Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Few Quick Hikes in Zion National Park

Posted from Hurricane, UT
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Watchman Trail
Court of the Patriarchs Trail
Weeping Rock Trail

If it seems as though many of our recent blogs have been about hiking, you'd be correct. We love to hike and this part of the country is a mecca for hiking. Actually, we intend to do a lot of hiking at most of the spots we visit this summer.

All of today's adventures took place on May 22nd. Only the Watchman Trail is a true hike while the other two are just short jaunts from a shuttle stop. Still interesting, but just not as much to talk about.

With that in mind, our first hike was the Watchman Trail. This trail begins near the trolley stop at the Zion Visitor's Center, continues along the Virgin River for a short bit, and then starts to ascend toward the canyon wall.

The first half mile or so travels across relatively flat land.

The trail has some steep stretches and sometimes it's necessary to slow down and take a break.

After approximately 2 miles we reached the top. There is a short loop trail at the top which offers great views.

On the trek back to the bottom it's always interesting to look at the "tiny" people coming up the trail.

This trail was only about 4 miles (O/B), but offered many great photo opportunities both on the way up, and on the descent.

We jumped back on the park shuttle at Stop #1 (Visitor's Center) and rode to Stop #4 (Court of the Patriarchs). This is not actually a hike at all, but rather just a very short walk to an observation point. The Court of the Patriarchs is a group of three peaks named after the biblical figures of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

We got back onto the shuttle and rode to Stop #7 to visit Weeping Rock Trail. This trail is only .4 mile, but a short section of it is fairly steep. The trail is a good one for all visitors as it's a hard surface most of the way.

The attraction of this trail is the hanging gardens at the observation point. Plants cling to the sandstone walls and are nourished by the water weeping from the walls and running down the face.

All of the vertical lines on the rocks are evidence of water running down the face. In this picture, the observation area is under the "arch" near the bottom.

After arriving at the observation deck, the views looking back down into the canyon are spectacular, as always in this park.

Onward and upward to a few more difficult hikes in our coming blogs!

As always, thanks for dropping by to take a look!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Trails and a Bit of History

Posted from Hurricane, UT
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Emerald Pools Trails
Huber Wash Trail
Grafton, UT Ghost Town
Scout Cave Trail

May 11-Emerald Pools Trails in Zion NP

Time for more hiking!  On May 11 we returned to Zion NP to hike the Upper and Lower Emerald Pools trails. We rode the shuttle to Stop #6 (The Grotto) and crossed over the Virgin River where we picked up the Kayenta Trail. From the Kayenta we visited the Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools, continued back to the Zion Lodge and hiked along the Grotto Trail to return to Stop #6.  This was a total distance of about 4 miles.  Pretty easy hike.

We arrived at the "wrong" time of the morning to catch the shuttle bus from the visitor's center.  The busiest times at this time of the year are from about 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM in the park.  This was 10:30 AM. It took about 45 minutes to board the shuttle.

After finally getting to the trails, all was good again. This was the busiest trail we have hiked so far, however. This is the Lower Emerald Pool with the water coming from above.

The Upper Pool was a bit of a climb, but nothing strenuous. A lot of folks stop here to take an opportunity for a snack.

We returned back down the trail to the Lower Pool, then returned to the Zion Lodge area.  The views along this paved portion of the trail are spectacular, as always.

May 14-Huber Wash Trail

The Huber Wash Trail is not actually in Zion NP. The trailhead begins just west of Rockville on US9.

This is a 5 mile (O/B) trail leading along Huber Wash to an eventual dry waterfall. Much of the trail follows the wash.

The first part has little elevation change. This seemed like a nice spot for a lunch break.

A mile or so further and we arrived at the turnaround point. I would like to see these falls when there was some water running over the rocks.

The cool thing about out and back trails is that you always seem to spot things on the return trip which were missed going out.

Okay, here's the "bit of history" part of today's blog. Just a short distance from the Huber Wash Trail is the little town of Rockville. If you take a side trip from Rockville, a road leads to the ghost town of Grafton, UT. The town was first settled in December, 1859 as part of a cotton growing project ordered by Brigham Young.  Unfortunately, although the Virgin River provides water for irrigation, it has also flooded many times throughout the years. Warring with local Indian tribes was also a contributor to the town's demise. The town was last inhabited in 1944. On a side note, the first outdoor talking movie In Old Arizona was filmed here in 1929. Also, scenes from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were filmed at this location.

In 1997 a restoration effort was made to save and restore several of the remaining structures of Grafton. The school house/church is shown in the left side of the picture. To the right side is the Alonzo/Russell House.

Here's a view of inside the Alonzo/Russell House. Note that the walls are made of adobe bricks.

Nearby is the Grafton Cemetery. For some strange reason I enjoy visiting old cemeteries. Notice that 1866 was a particularly tough year for the settlers.

Although the cemetery is small, it's still an interesting place to visit and read the headstones of the early settlers to this area. It makes you really appreciate how hard it was to survive in this part of the country at that time in our history.

The surrounding views from the cemetery are certainly beautiful for one's final resting spot.

May 20-Scout Cave Trail

Today's last hike will be Scout Cave Trail. Again, this one is not in Zion NP, but is located just north of St. George, UT in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. If you continued past the trailhead you could visit the Snow Canyon State Park.

The length on this trail (O/B) is about 4 miles. The first mile is over basically flat land. Here's a view looking north toward Snow Canyon.

The middle trek out is over a lava flow field. Time to be a bit more careful here as those rocks are sharp.

As we get closer to Scout Cave (in the canyon wall to the rear) a set of "man made" steps are climbed.

We finally reach the cave which is not a true cave at all. There is a narrow slot in the ceiling which allows moisture to enter the "cave" and hollow out the inside part.

We had lunch inside the cave, along with our traveling buddies.

Here's a view from inside the cave looking back down into the valley below.

After a break in the cool of the cave it was time to head down again.  A very nice "moderate" hike. Very few people seen along this trail.

Well, that's it for another round of "hiking with the Fischers" for today.

As always, thanks for stopping by to take a look!