Mount Zion NP, Utah – May 2015
Utah is the state of my dreams. I have longed to spend time there since a coworker showed me her vacation pics 20 some years ago. But other than a brief visit 17 years ago I have not seen any of this wonderful state. I tentatively plan to spend the entire month of May in Utah.
First stop, Zion National Park. The most reasonably priced camping options were in the town of Hurricane, 25 miles from Zion’s entrance. I stayed at a nice park called WillowWind RV Park for a few nights for $33 per night. It was a spacious park with a new laundry and fitness center. And grass! There was lots of grass which I had not seen in a while.
The first full day in the area was a Saturday. I was not about to head to the busiest part of the park on the busiest day of the week so I drove up a beautifully scenic road on the eastern edge of the park called Kolob Terrace Road. It ended at a beautiful mountain lake. I could have kicked myself for not yet purchasing my Utah fishing license when I saw a fellow effortlessly pulling in trout from the lake shore. I headed back down the mountain and stopped to eat my lunch at the Hop Valley Trailhead. I followed my lunch with a hike of a few miles out and back with incredible views.
Most of the other hikers appeared to be in it for the long haul with massive backpacks or pack animals.
I headed to the main part of the park early Sunday morning. The main park road is closed to private traffic and the only way to see it is to ride the shuttle buses. I parked my truck and soon boarded a bus. My number one destination was the end of the road where a path led along the river to the narrows. A very popular hike is to walk to the end of the paved path and then walk along and in the river as the canyon closes in around you. It is impossible to do this hike without getting wet so I didn’t expect it to be very popular this time of year given a high of 60 the day of my visit.
Obviously there are many hardier souls than I as you can see at least a half dozen are wading across the river in this photo and that was just a small portion of the people I saw taking the plunge. I was content with the paved path and gravel bar at the end with this great view. If I am ever in the area in July or August I would definitely like to wade in to the narrows.
Every park seems to have a resident wildlife species to represent them. Big Bend has rattlesnakes, the Grand Canyon has Elk, but Zion has squirrels! They had the friendliest, fattest, most content squirrels I had ever seen. They just sat quietly along the path staring at the hikers ignoring persistent photographers.