Thursday, April 17, 2014

Observation Point

We had a big hike planned for the very last day of our Spring Break trip to Zion National Park.
We were heading up to Observation Point which is located at the end of the main canyon of the park and has spectacular views.  The hike is eight miles round trip with over 2000 feet of elevation gain.  It's recommended to plan on five to six hours or more to complete it.  We got everything ready the night before and left early Friday morning to get a parking spot at the bottom and get started.
The temps were in the low thirties that morning and it was a sunny, beautiful day.

The hike started out with steep switchbacks up the side of the cliff.  Then, all of a sudden the trail took a turn into an amazing canyon.  This is a lower portion of Echo Canyon.  It's a popular canyoneering canyon.  People hike up to a section of it and rappel down steep sections and swim through others.  It's the swimming part that may keep me from doing this one.  Some of the water is mucky from sitting in holes for long periods of time.  Ewww!  Plus, I get cold easy and a nervous when I can't touch or see the bottom.  That's my husband standing on the edge and looking down.
For this hike, we were just passing by Echo on our way to the top.

A little further up and the trail went under an overhang and along the
edge above Echo Canyon.  The drop at the right goes into Echo...

This is looking back into that overhanging area.
Hubby's taking a photo of our daughter...

Here's that same section.  The crack on the left looks down into Echo...

You can see some water way down at the bottom...

This is that same section later in the day with a glow from the sun...

The colors in some of the rocks was incredible.
Some even had interesting patterns...

This one looks like someone painted it...

We saw sections of rock that day that were vibrant yellow/gold
(much more intense than how it looks in the picture).

This rock had red/orange, yellow, white and black.  So cool!

The trail was steep a lot of the way and parts of it required
courage and mental focus to keep from freaking out!
Check out the sheer cliff drop off!

Our daughter is very afraid of heights.  So this was a big accomplishment for her.  She kept focused and moving forward...sometimes with tears in her eyes.  But, she wanted to do it and did!  Yay!  
We stuck by her for reassurance and encouragement.

I did pretty well most of the time.  Although, there was a few minutes near the top when my mind wandered into the zone of, "oh my gosh, that drops straight to the bottom....keep going, keep going!"  I just had to sit down in place for a moment to pull my mind back so I could get up and keep going.

Luckily, the amazing scenery, colors, and pretty flowers were a nice distraction.
Many of them were growing out of the side of the rock cliffs.  The red on these is so pretty!

This little bush was growing out of a rock wall.
It had itsy bitsy, teenie, tiny berries or buds on it.

I wish I could have gotten a better photo of the color combo in this purple flower plant.
The leaves were a bluish green and I thought the combination was unique and interesting.
I kept thinking of a friend who dyes yarn and how she might find it interesting too.
I wonder how that color combination would look on yarn?  Hmmm?

There weren't a lot of flowers in the park yet or on this trail.
So, the few we saw were a treat.  Here are some cute little pink ones...

The start of the the trail is near Weeping Rock.  It's an area where water seeps from the rocks year around.  The water and shade in that area provide the perfect conditions for different varieties of
 moss, tiny plants, and lichen to grow.  They were delicate, pretty and interesting.

The top of the trail was a mesa and the soil was an intense and beautiful orange color.

The views were spectacular from the top!
That's Zion Canyon!


We probably would have sat there for quite a while but there was a little problem.
A bunch of these little guys were running around everyone, trying to find food, and 
even getting on people.  Kind of scary!  I wouldn't want to get bit!

The one next to me (in white) jumped on the guy near
me (in blue) and nibbled on his hand! Yikes!

Speaking of critters, look what we saw on the drive into the canyon that morning.
It was a huge Tom turkey.  He was not happy that the cars were driving by him and his "girls".
He was fluffed up, making weird noises and threatening the cars.  He was huge and a little scary.
We took this photo from the car window!  Check out the brilliant blue on his head.

Here's one of his "girls" crossing the road...

The hike to Observation Point was amazing!  It was mentally and physically challenging but worth every step and every bit of fear we overcame.  And, we're really glad we got to do it.  Soon after we got home, my husband read that they're planning to close it for maintenance. So, we did it just in time.


Mereknits said...

Good for you completing that amazing walk. I bet you were overwhelmed by all the beauty around you.

Connie said...

Your photos are wonderful. I have always dreamed of going to Zion.
Maybe someday :)
Happy Easter,
Connie :)

Laney said...

Well done to your daughter, I don't think I could have done it as I too suffer with a phobia of heights, she did really well. Love the colour of the rock and the view is amazing if I was gently swaying on my chair here in the kitchen!

Delighted Hands said...

So much beauty! What a great hike...areal memory-maker!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Yay for all of you! Amazing hike! I can remember hiking in Colorado when I was younger and looking over the edge of cliffs. Scary stuff. But rewarding! That turkey is gorgeous! Best wishes, Tammy

Laurie said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful place to be.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

That is such a gorgeous place to visit and see some amazing sights! I hiked it that area....years ago. Our hiking here in Florida is so easy...everything is flat! lol Love that little critter that joined you! What a fabulous trip! Hugs, Diane