Monday, November 24, 2008

Hiking in Zion National Park

At last with the election over and the house reorganized, we are back to traveling. We are completing four days at Zion National Park and have taken three wonderful and easy hikes that we want to share.

To find our legs , we strolled along the River Walk. At the end of the Zion Canyon Road, it is accessed either by taking the shuttle or if you are there off season, you can drive to it. Parking spaces were easy to find even on a beautiful Saturday in November. This is more a walk than a hike, easy for kids and people of all ages. It runs along the very beautiful, clear Virgin River. It is also the access walk for those who plan to hike in the river. We saw one couple with their boots and sticks take off to slot the slot canyon. The hike is a favorite, cameras clicking, a very pleasant experience.

On day 2 we challenged ourselves with a hike to Watchman's Tower. Taking off from the Visitor's Center, the path is steep A section of switchbacks gives this hike the moderate rating from the park service. While I occasionally had to rest it was not overwhelming. We particularly liked the section where there were birds chirping close to a small stream of water. The end is a easy gentle up hill with an outstanding view that makes the whole experience quite enjoyable. We did not see too many people on the trail. When we arrived at the top we meet a delightful woman from Park City Utah who, when she saw Murray's Obama hat, struck up a conversation. Hearing that we had volunteered for the Obama campaign, she thanked us. After she left and we were still enjoying the view and some snacks a dad with two kids arrived. He too had comments seeing Murray's hat referring to our current president as Dummie and looking forward to Obama's inauguration. He had lots of comments about the economy and the real estate crisis. We continued the hike making the circle at the top... but found it not particularly rewarding as compared to the view upon arriving.

Day 3 we did a circle hike making the easy trip to the Lower Emerald Pool without any need to rest. After taking some pictures we continued on a trail to the Grotto picnic area. On the trail there are some great views of the river and valley. We then found the trail linking the Grotto to the Lodge and in just 12 minutes were back to the Lodge (where we had parked the car). We then treated ourselves to lunch in the outdoor dining deck of Zion Park Lodge... the only facility inside the park. Every table was taken. While the service was a bit slow, it was a wonderful way to end our hike!

All three hikes were wonderful for us since we had not hiked all summer and there were three great hikes that were not strenuous and yet quite rewarding.

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