Zion National Park

Thursday August 31st 2017

The day started cloudy with a promise of sun to come. I got underway for Zion National Park a little after 9AM. Thirty minutes later, as I was in line at the toll booth, the sun was starting to assert its presence.

I have been to Zion National Park before on day trips out of Las Vegas. These visits were in November and December when the park shuttle system wasn’t running and ground conditions didn’t allow hiking away from the park roads. Today the shuttles were the only way to tour the park and I had the opportunity to take five short hikes.

I found one of the last few parking places in the visitor center parking area. Once that is full you have to park in the town of Springdale and take the free shuttle into the park. Some of the parking in Springdale is free and some of it is in paid lots. Signs on the way into the area warn that parking in the park between 10AM and 3PM is usually not an option. In addition, there is a warning about the upcoming holiday weekend being a major visitor overload situation. The Zion National Park officials are very concerned with managing the high number of visitors to the park each year. They currently have a proposal out for public comment that would require people to make reservations to visit the park. It would have to be a lot worse than today for me to be in favor of requiring a reservation to visit the park.

I went a little overboard with picture taking this trip. I took around 450 pictures. As always I’ll be uploading the pictures to a Google Photos album when I get a good internet connection. The pictures I’m including in this blog entry are a few of the better ones.

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Views from the Court of the Patriarchs

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At the end of the Canyon road the River Walk trail follows the Virgin River into a narrow canyon.

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Virgin River

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A little water fall on the Virgin River

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At the end of the defined trail you can continue on in the water of the Virgin River. I didn’t.

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View from the area of the Zion Lodge

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Under the water fall at the Lower Emerald Pool

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At a wetter time of year this would be even more impressive.

I got to see a few animals (other than people) today. The ground is covered with squirrels that aren’t in the least bit afraid of people. A deer was content to feed ten feet from the trail while people took pictures and walked by. She was still there when I came back by forty five minutes later. The turkeys I saw were a little more cautious. The were further from the trail and more alert.

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These ground squirrels were everywhere.

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This deer was busy eating.

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One of a group of six turkeys.

Here are some pictures of the interesting plants I saw today.

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A reminder that this area is a desert.

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There are many of these Desert Morning Glory bushes.

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Closeup of a Dessert Morning Glory.

End of Zion National Park blog post.

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