|We were greeted with a lovely rainbow|
Zion National Park is a long journey from Portland, Oregon, requiring two full days driving to reach. We spent the first night with Roger's sister in Sacramento, CA. Rising early the second day, we braved a harrowing journey over Donner Pass in a torrential rainstorm, and then an endless drive across the desolate state of Nevada, via Hwy 50 (dubbed the "loneliest road in America"). I was never so happy to cross the Utah state line. Even though rain showers followed us the entire day, on our final stretch to Zion, the sun came out and we were treated to a vivid rainbow. Another gorgeous double rainbow led us to the park entrance. A fine end to a long journey.
|I finally made it!|
After taking a few obligatory park sign photos, we had just enough time to erect our tent and cook a quick dinner before darkness, and more rain, descended. Although it rained all night long, happily we awoke to dry skies by morning.
While in Zion National Park, I'd hoped to hike the Narrows. This slot canyon of the Virgin River's North fork is a popular trek. But this trail doesn't follow a earthen path - in this case your "trail" is the river itself. Hikers wade up the knee- to chest-deep water as far as they desire, before turning around and sloshing back.
|Fabulous view from Watchman Campground|
But narrow canyons of the southwest are not the places to be during rainy days. Runoff concentrates in these confined spaces, creating fast currents and flash floods. Everything I'd read recommended avoiding the Narrows after rain events.
|No hiking the Narrows today|
After hearing rain pound our tent all night, I knew hiking the Narrows was not gonna happen today.
|Riverwalk hike into the Narrows Canyon|
But Roger and I were in a beautiful National Park, and there were lots of things to see. A short walk from our campground brought us to the visitor center, where we caught a shuttle bus into the park. To help alleviate traffic congestion, all visitors to Zion National Park must use their shuttle bus system. Buses were frequent, convenient, and I enjoyed not having to jockey for parking spaces everywhere we went.
|The Virgin River|
Even though a Narrows hike was out for today, my hubby and I decided to at least go check out the canyon. The last stop on the Zion shuttle, it was a 40 minute ride.
|Beginning of the river trail|
A paved one mile trail, called "The Riverwalk" takes park visitors to the Narrows' very beginning. After departing our bus, Roger and I set out through the canyon on this delightful path.
|Lots of left behind shoes!|
Oh it was fantastic! Tall walls of red rock towered above our heads. Green trees lined the river banks. And the lovely Virgin River burbled in its rock-lined channel below.
|Fantastic view up the Narrows|
|My hubby enjoying the view|
Oh was it impressive! The canyon walls rose nearly vertical from the river banks. Looking downriver, I could see the canyon opening already necking down into a narrow passage. Although the river was flowing strong, it didn't look that threatening. But I wasn't about to risk it.
|Foolish people decided to hike anyway|
My hubby and I hung out here for a good hour, taking in the scenery. Not only the natural landscape, people-watching was also quite interesting. Some folks timidly inched their way to the water's edge, while others plunged right in. One group actually began wading upriver, despite the warnings.
|Lots of great river viewpoints|
The longer we stayed at the Narrows beginning, the more crowded the riverbank became. Finally Roger and I got tired of the masses, and decided to find a less congested attraction.
|Fall colors just starting|
The walk back was just as wonderful. I admired the tall canyon walls, comprised of colorful red sandstone. The lovely green trees lining the river were just beginning to change into fall colors.
|The Riverwalk was a beautiful trail|
Yeah, I took just as many photos on the return trip.
|Checking out more of the river|
Back at the bus stop, I wasn't quite ready to move on, so I followed a user trail to the river's edge.
|Bright green trees|
The scenery here was especially nice, and I spent another half hour trying to capture it all (much to my poor hubby's chagrin!)
|Tall red cliffs|
|Bus Stop at Weeping Rock|
Our next stop was to explore a short trail to a natural phenomenon called "Weeping Rock." A junction between layers of porous sandstone and denser shale cause water to pour out of the rocks. Water trickling through the sandstone can't penetrate the shale layer and moves laterally to the cliff face.
|Watching the rainstorm come in|
As Roger and I climbed the short trail to Weeping Rock, I noticed the clouds had thickened, and a white mist hovered in the sky.
|Hanging out under Weeping Rock|
We barely made it under Weeping Rock's tall overhang before the rain hit. A good place to hang out and wait for the storm to pass, I busied myself taking more photographs.
|Amazing canyon views|
The scenery wasn't too shabby either! Weeping Rock's viewing platform provided some nice views of the adjacent canyons.
|Good place to escape the rain|
When the rain finally began to let up, Roger and I returned to the bus stop. The river below the road looked so inviting, I couldn't resist climbing down and checking things out.
|Tall canyons eroded by the Virgin River|
It was amazing to stand beside the rushing Virgin River and gaze up at the tall canyon walls, thousands of feet above. It was even more stunning to think this river was responsible for carving this deep canyon through the park.
|Can't get enough of this scenery!|
So far so good, we'd only endured a brief rainshower all morning. But the day was still young, and there was more of this magnificent park to see. Next on our agenda was a hike to the Emerald Pools. Would the weather continue to behave? Well, you'll have to wait for my next blog post to find out!
Sharing with: Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday.