One of the funny signs at Porter’s Restaurant.
Woke up realizing that this would be the last day of the first week of the trip. As usual, these things seemed to speed by too fast. When you’re a child, the hours seem to crawl by. Now, when I can enjoy the time, it seems to fly by at the speed of light.
We’re watching you.
The night before I was told by the owner of the hotel that my favorite breakfast place in Springdale, Porters (also known as Wiley’s because of the Roadrunner and Coyote decor) was closed. I am happy to report that this was not true, and I popped over there for a very good breakfast and lots of coffee. The waitress was very personable, and I had to ask her if the Buzzard statues over some of the booths had meaning. She laughed, and said that sometimes the staff turned the heads to look at a particular booth.
Walking toward The Narrows.
My handy-dandy Annual Pass got me through the gate to Zion, and I was soon in the parking lot waiting for the shuttle bus. As said in the last blog, the day before was the last day people could take cars deep into the park. They have too many visitors, and the road would soon be clogged. Fortunately they had a very good shuttle bus system, with a bus coming by each of the eight stops every five minutes or so. The buses were not crowded, and there was no wait, as there was last time. I think they were getting them ready for the rush, before they would be packed. Good thinking, as a couple of the buses broke down while I was in the park. Fortunately none of the vehicles I rode on. Just like last time I rode all the way to the end, to the Temple of Sinawava and the entrance to the narrows. I walked a short ways along the Virgin River, taping. The narrows are popular, but to my way of thinking too dangerous. If you’re an hour in when a flash flood hits, you could be in real trouble. Remember that term if you come out west. Flash Flood. They are real, and they are dangerous. An entire family had been swept away outside of Phoenix in July of 2017. And you would have to walk through cold water the entire way.
The Virgin River.
Zion will feature prominently in my post-apocalyptic work. It has water, trees, and sandstone cliffs that can be tunneled into. It also is defensible, with easily guarded entrances. And it’s geologically active. They have had river diverting landslides in the recent past, and expect to have them in the near future. The rocks are fantastic, cliffs everywhere. They have mule deer and California Condors (see, everyone with sense is trying to get out of California, including the birds). There are supposed to be some terrific hikes up the canyon walls, but in my current state of health they aren’t for me. Hopefully someday. There are also warning signs showing a figure about to hit a hard surface, with printed warning that it is possible to fall off the trails. So don’t go up with someone you don’t trust, though going up with someone you hate might be a plan.
You have been warned. People do fall off the cliffs, as the infographic shows.
I rode back through the park, stopping at each bus stop to get some video, then riding the next one to come along when I was ready. So I went to Angels Landing, Zion Lodge and Emerald Pools Trail. I walked in a bit on Emerald Pools Trail and got some great shots. Back at the visitor’s center I bought a book on the geology of the canyon and headed out looking for lunch. I know I could get the information online, but I still like to curl up with a book. The only problem I have is the weight restriction on airline bags, or I would come back with a hundred pounds of books. There was a restaurant through the pedestrian entrance to the park. Tired of all the burgers I had had over the last week, I ordered the fish n chips at the Zion Canyon Brewing Company. The lunch was okay, the service was good, and I got a meal in me before going back into the park to get my car and drive up the high road.
Cliff walls at Zion.
The High Road is Zion-Mt. Carmel Hwy, or Hwy 9. It goes upward on the canyon wall through six switchbacks before getting to the one mile long tunnel. Spectacular views, and a lot of traffic this day. A slight bit of drizzly rain, but fortunately not while I was driving or taping. The first time I came this way it blew my mind. I knew what to expect this time, so it wasn’t as much of a rush, but still gorgeous. On the other side of the tunnel is a different part of the park. There’s another short tunnel up the way, and a lot of pullovers so you can look at and take pictures of some of the most spectacular geology I have ever seen. Mountains like Checkerboard Mesa, several side canyons, and rock layers at various angles that defied my ability to explain how they had gotten that way. I video taped the entire way, then did the way back as well. Driving these routes, each way is completely different, since you are approaching them at different angles. I told the ranger at the park entrance up here that this was my favorite part of the park. She said that most people like the lower area the most, and I told her, ‘yes, but they don’t know geology.’
Shuttle Bus at Zion.
After leaving the park I drove up a couple of side streets in Springdale to catch some different views of the canyon, and stopped at the gift shop across the street from my hotel to redeem my coupon, then over to Zion Outdoor to pick up a day pack to replace the cheap Russian one I had brought with me, the one that had fallen apart. And another full day was in the books. I repaired back to my hotel to eat leftover pizza, not knowing that a couple of surprises would meet me in the morning.