it 3 days in advance. Friday when we stopped here Friday and Saturday were full, so we were number 9 and 10 for today. Only 27 people take this once a day tour led by a ranger. So we were very lucky, it pays to look at the web sites which is where I heard about this. There are the people this morning at 8:30am waiting in line for about 1 1/2 hours to get on the free shuttle bus, that runs every 5 minutes.
It stretched all the way to the parking lot. Here is our group getting ready to board the bus.
There were 19 of us as a party of 8 did not show up, what a shame 8 people missed out on this opportunity. Once on the bus Ranger Eric took on the persona of Indiana Jones, music, pistol and bull whip.
He made the trip very interesting and told us all about the geology of the park and surrounding area. At one time this whole area was flat. Hard to believe. We made several stops with talks about that spot by Ranger Eric. We stopped at the Human History Museum and they had nice benches set up with this view where we had our first talk.
I don’t know my birds so someone will have to tell us what this one is.
Another stop was here, there is a path and bridge that leads to the Angels Landing Trail. Ranger Eric also showed us signs of the Beavers that live in the banks of the Virgin River here in the park. Not your typical Beaver habitat.
Angels Landing in the background.
This was zoomed in with my camera, these folks are near the top or Angels Landing. It takes about 2 hours to climb if you are in good shape and not afraid of extreme heights and holding on to chains for safety.
Another one of our stops where flash floods used to wash out the road until it was re-engineered 20 years ago.
This is a spot the regular shuttles do not stop at. I could not find it on the map so you have to know where to stop. I believe it is called Mirror Falls. This water has worked it way down through the mountain and after 4000 years exits and keeps the Virgin River flowing all year.
They leave the roof vents open in the busses so that you can look up at the mountains. Here is Zion you are usually looking up as you are in the valley. In Bryce we were on top looking out and down.
Beautiful views everywhere you look.
So we had a great time and learned so much I can’t remember it all. On the way home we stopped in Carmel Junction at the Thunderbird Restaurant, opened in 1931. Known for there Ho-Made Pies. The story is the sign was not big enough for the words Home Made Pies. We had lunch and a piece of pie. Lunch was good but the pies did not look home made to us.
Now we need some more R&R time, 6:30am is way to early for us.
Have a Great time tomorrow as you celebrate INDEPENDENCE DAY.
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