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Published: August 17th 2006
Zion National Park - Checkerboard Mesa
Next to the road right after entering the park from the east entrance.
Sorry for the delay in updating the blog. We have not had internet access for a couple of days. Ok, we did have internet access while we were in Las Vegas but we were too busy enjoying Vegas to update our blog!
After checking the weather forecast, the weather in Zion seemed favorable over that of the Grand Canyon, so we broke down camp in Bryce and headed for Zion early Thursday morning. The drive to Zion was short so we were able to secure a first-come first-serve tent site in the park’s campground. Zion was considerably hotter than Bryce, with a high that day of 103 degrees!!!! Not exactly OUR weather… Needless to say, we did not need our fleeces and wool hats on this portion of the trip! Zion operates shuttle buses that run along the scenic road through the middle of the park. Due to the heat, we decided that the best way to experience the park was to do a couple of short hikes off of several of the shuttle stops. We cooled off afterwards with a dip in the Virgin River which ran right next to our shaded campsite. The dip in the river served
Zion National Park - Tunnel
One of the tunnels on the road into the park.
as our “shower” for the day since there were no showers available in the park. For the first time, we got through an entire day without rain. The evening provided a constant breeze which flowed through our tent - a relief from the high temperatures we experienced earlier that day.
The next morning we were on the road before 7am heading toward the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. While driving through Kaibab National Forest, we saw and smelled evidence of the recent wildfire that burned about one month ago just outside the Canyon. As we drew closer to the canyon, the skies began to cloud over, and although we didn’t get wet, the views of the canyon were obscured by a thick haze. The sun managed to poke through the clouds in a few places, but was fighting a losing battle as storms continued to mount on the horizon. Due to the lack of visibility, our stay in the park was short.
We got back on the road and headed toward our next destination: LAS VEGAS! Having spent the last 6 nights in a tent and using communal showers where available, the prospect of a hotel room with a
Zion National Park - Zion Canyon
View from the bottom of the canyon in Zion.
hot shower, flush toilet and soft bed was quite appealing. We drove through several thunderstorms on the way. One bolt of lightning apparently managed to start a wildfire. Within 5 minutes of us spotting the fire in the distance, we saw an airplane fly over and douse the fire in an attempt to put it out.
After we left the storms behind, we entered the hot desert climate of Las Vegas. When we arrived on the Strip the temperature was a steamy 110 degrees! We quickly checked in to The Aladdin Hotel & Casino, located on the Strip, got cleaned up, and headed for the buffet! Following dinner we did a bit of gambling via video poker, craps and slots. We were a bit ahead when we left the casino to take in a show at a nearby venue. Following the show we watched the fountains outside the Bellagio before crashing for the night.
Our tentative plan for today is to drive through Death Valley and head in the direction of Yosemite National Park.
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