We entered Zion National Park through the eastern most point after the sun had set. We started high and made our way down into the canyon. Even though it was dark, it was still a phenomenal drive. We travelled through two tunnels in the mountains on snowy, wet roads before coming out on the southern end of the park, and into Springdale. The quaint little town served as our home base for the next few days.
Our lodge, Majestic View Lodge, was located at the far end of Springdale, with a great view of Zion National Park. After checking into the deserted lodge, we decided to have dinner at the lodge restaurant. Being the only patrons of the restaurant, we made fast friends with our waitress – certainly helped our service. We retired early that evening, planning to get up the next morning and head back into Zion.
The next day proved to be a rainy/snowy one. The night before in the restaurant we had tried to plan out where to hike with Mama Rubes, however, the weather foiled our plans as the planned path was wet and slippery. Mama Rubes returned to the Jeep while the two of us hiked up Canyon Overlook. The incredibly muddy trail took us into a cave and beneath a couple of small waterfalls. The view at the end was foggy and wet, though still fantastic. My photos don’t do it justice.
Here’s what it’s supposed to look like, compared to what we saw that afternoon…
Mama Rubes retired to the lodge for a nap, while Miller and I hiked up to the Upper Emerald Pools. Courtesy of Mama Rubes, we had procured a lifetime pass to all national parks for a grand total of $10. A little white lie got us back in the park (I swear we left my mom at the lodge, and simply needed to reenter the park to go get her). Park entry guy only temporarily questioned it since Mama Rubes and I have the same last name, stating, “You don’t look 62…”
The weather cooperated for the hike, though it was still insanely muddy. We made it to the bottom of the falls, along with a few other people. We then descended back to the bridge at the beginning of the trail just at dusk. The short jaunt back to the car from the Grotto was done in darkness, however. Thank you moonlight, for assisting in our walk!
Dinner that night was at Wildcat Willies, where we dined with the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote.
The next day was an earlier rise for an 8 mile hike, up one mile to Observation Point. The hike took us through a canyon with a frigid creek running through it, up snow-covered trails over 2100 feet. The trail forced us to cross the creek three times. Crossing is a nice way of saying using wobbly stones to avoid getting our feet too wet.
When you don’t realize your hiking buddy is taking photos of you acting a fool while walking 20 feet in front of him. Until you turn around and strike some ridiculous pose…
When you do a very poor job of packing your daypack, so you’re forced to dig way to the bottom of it, and hiking buddy again insists on commemorating your poor decision making with another photo….
I’ll get you back, hiking buddy…
We got back to the lodge early enough to clean up, pick up Mama Rubes, and head to some of the shops in Springdale. One of the shops we strolled into along the main drag displayed the following little sign…
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly worn out and screaming, ‘WOOHOO, what a ride!!!’”
I smiled. My mom said that described me to a T.
After some shopping, we decided to drive Mama Rubes into the park to show her where we were that day.
While driving north on Scenic Drive in Zion to show Mama Rubes where we hiked that afternoon, we came across what initially appeared to be a minor rockslide. Thankfully, we glanced up in time to see more dirt and debris beginning to fall down the mountain. Backing the Jeep up a bit more, we watched as more than just a little debris came tumbling down. Knowing there were hikers on the mountain we had recently descended, they and their vehicles were trapped on the northside of the road. We quickly retreated to the lodge and reported the rockslide to the gentleman at the front desk. We returned to the slide just as rangers were arriving on scene – letting them know no one was trapped beneath the rock, as we were the sole witnesses of the slide. At least 7-8 vehicles were stuck on other side. Should have started hiking earlier!
Our last dinner in Springdale was a last minute decision. The very first restaurant after you exit Zion is Zion Canyon Brew Pub. One of the few places open late, we sauntered in, had a seat, and ordered a couple of beers (Mama Rubes had a soda). Dinner for me was butternut squash and spinach lasagna – quite tasty, I might say. If you ever make it to that brewery, the Springdale Amber Ale, the Mystery Canyon Lager, and the Conviction Stout are all delicious.
Alas, our final day in Zion had come. None of us wanted to leave. Since we had until 1900 to make it to Vegas airport, we plotted out a couple extra stops for the trip there. The first was in the Kolob Canyon scenic drive, still in Zion, just at the northwestern point.
From there we opened up Google Maps, and opted for Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
One last thing! I had been looking for something Navajo as a souvenir the entire trip. On the final day, I found a beautiful hand made watch with gemstones set in sterling silver. I haven’t religiously worn a watch in YEARS. This is a fantastic new one to make me start again! Plus, Mama Rubes got me a pair of gorgeous malachite earrings – also Navajo handmade. Miller got boxers with two ducks with the words “Butt Quack” on them. He’s special.
One more last thing! A couple of lunches were provided by Cafe Soleil… a small sandwich shop just before you enter the park. The cafe had delectable paninis, wraps and sandwiches. They even pack up the food specifically for outgoing hikers! Another bonus… the owner has to Australian Shepherds that run around when she’s there. Charlie and Poppy are absolutely adorable, friendly, and provided us dog lovers with a buddy to play fetch with.
I cannot wait to revisit Springdale and Zion National Park!