Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Escalante and a Hole in the Rock

Barbara, Ron, and I moved on to Escalante and parked at the beginning of Hole in the Rock Road. The next morning I awoke to a beautiful rainbow.

We went to the Escalante Heritage Center in town. They have a model of one of the wagons used to go through the Hole in the Rock.

In January 1880, Mormon pioneers, looking for a shortcut to SE Utah, lowered horses, cattle, and 80 wagons down to the river through this crack in the rock.

Since this was before the river was dammed, the drop to the river below was nearly 2000 feet with an average grade of 25 degrees, although some places were as steep as 45 degrees. It looks even steeper than that.

Back in 2009, I got a view of the Hole in the Rock from the water when I was on the houseboat. Looked pretty scary.

We drove down Hole in the Rock Road as far as Devil's Garden. We walked around all the hoodoos -

Ending up at the famous arch.

The road was pretty muddy, and I got a little dirty, although not as bad as some others I saw.

On our final day I went for a hike along the Escalante River to Escalante Natural Bridge.

It's an easy hike, except for the 4 river crossings each way.

This little Plateau Lizard thought I was being kind of a wimp...

But I finally got to the Natural Bridge. It's the 5th largest in Utah, after Rainbow Bridge and the 3 in Natural Bridges National Monument.

There's also a nice arch a half mile further. You can either hike farther or zoom in on it, like I did...

I'll end things with another shot of our great rainbow.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Just a Few More Pictures of Bryce

Fairyland Point is the northernmost overlook in the park, actually before the entrance station.

Behind Barbara and Ron you can see the Sinking Ship going down.

We also did a short hike from Sunrise Point -

Walking along the Rim Trail -

To Inspiration Point.

I just loved how the hoodoos were different colors.

This tree was standing on its tip-toes to see the beauty of it all!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hike Down Willis Creek

I had done this hike 2 years ago with the WINs and liked it so much that I persuaded Barbara and Ron to try it out.

The small creek flows down through a beautiful slot canyon. It's hard to believe that the canyon was formed by this small amount of water, but I guess sometimes there's a lot more.

The hike involves a lot of jumping - back and forth across the stream.

It sometimes opens up a little -

Then goes back to the narrow slots, getting taller the farther down you go.

Just beautiful!

We shared the trail with some mules and horses -

Causing us to jump even more!

In one of the open areas there was a nice arch. If you look closely, you can see that someone climbed up there.

We then turned around, and I took a lot of the same pictures going back.

It was a great day!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bryce Canyon - Does It Get Any Prettier Than This?

I don't think so. The only problem with this National Park is that all the hikes go down first, and then you have to walk back up.

But, since we had two cars, we left my car down the hill on a road out of Tropic, and did an all downhill hike.

We started up here at Sunset Point -

Walked down past Thor's Hammer -

Down some steep switchbacks -

To the bottom of the Navajo Loop Trail, where we saw Two Bridges.

We then continued down a gentle slope, remembering to turn around often to see the beauty we were leaving behind.

By the time we got to the car left below, the pretty scenery had disappeared, but it was so nice not to have to climb back up.

Also on the road to Tropic is a short hike on the Mossy Cave Trail.
What? A waterfall in the desert???

The water flows in the Tropic Ditch, and has run for over a century. Mormon farmers diverted water from the East Fork of the Sevier River to irrigate fields around Tropic City.

We also saw a triple arch -

And a Mossy Cave! It is kept moist by an underground spring, and sometimes has icicles until June, but not this year.

I've been to Bryce Canyon many times over the years, but this was the first time I did this hike. It was great, and there's more to come.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Much More of Zion

After being parked on the East side of Zion with the WINs, I moved over to the West side to meet up with Barbara and Ron. I had to get through a "sheep jam" and then go through the tunnel, down the hill, and out the other side of the park.

I managed to grab my favorite spot on Sheep Creek Rd, exactly where I was a year ago.

Before Barbara and Ron arrived, I hiked the Kayenta Trail to Middle Emerald Pool. It's a nice trail, on a ridge overlooking the river.

A view of the waterfall between the Middle and Lower pools. There wasn't too much water flowing.

I then walked down to Lower Emerald Pool to view the waterfall from below.

Barbara and Ron finally arrived, and we started out with the Watchman Trail. I had been on this trail only once before, many years ago.

It's a bit of a climb up to our first view of the Watchman, behind some Prince's Plume, one of my favorites.

We also got great views of the Towers of the Virgin.

If we wanted a rest, there was what looked like a stone chair right along the trail.

At the end of the trail is a nice view of the Watchman. Morning is definitely the right time to go. Although you can see the Watchman from the valley, the sun doesn't light it up as well as from this angle.

The next day, we did some short hikes, starting with the walk up to the Narrows at the end of the canyon.

This is usually a popular water hike up the river, but it was closed beyond the paved path because of excess water, and possible flash floods.

It didn't stop this guy from begging, though...

And then we did the short walk up to Weeping Rock, which wasn't weeping very much. Still a nice view, though.

This is the back of the cave where the water seeps out.

And one more stop to see the Court of the Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.