Back From Zion

Jes and I are back from our vacation. I started writing this post and then accidentally typed some Windows shortcut to shutdown the computer. This has started happening a lot since I upgraded to XP. If anyone knows what I’m doing or how to prevent it, please let me know. Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled post (which is likely to be shorter this time around).

We started our vacation on Saturday in Vegas. We stayed at the Wynn which was surprisingly nice and provided an extremely comfortable room — a great way to kick start the relaxation. We saw the Blue Man Group after a quick nap. The show was excellent. Not only was the music cool, but the visuals were equally amazing. It was funny, and interactive. I was asked to help out by holding a giant Toblerone box that one of the blue men took from me part way through the show. He gave it to a guy a few rows back who then threw pieces of chocolate in the blue man’s mouth. I should add that being me, when I was first asked if I wanted to help out, I said that I wasn’t. After the lady explained what I would have to do, I finally agreed. It was pretty fun and got to have some up close contact with the blue man.

After Las Vegas, we headed on up to Zion National Park, possibly my favorite national park. It is close enough to L.A. to be in driving distance, it’s beautiful, and for some reason isn’t very crowded. We stayed at the Red Rock Inn B&B in Springdale, right outside of the park. While the rooms aren’t as luxurious as at the Wynn, the hospitality and service are excellent. It’s also very homey and comfortable which makes it easy to kick back and relax.

On our first afternoon in Zion, we didn’t do any real hiking. We walked around town, bought our entrance pass, and planned our hikes for the next day. Dinner at the Spotted Dog Cafe was good, but pricey.

Monday morning we got up and got ready for a day of hiking. Our breakfast was brought to our room in a huge basket. There was a nice slice of quiche for each of us, coffee, hot chocolate, apple juice, fruit, yogurt, and muffins — a perfect way to start the day. After finishing that off, we rode the Springdale shuttles to the park entrance and from there walked to the visitor center. Our first hike was the Watchman trail. At this time of the summer, it would have been better to start a couple hours earlier, but we still made it to the top and back. After a quick break, we hiked the Grotto trail to the lower emerald pool, and from there back to the lodge.

Before going on another hike, we headed back to our room for lunch and a quick rest. There was a fire burning just outside of town that was threatening the power supply.  We decided that it would be a good idea to pick up some more snacks in case the power went out and the restaurants had to be closed.  Our innkeeper said that she’d leave us an old blanket that we could use if we wanted to sleep outside (not much point in sleeping inside if there’s no A/C).

After getting all of our planning for the night taken care of, we rode the shuttles to the Riverside trail which leads to the narrows.  We’d hiked part of the narrows before, but this time we went farther up stream than we had before — far enough that we had to wade through water that came up to our ribs.  Here are some tips for anyone wanting to try this (and for the next time I go): 1. Wear clothes that dry quickly.  2.  Don’t take any unnecessary gear.  3. Keys may be waterproof, but remote door openers found on a keychain are not. 4. Choose a good walking stick (usually you can find a nice selection at the bottom of the narrows).

That was all of the hiking that we did, but based on how sore we are, it was enough.  The power was still on when we got back to town, so we had dinner at the Zion Pizza & Noodle Co.  The food was good, but maybe too good.  We walked out of there stuffed to the gills with a Combo Man pizza.  After dinner, we retired to our room.  We were watching TV when the power went out, so we just went to sleep.  Unfortunately, that meant that we were jolted awake at 3:30 in the morning, when the power came on.

This morning, we got up and had another nice breakfast before heading home.  It’s a long drive, but we took turns and made it without any headaches.  If you’d like to see a few of the pictures, be sure to check out the set on Flickr.