Zion Lodge, ZNP, 7/29/12

After breakfast and a walk out to Bright Angel Point, we hit the road to Zion. After about a 3 hour leisurely drive, including a nice stop for lunch in Kanab, we found ourselves marveling once again at a landscape that was different from what we had seen so far. Shortly after entering the east entrance of the park, we pulled off just before the second of two tunnels and walked the Canyon Overlook Trail to, well, the Canyon Overlook. It was hot but spectacular, with a beautiful panoramic view down Zion Canyon that included the very winding road we were about to drive.

From there we pressed on to the Zion Lodge, which is located in the narrow valley between two towering cliffs. This portion of Zion National Park is so busy that you are only allowed to drive your car in if you are staying at the lodge, and even then you can only drive straight to the lodge. Otherwise, it’s all shuttle bus access. Our cabin was comfortable and the experience was nice, but next time we’ll stay in Springdale which is located just outside the park. More restaurants while still maintaining easy access to the park.

Cowboy Bob, ZNP, 7/29/12

Next morning it was up and out to a horseback ride with Cowboy Bob, and what a character he is. Married 49 years (to an obviously very patient woman), he spent 26 years in the Navy (including 3 tours in Viet Nam on river boats) and the rest of his life being a cowboy. He was very funny, in a bad joke kind of way, and provided us with a very pleasurable 1.5 hour ride to The Court of the Patriarchs. Just beautiful and lots-o-fun. We also met a very nice woman from Philly whose husband and sons were hiking the Narrows.

After our horsey experience, we hopped the shuttle to the end of the line at the Temple of Sinawava and walked up the Riverside Walk. This was as crowded as 5th Avenue at lunch time and, although beautiful, there were just too many damn people. We walked a couple of miles then it was back to the lodge for a cold beer. That evening we took a tour on an open air tram with a guide who was a physicist by training. He was a nice, knowledgeable guy who took us around explaining the valley to us in a way we could understand. I just wish it was in a way I could remember, because most of what he said, but not all, is lost to me now. It was a lot of fun and a very mellow evening.

Next morning we were up early and took a quick walk to the Lower Emerald Pool and got some cool photos from behind the waterfall. Then it was time to leave Zion and head to Bryce. We were pleasantly surprised by Zion. It was the park I had probably prepared for the least and therefore knew the least about, but it’s the one that’s probably near the top of the list to go back to. There’s a lot to do (hike the Narrows, hike to Angels Landing) that we didn’t get a crack at this time. We’ll be back.

View of Zion Canyon from the Canyon Overlook, ZNP, 7/28/12

Moon over The Watchman, ZNP, 7/28/12

Court Of The Patriarchs, ZNP, 7/29/12

The Virgin River, ZNP, 7/29/12

The Lower Emerald Pool, ZNP, 7/30/12

The Altar Of Sacrifice, ZNP, 7/30/12