We are half-way through our trip and it feels like we're in some kind of time-warp. Yellowstone? That was years ago!
We wanted to get an early start in the park to beat the heat, so we were parked and on the shuttle before 8 in the morning. Again, we decided to go all the way to the end of the road and then work our way back out. With shuttles running every 10 - 15 minutes, it was no problem to hop on and off wherever we wanted.
The road ends in a natural ampitheater with 3000' high walls called the Temple of Sinawava. We followed the 1+ mile trail up the Virgin River.
We were surprised to find water dripping out of the rocks at various places, even at what is probably the driest time of the year. The rock itself is porous and holds water like a big sponge. Saturation and gravity (and probably layers of less porous rock) cause water to come dripping out. God's way of providing water in dry places and dry times... right out of the rock.
And where there's water, there's life. And beauty :D
Looks like a big chunk dropped from here, doesn't it? Right above the trail...
Trails end. This is the only time of year the river is this low, and many people continue hiking right up the river bed, between the canyon walls. Though the hike was recommended by friends, we decided against it. That would take up most or all of the day and we wanted to see more. Looks intriguing, though, doesn't it?
As we hiked back out to the road, the sun was just beginning to reach the cliffs above us.
Very dramatic. This mountain is known as The Great White Throne.
My biggest hiker and my littlest hiker :D
Not sure, but this may be "The Organ". Majestic, yah?
I know, this may seem everyday and ordinary to some of you, but we were really fascinated by the cactus. I'm assuming this is prickly pear.
But this one? No idea. Anyone?
Look up, look down, look up, look down. We were followed for awhile by a small flock of wild turkeys, as we hiked up to the viewpoint across from The Court of the Patriarchs. From left to right - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
As we worked our way back down the valley, the sun and the temperature were both rising. Kerry and I wanted to walk the last couple of miles along the Pa'rus Trail, but Wyatt absolutely refused. He said his knee was hurting (huh?) and he couldn't possibly do it. Kerry finally agreed to ride down with him on the shuttle while Tate and Gunnar and I walked.
I was sorry they missed it. Though we were definitely feeling the heat, the trail wound along the Virgin River, crossing it several times. Tate and Gunnar are ahead of me, on the bridge. And the light was remarkable. Everything seemed to glow and shimmer.
The river was looking pretty tempting, but we hadn't brought any extra clothes with us.
And the boys, as always, noticed the animals. From butterflies...
... to a pocket gopher. Very cute. And...
... an enormous grasshopper.
We spent some time in the Human History Museum and at the Visitors Center and had to again negotiate the variance in saturation points. I know we may not be here again for years. Or ever. But we can only enjoy so much. And we were really ready to cool off.
But we had one more stop to make on our way back to Hurricane (yes, that's a town in Utah.) Because after we've taken in the natural wonders, it's time for some kitsch, in the form of a Wild West Trading Post.
I'm noticing things in retrospect that I didn't at the time. For instance, while we were up in Zion Wyatt was sneezing. A lot. The breeze was blowing everything around and I thought it was probably just dust. But I wonder what all those yellow flowers were - they were everywhere. Anybody?
And that cactus - what is that?
Oh, let me tell you, this was a high class establishment. The proprietor suggested I take the boys' photo, and as they posed, she activated a remote control fart machine. "Chief Windtalker has spoken."
With the temp over 100F, we were definitely due for some pool time.
The pool may have been small, but it was cool and wet, a very welcome respite from dry and hot.
I swam too, but divided my time between work and play. Fortunately, several of our hotels had Guest Laundry... oh joy.
This is just a typical hotel room. Two queens and room for a roll-away. We had to work out a system so the boys got equal turns, as they much preferred the roll-away to sleeping with each other. But that's just part of traveling, and they had to get used to it.
Actually, I have vivid memories of this particular room because of what happened later.
Remember I mentioned that Wyatt was sneezing? That really hadn't hit my radar. And when he said he felt itchy all over, I thought it was the chlorine from the pool, and told him to take another shower. But by ten at night his face was puffy, his sinuses were swollen, and he was obviously having an allergic reaction to something. I (in my jammies) had to send Kerry out on a mission to find a pharmacy with some Benadryl.
Meanwhile, the sensation of having his nose completely plugged (not able to be blown/cleared, but swollen shut) really frightened him. Making it worse (and I didn't realize until later), because we'd done so much traveling on two-lane roads rather than big interstate freeways, Wyatt felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere - out of reach of medical help. He felt like he couldn't breathe. And the Benadryl, which probably did help the symptoms, made him feel spacey and out of control.
It took a lot of talking and praying and calming to make him realize that he wasn't actually having a medical emergency. Though he felt like he couldn't breathe, he was actually well oxygenated (pink lips and fingernails). Took a long time for him (and, therefore, me) to fall asleep.
Day 12 Miles : 61 Total Miles : 2897