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Monolith, Zion NP, Utah
12th May 2008
Zion national park

Zion national park's main drag is Zion Canyon, a very deep valley bounded on all sides by huge sandstone monoliths.  They are very imposing, yet graceful at the same time.

I took a ranger tour in the morning, a great way to get an orientation to and history of any park.  Of course natives were here at one stage, but they left, possibly because of repeated flash floods, to be replaced in the 1860s by Mormons.

After that I took some brief walks, one alone the river, one to the Weeping Rock, and one to the Emerald Pools.  Zion sits far above all other parks in that it operates a free eco-friendly shuttle to take you up and down the valley.  What a great idea!  Saves on gas, stress, and pollution. [posthumous edit:  oh if only Yellowstone would do the same, it would mean one could enjoy the park rather than being in a traffic jam for 3 days]

In the afternoon I embarked upon my most strenuous, scary and difficult hike yet.  I went to to the very top of the Angel's Landing, which had me rise nearly 2000' (600m) above the valley floor.  The first few miles were winding hairpins, but the last half mile goes across the very top of a narrow fin.  It's so narrow that at one stage I could see an 1800 (550m) foot drop just a foot each side of my toes. I am quite a fast hiker, bordering on recklessly so at times, but on this hike I used all four limbs and held the guide chains tightly.  This was particularly important during the very final stages, where I was scrambling over rocks and roots.  The views at the end were worth every step - up and down the entire valley.

Last night's camping was fine, fun actually.  This was helped in no small part by the fair temperature.

 In the evening I went to a ranger program about the fauna of Zion.  He pulled out from a tiny suitcase, Mary Poppins-style, a vast array of hides of animals of the park, including wolf and mountain lion.  Did you know that coyote are extremely clever, and that they learn tricks to con the visitors?  One coyote was limping from an injury, and the visitors fed him in pity.  Within two weeks all the other coyote had developed fake limps.

Tomorrow I will drive to Grand Canyon via Monument valley.  A bit of a detour, but it's on my hit-list.

Next: Monument Valley
Previous: Bryce day 2, Zion national park

Diary Photos

Monolith, Zion NP, Utah

Angel`s Landing, Zion NP, Utah

Wild turkey, Zion NP, Utah

Waterfall at Emeral Pools, Zion NP, Utah

Winding trail up to Angel`s Landing, Zion NP, Utah

Narrow trail at Angel`s Landing, Zion NP, Utah

View south from Angel`s Landing, Zion NP, Utah

View north from Angel`s Landing, Zion NP, Utah

Hiking Hero, Zion NP, Utah

View 2000` down, Zion NP, Utah

Prickly pear blooms, Zion NP, Utah

Patriarch monoliths, Zion NP, Utah

Hides of Zion Park fauna

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