Monday, September 12, 2022

September 11, 12, 13 ZION NATIONAL PARK

 Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah

"Zion National Park is a southwest Utah nature preserve distinguished by Zion Canyon's steep red cliffs. The Scenic Drive cuts through its main section, leading to forest trails along the Virgin River." 

The beauty of this place was almost beyond description. We were fortunate to find accommodations IN THE NATIONAL PARK for 3 nights. The views from our hotel were magical. Depending on the time of day, the sunbeams casts a kaleidoscope of multi colors on the sandstone cliffs. 
Several nights, we gazed at the stars, while sitting in the parking lot. It was magnificent!
........and of course, the views from the pool were MORE THAN OK!๐Ÿ˜‚

All park visitors are required to purchase a recreational use pass. I think the current price is $35.00 We purchased our life-time park pass years ago when visiting another national park($10.00๐Ÿ˜).Life-time park passes are currently $80.00, but well worth the expense if you are going to visit many national parks. The line of cars going into the park was short and swift. Most everyone, including me, had our windows rolled down to snap photos of the breath-taking views. There were designated areas for pulling over and stopping!...... and stopping we did!
The 1.1 mile Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel used to be the longest tunnel of its type in the US, when it was completed in 1930. 
The Watchman is the spectacular formation at the south entrance of ZNP.... 1/2-mile wide and heights from 1,000 to 1,500 feet ๐Ÿ˜ฎ.

Did I say jaw-dropping gorgeous? 
One of the most recognizable and iconic landmarks in ZNP is the Checkerboard Mesa, the white sandstone formation.

Because we stayed for 3 days in Zion National Park, we were able to come and go at our leisure. One day was cloudy, thus the difference in iPhone photos! 

Thus far, photos shown were taken on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. At Canyon Junction(#3), parking is available to hop on the shuttle.  The Scenic Drive through the Zion Canyon is approximately 8 miles long one-way..... and only available to shuttle buses(which runs continuously throughout the day every 15 -20 minutes). Hop on, hop off at designated stops for as long as you want. Hiking paths are available at each stop. Do them all, some, or none! 
After we completed the Narrows Hike, we stopped back by Zion Lodge, ate lunch, then hiked the Emerald Pools Trails (2 miles roundtrip). 

Below is the Zion Information Guide. It includes the hikes available.

Photos, honestly, do not capture the beauty of Zion National Park...... but they are a reminder to me of it's uniqueness....... one of the nation's most popular national parks. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

September 11, 2022 NARROWS HIKE ~Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah

 What an adrenaline rush!

Soaked shoes, sandy socks, wading up to our knees, walking UPSTREAM in the Virgin River๐Ÿ˜‚... and afterwards looking at each other saying...."Did we really just do that ๐Ÿ˜ฒ?" Who knew that we would/could be so daring and adventurous! 

Yes, this was one of those once-in-a-lifetime, spur of the moment decisions, with no regrets! #thethrillofalifetime #iwouldoitagain #bucketlist
"The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. This gorge, is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park." You can see The Narrows by hiking along the paved, Riverside Walk for one mile from the Temple of Sinawava.

If you wish to see more......... you walk in the Virgin River........... and that is what we did!

Wading upstream was a sensation that I will never forget. The sites were gorgeous and breath-taking.

"The Narrows is a unique 2-mile round trip hike that takes hikers through a beautiful canyon. Hikers are sometimes shoulder-deep, ankle-deep, and or knee-deep in the Virgin River while walking the distance. Flash floods are a major concern when hiking." 
The gorge has walls a thousand feet tall. In some places, the river is just twenty to thirty feet wide. The waterfalls were numerous. Often the Narrows is closed due to flooding after a rain. 

We did not make this an all day hike, but made it far enough to say:


Saturday, September 10, 2022

September 10, 2022 Four Corners and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Oljato-Monument Valley, Arizona


Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Oljato-Monument Valley, Arizona. The Navajo name is actually Tse Bii Ndzisgalii, which means valley of rocks.

Photo below located in front of Rain God Mesa for perspective!

This Navajo Tribal Park is maintained as a visitor attraction by Navajo Nation parks and Recreation. It is located on the Utah-Arizona state line, near the Four Corners area. 

Four Corners? The monument consists of the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico. Who says that you can't be in four places at one time?๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜ This historical landmark in Teec Nos Pos, AZ is part of the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation. Tickets are required($8.00/person)

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is one of the most photographed places on earth. (To be clear, the Navajo Welcome Center and Visitor Center are NOT THE SAME as the Gouldings(Lodge). Gouldings is in Utah. Navajo Tribal Park is in Arizona!) Below is a partial list of movies filmed in Monument Valley.

The welcome center armed us with information, guides, and maps of the 17 mile loop. 

Honestly, neither of us was prepared for what we were about to see and feel. (Thought-provoking, captivating, gripping, sobering, inspirational). "The site is not a national park, like nearby Canyonlands, but one of six Navajo-owned tribal parks. The Navajo Nation has its own governance and judicial system that operates with its own President. The valley floor is still inhabited by Navajo...30 to 100 people, depending on the season, who live in houses without running water or electricity." Look closely at photo below to see at least 3 houses. The residences travel to nearby Gouldings for their water supply. ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿ‘‡

Beginning at the Visitor Center, the unpaved loop winds through the park. Along the way are 11 numbered scenic stops. To quote John Wayne: "So this is where God put the West." The View Hotel and Visitor Center boasts breath-taking views. In photo below, we are seated on a wall next to the Center๐Ÿ˜ฒ.
The map was easy to follow, and one that will be etched in our memories forever. The crowds were surprisingly minimal. In fact, we almost felt, at times, that we were ALONE in the park. It was as if we were having a spiritual/sacred/mystical experience. All of the viewpoints are clearly marked. Each one was different and well worth the stop.

TOTEM POLE (extreme right), and next to it, in the middle, is YEI BI CHEI: Both of these structures hold deep spiritual meaning for the Navajo.๐Ÿ‘‡
and here is another view! The Totem Pole is 450 feet high.

The next several photos were taken at ARTIST'S POINT. We were speechless, and quite emotional!๐Ÿ‘‡

Did you know that the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II helped the US to win the war? "These American Indians used their tribal language to send secret communications on the battlefield. They were both enlisted and were drafted into the US military forces to help spread intelligence faster than using an encrypted coding machine." Photos of three of the code talkers are displayed in the visitor center.
Yet another stop on our 17 mile route: SPEARHEAD MESA:๐Ÿ‘‡ 
Also part of the SPEARHEAD MESA:๐Ÿ‘‡(no, we are not doing Jeep commercials๐Ÿ˜)

THE THUMB is the protruding rock at the southeast corner of CAMEL BUTTE:๐Ÿ‘‡
Our last stop in Monument Valley (see map above) was #4..... John Ford's Point. What a treat to see the landscapes where a multitude of movies were filmed! Being able to walk out to that POINT was electrifying ๐Ÿ˜ฎ and included some shaky knees! 

RED DIRT MAKES GOOD RIDING ROADS..... We were overjoyed to have the jeep to travel these dirt roads. Plan to spend 4-6 hours in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, when you visit! The park is fully self-drive, and pretty vast!