Saturday, May 22, 2010

Impressions of Zion

There are many trails at Zion that take you into some interesting places... The Emerald Pools (Lower, Middle, and Upper), which weren't green (at least they weren't when I was there). This waterfall is cascading into the Lower Emerald Pool and soaking anyone who dares walk beneath it, though this young man doesn't seem to mind getting all wet.

Weeping Rock - so porous that water seeps through it and a variety of plants grow on its walls.

Along the river were many trees with oddly shaped roots. This one wasn't too far from my campsite.

On the eastern side of the park, through a tunnel (a marvel of engineering completed in 1930) is Checkerboard Mesa.

And the eastern side is also where you might see Bighorn Sheep. I was lucky and saw several on this day. (I wasn't very close, these were taken with the 7x zoom magnification.)

Of course, spring flowers were in bloom. Not covering massive areas (as in California) but quite a few scattered here and there, and in the most unusual places. Like on the side of a canyon wall or in the crevice of a rock.

There was only one thing (and lots of that one thing) that even slightly marred my stay at Zion National Park. Worms. Though technically I guess they were caterpillars. They were creepy, crawly things. Lots of them. And they really liked my red tent. I mean, really. Every morning and every night and whenever I'd notice them, I'd pick them off the outside of the tent, 10 or 15 at a time.

The afternoon of the day before I left, I took the tent down. First I picked them off of the outside and from under the “skirt” along the bottom. Some were harder to remove because they had started creating their little cocoon. Once I had them all off, I started folding up the tent, but I kept seeing them as I closed up the poles. At first I thought the wind was blowing them off the trees, but I didn't see any flying through the air! Then I realized they were inside the “loops” where the support poles go. Oh, yuck. And some of them had also started making their little cocoons. It took forever (about two hours) to get them out and I'm not positive that I got them all. I haven't put the tent up since I left Zion but I have visions of little critters (Caterpillars? Moths?) coming at me when I do finally open it up again!

Even with that, my stay at Zion was incredible. The weather was perfect most of the time. Sunshine. Warm but not too warm for comfortable hiking. Nights and mornings were on the chilly side but nothing extreme and it warmed up nicely when the sun came up. The wind was strong several days but mostly just a light breeze. Near perfect conditions. Great hikes. Nice camping neighbors. Marvelous scenery. 'Nuff said.

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