Monday, May 29, 2017

A Few Quick Hikes in Zion National Park

Posted from Hurricane, UT
(Click on Pics to Enlarge)

Click Below to View More Pictures Not Contained in Today's Blog:

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
(Click on Pics to Enlarge)

Click Below to View More Pictures Not Contained in Today's Blog:

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!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Playin' Catch Up

Posted from Hurricane, UT
(Click on Pics to Enlarge)

Click Below to View More Pictures Not Contained in Today's Blog:

Timber Creek Overlook Trail
Spring Creek Canyon Trail
2017 Pro Ironman 70.3 Race
Progeny Trail
Canyon Overlook Trail
Lower Pine Creek Trail
Kolob Terrace and Lava Point Overlook

Have you ever been so busy having so much fun that you fell behind on your blog entries, or you got home too tired to write one for the day?

I'm sure that anyone who has written one of these blogs has experienced one, or both, of these feelings.  We've been in the area now for 3 weeks and I'm about 2 1/2 weeks behind in my posts.

We've been doing a LOT of hiking, both in Zion NP and in a lot of the areas nearby.  Rather than bore everyone with a lot of commentary on each hike I've decided to cut down on the verbiage today and just add more pictures. 

Once again, the vast majority of our pictures are never posted in our blogs. Please take a look at our Google Album links listed at the beginning of each blog post to view many more pictures not contained in the blog.

May 4-  Hiked Timber Creek Overlook Trail and Spring Creek Canyon Trail

Timber Creek Overlook Trail was a short 1.2 mile out and back (O/B) trail reached by visiting the Kolob Canyon area in the northwest part of Zion NP.

Even short hikes have never disappointed.

Later the same day we hiked Spring Creek Canyon Trail. This trail is located just north of Zion NP near Kanarraville, UT. 

This hike was about 5.0 miles (O/B) and was supposed to lead into a narrow slot canyon toward the end. 

The hike did not disappoint. We were the only people on the entire trail. The colors of the canyon walls were beautiful in the late afternoon sun. 

Once we arrived at the turnaround in the narrow slot canyon we were treated to a sighting of a Mexican spotted owl sitting way up on a ledge. 

May 6- 2017 Pro Ironman 70.3 Race

On Saturday, May 6, we took a break from hiking and watched a portion of the biking segment of the Pro Ironman 70.3 Race which was taking place on the main street thru Hurricane (only 1 block from our campground). This map shows only the biking portion of the triathlon. We are located at the blue dot.

Here is the eventual overall winner of the race in the Men's Division. He is a Brit named Alistair Brownlee. He also happens to have won the Olympic gold medal in the triathlon in 2012 and 2016.

May 7-Hiked Progeny Trail, Canyon Overlook Trail, and Lower Pine Creek Trails

The Progeny Trail is located east of the tunnel (US9), but still in Zion NP. It's not listed on the official park map, but we found it on a site named This is a very handy site to locate trails across the country. The Progeny Trail was about 2.6 miles (O/B), but not on a maintained trail. The objective was to reach the peak on the left.

A lot of this hike involved scrambling over slickrock and finding your own way to the top. It's a bit hard to see in this picture, but there's a small arch just to the left of the pine tree. 

I will confess. I "chickened" out and did not make it all of the way to the top on this one. I guess I'm getting a bit too inflexible to climb some of these ascents, but I still got a great view nonetheless.

I couldn't end the day with a "did not finish" so we hiked Canyon Overlook Trail. This trail is listed in the Zion NP literature and the trailhead begins just east of the tunnel entrance along US9. This was a 1 mile (O/B) and was a favorite. Great views and pic opportunities along the way.

Here was a neat little "cave" about half way up the trail. Wet enough for plants to grow while clinging to the walls.

We made our way to the observation point at the top.

We were rewarded with some beautiful views of the canyon below. If you look closely you can see the switchbacks on US9 below.

One more short trail to finish off the day.  Lower Pine Creek Trail was located inside the park, but again not listed on the brochure. The draw of this hike was a small waterfall at the end of the trail. That's our car as we look back at the trailhead.

We got near the waterfall, but couldn't scramble up the rocks to get around this pool of water. The water here is actually fairly deep and we didn't feel like finishing the day wet. The waterfall is just past the large tree to the right in the picture.

May 9-Kolob Terrace Road and Lava Viewpoint  

Ok, last hike for this blog! I promise!  Kolob Terrace Road is a 24-mile road which heads north from Virgin, UT (just west of the main entrance to Zion NP) and terminates at Kolob Reservoir. We saw very few cars the day we made this drive. Beautiful views in all directions.

Many of the longer hikes into Zion NP can be reached via this road. We stopped at an observation point named Lava Viewpoint. From this point we are looking back south toward the main canyon in Zion NP.

We drove to the end and arrived at Kolob Reservoir. Just a couple of folks out fishing and rain was heading our way.

Ok, that gets me caught up thru the first week here in the Hurricane, UT area. I'll stop for this blogging session as many of our readers are falling out of their chairs by now.  If you read this far, Thank You! always........

Thanks for taking a look!