Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hiking Upper Zion

One of the things we looked forward to most on our Thanksgiving trip to Zion was hiking. We hiked every day that we were there. A lot of it was done in the upper areas of the park. We drove up to and through the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel to the higher elevations. From there, we followed directions we'd found on the internet for various hikes.

The weather was perfect...sunny, cool but warm enough to wear short sleeves and sometimes a light jacket, and the sky was always changing. Sometimes whispy clouds would pass through, making beautiful patterns in the sky...


At other times, the sky was so incredibly blue that it was almost neon!...


The ever changing landscape and views were incredibly HUGE...


And, beautiful...


We hiked over solid rock hills and big boulders...


And, through fine, super soft, beautiful, amazing feeling sand.


We saw some weird rocks like this one with dips, lines and bumps...


And, this imprint-like spot that looked like something on the rock but it was actually part of the rock. We couldn't figure it out...


Our favorite hike of this whole trip was called "Many Pools". When I saw pictures of it online, I was fascinated and wanted to go. It didn't disappoint! It was fun, amazing, and beautiful!

The trail was almost totally on solid sandstone rock which provides a nice grippy surface, making it easy to walk on, and to go up steep surfaces. The trail followed the path water takes when it drains over and down the sandstone mountain. It's dotted with pools of water like this...


The pools were in all sorts of shapes.


Most were small...


Some were large. This one was like a bathtub...but dry...


Every few steps and every turn had new, beautiful and amazing sites. We took sooo many pictures!


I love the reflection in this one...


Some were deep...


Or, sprinkled with tiny golden leaves...


This one was larger and had an interesting texture on the bottom. It looked deep and the water color was different than the rest...


We kept imagining what the area would look like during or after heavy rains. It would be fun to see all the pools full. Of course, we wouldn't actually dive into one, they're too small, but my daughter thought it would make for a funny photo...


We later realized that if we had gone just a little further, we would have gotten a view of the main part of Zion Canyon from the top. Oh well, next time! But, where we decided to turn around was gorgeous...


We spent some time there just soaking in the views, the silence, and the peacefullness. In this picture, my husband and I are lounging on the rock. Ahhhh...


The views going down were just as spectacular...




At the bottom, we found the bridge/tunnel we were supposed to cross through at the start...


It was built in the 1930's and made out of Sandstone from the area.


The other side opened up to beautiful fall colors...


While we were at the top, we hiked the short Canyon Overlook trail that looked down into the canyon where the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel takes off from. There were steep sections; railing in some parts where it dropped off to sheer cliffs; and even a little walkway that took us around a rock, under an overhanging rock, and over a deep ravine...


It probably wasn't the best time of day for pictures but the views were spectacular...




We did the overlook hike on Thanksgiving afternoon. We brought hiking snacks appropriate for the day. We had pumpkin pie Cliff Bars and dried cranberries. We had planned to get some turkey jerkey but forgot when we were at the store. It was a fun idea but the pumpkin energy bars weren't very good and didn't taste anything like pumpkin pie.


At the end of our hike, we went back through the tunnel. Here's a view of it from just above the road...


From the other side, down inside the canyon, you can look up to see the vents/windows in the tunnel that we drove by when we were inside. There's one in this photo, it's the dark arch near the bottom. It's incredible that they were able to do this. And, that they built it in the 1920's or so.


Above this arch and on the top right of the rock is where we were standing when we looked down into the canyon...


The size of the rocks is incredible. And, even though we were looking at them everyday that we were there, and could compare them to the size of large trees and other things around, it's still hard to totally comprehend their immenseness.


If you look carefully near the bottom of this photo (you can click on it to make it larger), you can see a small blue dot. That's a man climbing!


The views in Zion are constantly changing as the sun moves across the sky. The orange glow in the late afternoon is especially pretty and drew small crowds of visitors every afternoon in some of the best sunset viewing locations. It made for an extra pretty drive back down the canyon...


What a wonderful day we had! The scenery was incredible, the wildlife (BigHorn Sheep...see the previous post) was so cool, and the time with my husband and daughter, priceless!

At the end of the day, we went back for showers, clean clothes, cooked a yummy Thanksgiving dinner, and enjoyed a relaxing night in our cozy warm trailer.

More photos and stories coming soon from our Thanksgiving, Zion adventure. I hope you'll come back. :-)

Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to say "hi" and leave a comment before you leave. They are always so appreciated. :-)

4 comments:

jomamma said...

Wow, talk about a bucket list location. That's awesome!

Sandra said...

that is just awesome. Incredible pictures. thanks for sharing it, especially with this Canadian looking out at sloppy snow right now...

Erin @Days to Remember said...

Goregous! I'd like to go there sometime.

vicki said...

I loved every single photo! What an incredible hiking adventure you had!! Would you mind to tell me the names of the hikes that you took here? I would love to write these down in my notes so that we could do these when we go back. Your photos here are just magnificent!

Vicki