Thursday, November 5, 2015

Zion National Park


Woke up at Wal-Mart in Phoenix, went in for a bathroom stop, and hit the road for northern Arizona. My plan was to make it to Vermillion Cliffs and Marble Canyon by afternoon time.  It's only 4 or 5 hours so that should be do-able.

{No smoothie this morning.  Still waiting to try out the new blender...}

I drove.  Scott worked.  

At some point after crossing in to Arizona and getting closer to Utah, I realized just how close we were to Zion National Park.  30 miles our of our way!

I'm sorry, but you can't drive that close to Zion and not go.  

Insert a little detour in to our days plans...

I guess I didn't do my research because I had no idea we would be that close.

We stopped for a wifi / work break in Springdale, Utah, at a little coffee/juice cafe. 

Scott worked a little more (since we lost signal driving in southern Utah and he couldn't do anything).  I pretended to work but really was just too excited to finally be in Zion!

After talking to the guy running the coffee shop, we walked down to a bike store to buy some maps to figure out our plan of attack.  

It was already mid-afternoon by that point and we didn't have much time.  But first things first:  we had to eat!

A litte cafe down the road was the perfect spot for some wraps and some map reading.  

This is generally how my trips go.  Unexpectedly come up on something awesome, run through it, call it good.  Scott, however, was not happy at the thought of even going to Zion without spending a week there.  But in we went anyways. :)

It was just as awesome as I thought it was going to be, and we barely scratched the surface.  The main road up the canyon was closed to cars and we didn't have time to take the shuttle in. So we really did only see the southern/outer part.  I loved it anyways. 

Shortly after we entered the actual park, I saw a row of photographers lined up on a bridge.  Not wanting to miss out, I made Scott pull over so I could get get a picture, too.  
(Dragging his feet the whole way and complaining about not wanting to go where everyone else goes...)

I really didn't see what the fuss was all about, but I got my picture anyways. 

The views continued to be incredible, and we weren't anywhere close to The Narrows -- the much more famous part of Zion.  

I took about 50 pictures, but I'll just narrow it down to a few here:



We made a couple of stops for pictures and just to take it all in.  Being surrounded by those giant rock walls makes you feel so small!

We had to drive through a tunnel to get to the other side of the park.  This particular one was built in the 30's, was pitch black on the inside, and very narrow.  In fact, they measured the van before we went in to make sure we fit if we came up on another vehicle coming our direction!

Just on the other side of the tunnel, we parked on the side of the road and hiked to a lookout spot a mile or so down a trail for sunset. 


We found a good spot just in time, but the sunset wasn't really anything to write home about.

The view was still pretty incredible.  Can't complain about this:

While Scott played around with this fancy camera, I tried to get creative with my iPhone:

Once the sun went down and the wind picked up (and I about froze) we hiked back to the car.  In the dark with no headlamps.  And a dead phone.  So smart.

Scott pulled over at one spot on the east side of the park and said he wanted to try and get a shot of the stars.  I took one look outside and said go ahead, I'm cold and staying in the car.  There's not a good view out there anyways.  And 5 minutes later he came back with this:

Guess I was wrong, huh. 

So it was a short but sweet little trip through Zion.  

We drove for another hour or so and stopped for dinner at a little Mexican restaurant in Fredonia, Arizona -- both hungry too tired to cook.  

The service was so bad there again we thought it was going to be a repeat of last night in Vegas.  

^^ Shared an order of veggie fajitas for a healthy-ish meal.  Minus the chips.

I was pretty tired by that point, but Scott said he was good to keep driving. We thought we would try to make it to Jacob Lake for the night.  

At the top of the mountain we were driving over...there was SNOW!  I was planning on warm weather in Arizona.  Not snow.  So I wasn't too pumped about seeing temperatures dropping and this on the side of the road:

I don't know if there was ice on the road or if something else happened, but a semi-trailer definitely caught on fire.


Shortly after passing that, I fell asleep sitting up in the passenger seat, on a windy road, with music blaring.  That should say something about how tired I was.  

Scott drove all the way to Marble Canyon (well past Jacob Lake) and we slept at a little pull-out area on the side of the road.  I literally just got up from the passenger seat and crawled to the bed in the back.  I need more sleep!  

And I won't be getting it tomorrow morning.  We'll be up early.  Sunrise should be one for the books from our next location!

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