Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 131: Zion National Park, Utah

So we left the Bristlecone Pines in California and headed across Nevada, which took the rest of the day.  We had already spent a little time in Nevada and had been in Las Vegas just a couple of weeks ago.  It wasn't really our scene last time so we just drove right through this time and went into Utah.

Utah has a bunch of National Parks and the first one on our route was Zion, which we'd been looking forward to.

It's incredible!  We liked it right away.

The "Court of the Patriarchs"
Zion is pretty compact and can be done in a day.  Everyone should visit, it's beautiful.

"Weeping Rock"
Zion is layers of shale and sandstone.  Water soaks into the sandstone and eventually eminates from the shale layer, sometimes 1,000 years after it fell from the sky!! 

You can drive most of the length of the valley but it eventually narrows into a nice hiking path....

....that eventually ends in "the Narrows," where the Virgin River starts carving the canyon.  At this point you have to decide whether to get wet or not.

We started wading into the water...

...but the water so was frigid that we only got about 100 yards in and had to turn back.  A hiker coming out told us it got chest deep further in!

On the way out of the park we saw this group of bighorn sheep sunning themselves.

Zion lives up to it's name!

After leaving Zion we headed for Bryce Canyon, which is pretty close but at higher elevation.  I began noticing cars coming towards us covered in snow and dark clouds on the horizon.  We stopped at a gas station and discovered there was a storm ahead at Bryce.  By this time the wind was blowing pretty good and it was cold, too cold for camping, so we turned around and landed at a little B&B.  Here, Angie makes the best of her ramen noodle dinner while Kipper gives his best "what are we doing here?" face.

Of course, breakfast was included, yeah!  Our hosts, Rochelle and Mike, another guest, Katarina, and Angie.  We had a great breakfast and spent nearly two hours chatting.

The historic "Smith Hotel B&B"
If you ever find yourself in Glendale, Utah, this is the place to stay!

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