I'm finding it hard to describe in words what we're seeing here at Zion National Park. The harder I try the less satisfied I am with the result. We've been taking a ton of photos too but even the best of those don't do a complete job of adequately expressing the sensory experience of the Park. To really know Zion, you've got to come here and see it for yourself. It's really something.
But the photos are the best thing we've got. Dar is busy everyday selecting the right pics, adding captions, and uploading more to our photo gallery -- check them out -- [Link]
Yesterday, Thursday, we drove to the furthest point up-canyon it's possible to drive. From there, we hiked another mile along the Virgin River into the narrowing and rising canyon, to where the path ends at a place called the narrows. At that point the walls of the canyon are so narrow that to proceed further entails walking in the river itself and it's possible to continue in that fashion for some considerable distance. But the chilly temps and brisk biting wind yesterday kept our urge to do so in check.
What we did see as we drove along the Canyon Road were rock climbers. A flash of color or movement caught my attention as we motored along... it might have been a floater... no, I think it's a climber. Stop. And sure enough, with binoculars, we saw not one, but three sets of people clinging to the vertical side of the canyon wall on the other side of the river. At the pull-off, while gawking, I struck up a conversation with a young couple from Colorado who appeared to be preparing packs and gear for some kind of adventure. They too, it turns out, are climbers and they were heading over to scale the same wall the others were velcro'd to. Their plan was to scale the first 300 feet, leave their ropes in place, drop down to river level and camp for the night. The next morning, with an early start, they'll make it all the way to the top.
I asked how high the canyon wall is at that point. They looked at each other and shrugged, "That would probably be a good thing to know, wouldn't it?" When pressed, they guessed it was about 1500 feet. I got the impression that it really didn't matter much to them, but I hoped they had enough rope.
We did a couple other short hikes during the rest of the afternoon. It's hard to walk far when we stop every 20 or 30 feet to take more pictures of this or that from slightly different angles, with different shadows, different amounts of bright sun. We saw mule deer all over the place -- they're very tame and seem to take as much interest in us as we do in them.
And we finished the day by joining Mike Fousie and two other couples from the State of Washington for dinner at Oscar's Cafe in Springdale. We know Mike from a rally we all attended almost two years ago in Arizona. He's from the Portland area originally and now travels fulltime in his Newmar motorhome. He does a lot of volunteering, which is the reason he's at Zion... camp hosting at the South Campground just up the road from Watchman. We had a wonderful time getting to know one another and the evening ended much too quickly.
In Zion National Park...