Monday, May 29, 2017

Bryce Canyon - Another Great Utah National Park

The WINs next moved on to Panguitch, UT so we could experience Bryce Canyon NP and some other great nearby attractions.

At Bryce, we decided to do the Navajo/Queens Garden loop, the most popular trail in the park.

The first part is really easy - it's all downhill. This is me walking past Thor's Hammer.

Down and down we go.

At the bottom, we got under a ledge -

Which everyone helped to hold up.

We then wandered among the hoodoos for a while -

Until the trail started up again.

We took a little side trip to Queen's Garden to see Queen Victoria.

There she is!

If you can't see her, there's a sign explaining which hoodoo she is.

Then we had a big climb back up to the rim.

Getting a group shot is a good excuse to stop and rest.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

More of Zion

One day we went into the valley of Zion National Park to see the sights. Zion has gotten to be a very popular park, and you must get there early to get a parking place so that you can ride the shuttle. We started out at the Grotto and hiked over to the Emerald Pools. There are great views from the trail.

We went first to Middle Emerald Pool, which used to be more scenic before the trees and bushes grew so big.

And then we went down to Lower Emerald Pool.

We walked out another trail, and got back on the shuttle at the Lodge.

We said hi to this Black-headed Grosbeak -

And then headed over to Weeping Rock -

Where we saw some deer.

And this cute little guy having lunch.

WE hopped back on the shuttle and went down to the Zion Human History Museum. The view out the back door Of the Altar of Sacrifice and the West Temple is amazing.

In the movie at the museum, we saw pictures of an unknown arch nearby. We asked where it was at the Visitors Center, and I was able to get a long shot of it. I sure wish I could walk to it.

On another day, Les took us on one of his many hikes on the East side of Zion, to a place called "Diana's Throne."

Here's my throne!

And on another day, we went on a tour of nearby Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. It was hard to get a picture of the cute puppies, who were scampering all over to get the most petting possible.

The cats were a lot easier to photograph.

I managed to leave without an animal, but it was hard...

Friday, May 26, 2017

White Pocket - Second Only to the Wave!

While the WINs were in Mt Carmel Junction, they went to Kanab every day to enter the Wave permit lottery. Only 10 people a day get permits in the walk-in lottery, and there's usually about 150 entries each day this time of the year. Three WINs did get to go, but not the others.

I've been there 4 times before, so I didn't enter. But we got really lucky when Dave met a guy at the lottery, Don, who had a Jeep and was going to White Pocket the next day. He invited 3 of us to go along! WOW!!!!! I have always wanted to go there!

So the next day, Dave, Donna and I met up with Don (the 4 D's), and off we went. It's a pretty long drive on a sandy trail, so you need a good 4-wheel drive. But the first views are incredible!

There are strange swirly rocks everywhere you looked.

There's no trail, so you just make your own way.

More swirls...

We did a lot of rock scrambling, stopping to take pictures every 3 seconds.

The various shades of red, pink, yellow and brown rocks are due to the oxidation of iron-bearing minerals within the sandstone.


Looking up at our group -

And down at the strange designs in the rock.

Another view -

Then we started back, trying not to get lost.

Dave was a great poser.

On the way home, we stopped to see some rusty stuff out in the middle of nowhere.

Also on the way home, we got a small view of South Coyote Buttes. A permit is needed to go into there, but it is pretty easy to get. The Wave is in North Coyote Buttes.

What a great day! Thanks, Don!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Many Pools Hike, Take 3

From Page, the WINs moved up to Mount Carmel Junction, UT, where we had easy access to the upper portion of Zion National Park.

There is a secret hike there, Many Pools, that I did twice last year and offered to lead some of our group there again. We took a group shot early, so we weren't too tired and spread out.

From the "trailhead" we just headed uphill over the slickrock -

Passing pool after many pools.

The first time I was here last year, there were many frogs laying eggs and making lots of noise. This year, the romantic stuff was over, but there were lots of big tadpoles.

And Dave managed to find one small frog.

As we continued uphill, the slickrock became more and more beautiful!

Looking back down the hill. I can't believe I'm ahead of a few of them!

We finally turned around and headed back down. If you are interested in doing this hike, the Visitors Center in Zion will give you the information, but you have to ask. It's also in the AllTrails app.

While we were in the area, we stopped to walk up to some hoodoos that were nearby.

A great day!