23 May 2014

HIKING REPORT: We Went for A Walk

in ............ ZION    NATIONAL    PARK

TRAILS: Emerald Pools (Lower & Upper),  Kayenta, Temple of Sinawave

           We did a few of the easier to moderate trails in ZION during our first hiking day.

At the main gate to ZION National Park at opening time, us and at least 100 other vehicles. It took 15 minutes to pass through the gate at that time and load us all onto the waiting shuttle buses. This is the ONLY way to access most of the trailheads if you are staying outside ZION. We were at the Emerald Ponds trailhead by 9:00 am. The shuttle service in Zion is superb ... buses run every 10 minutes or so.

Get here early .......    I mean, R E A L   early!    .... as    E A R L Y   as possible  ... set the alarm ... get a wakeup call .... just get here E A R L Y !!!. 

We had the route to ourselves up until 10:30 or so and then the trail filled quickly.

Above Lower Emerald Pond

The Upper Pool and a view looking up the surrounding grotto face.

A few different views of  (or quite near) the Virgin River.

Some Fauna

Canyon Tree Frog ... visited us during a snack break at the Upper Pond. Apparently, very loud and sometimes mistaken for a Mountain Bighorn Sheep (distant) ???

Mule Deer ... crossed the Virgin River ahead of us during our return hike. The local population is very tame ... we would encounter many during our hiking that were not nervous around humans.

Black-Headed Grosbeak

Rock Squirrels, stalk the trails begging for handouts. Known locally as 'Welfare Squirrels', they are physically a hybrid of our Gray & Arctic Ground Squirrels. These guys are F A T !!!

Some Flora

Prickly Pear Cactus.

 I know they look like Asters, but the locals call them Utah Daisies. 

TRAILS: Temple of Sinawave & The Narrows

On another day, we hiked the Temple of Sinawava Trail, in the morning, to gain access to the Narrows Hiking Trail ... this is a water walk. We followed this trail, along and in the Virgin River bottom all the way. We walked upstream for 3 hours and had a brief 20 minute lunch along the way, a short distance past Orderville Canyon. Orderville enters on river right 2.5 miles from the Temple of Siniwava trail terminus. From here we walked further upstream for an additional 3/4 hours before turning and heading back.

We were on this trail at 9:00 am and had very few hikers ahead of us, so for 3 hours or so, until lunch time, we mostly had this trail to ourselves. The return trip was quite different, however! I would not be exaggerating if I estimated we passed more than 1000 hikers on our return 2 hour trip and then several hundred more on the paved, trail to the shuttle stop parking lot.

The Narrows in Zion, ranks near the Top  of all hikes we have ever done ... quite extraordinary!!!

TRAILS: Taylor Creek Trail & Timber Creek Overlook in Kolob Canyon

The Kolob Canyons section of Zion NP, is much quieter, offers nice scenery and has fewer trails. We hiked the Taylor Creek Trail to the Double Arch Terminus and we walked the short Timber Creek Overlook Trail at the end of the Kolob Canyons Park Road.  A nice day and true to the literature, we saw few hikers on the way in and only a moderate increase in traffic on our way out. This is an easy hike that crosses the Taylor Creek bed multiple times continuously to the end. 

The majority of the hike follows this type terrain. Hikers pass in and out of the creek, but grades are easily negotiated. It’s only near the end of the trail that a barely noticeable change in landscape occurs.

The Larson & Fife Pioneer 'Homestead' Cabins, circa. 1930's

Side-blotched Lizard

Double Arch

Difficult to get a photograph of this formation. It’s quite immense and there aren’t many camera locations nearby that allow for a panoramic view. Look closely and you can see the ledge that defines the second arch above. The lower arch roof creates an immense open walled cavern a couple of 100 feet wide and close to 100 feet high and deep. I tried to get Helen to climb to the second arch for perspective, but she wouldn’t ... photo would have been much more interesting if she had.

Timber Creek Overlook

Crusty ... hiking in & reporting from ZION National Park, Utah, USA

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty