Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Arriving at Zion
After we left Bryce Canyon we drove about 80 miles to Zion National Park. There were some problems, rain, a tire that was leaking air alarmingly quickly, and heavy road construction at the entrance to the park. All this turned out fine. We made it through the construction; the rain stopped; and a service station in Springdale hammered the bent wheel rim of the rental car back into shape for nothing, which fixed the air leak. We had a reservation at the lodge and got a beautiful suite with a balcony. This photo was taken from the room - and I almost cried when we had to leave. I could sit for hours just watching the shadows shift over the face of the rocks.
One interesting thing about Zion is that it has banned people from driving through in personal vehicles. Once you pay an entrance fee that is good for a week, you ride a shuttle bus for free. I wondered how I'd like that, but it turned out that the buses are comfortable, and they run very often. We never had to wait more than about five minutes to be picked up. Every stop was near a trail head, so it was easy to hike on the trails and then either go on further or catch a ride back.
The park is loaded with animals, but the ones we saw most often (not counting begging squirrels) were mule deer. We took a walk at dusk, just before supper, and found this doe with a buck and two fawns. All were unafraid, so much so that the fawn took time for a little supper of its own. The doe walked off soon after I took the picture, bleating quietly to the fawn, who followed her across the road into some underbrush and to the Virgin River.
Every walk we took yield scenes of great beauty. I had hoped the cottonwoods and aspens might have started turning for fall, but we were early for that. Still, the weather was cooler than it had been even a week before, never getting above 90 degrees. Somebody described the difference between Bryce Canyon and Zion being that at Bryce you stand at the rim and look down, while at Zion you are in the canyon and look up. That's pretty close to right most of the time.
There were fall wildflowers everywhere, scenes of blue skies, red and gray mountains, and golden fields and flowers. This picture was taken in a remote northern part of the park where we could drive. Nobody was around and it was perfectly silent except for the sound of wind and the birds. Heaven.
Eventually we had to leave, of course. On the drive to Las Vegas we passed through the little town of Virgin - named for the river. I couldn't resist stopping at this little book store/ post office. The sign made me laugh, but the book store was filled with and interesting selection of titles. There was a sign that the store was pretty much self serve until noon, since the owner also had to run the post office and had no extra help.