We spent another evening watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon in a much quieter spot this time just above the start of one of the trails down into the Canyon. I ventured a bit of the way down to get the feel of being part of the magic that is the Canyon at sunset and soak up the timelessness of those ancient steps. Although thousands of modern visitors have trodden the pathways since it was still possible to sit by yourself and think and imagine.
Back at the hotel I managed to snap a lovely little blue bird and we saw more young elk browsing at the roadside causing traffic hold up as people stop to look.
A leisurely 8am breakfast this morning for three of us as Annette had stomach cramps and felt nausous so decided not to join us. We were still at 7,000ft and it was decidely chilly with low 30'sF temperature. Some of us (me) requiring a fleece to go across the road for breakfast. The only problem was that I left the fleece in the breakfast restaurant as it was warmer by the time we came out!
After breakfast we set out from the Grand
Canyon on a 250 mile drive to Zion National Park in Utah.
A fairly boring journey with roads stretching ahead as far as the eye could see and speed limited to 65mph. Also most of the journey was through desert scrubland with very little change in the scenery as we drove along.
Some of us found the views fascinating as there was a desolation and finality about the lack of water or vegatation which made the odd run down trailer park or abandoned shacks look like something out of the Grapes of Wrath and I was itching to take photos but the need to get to our destination was more important today.
The route did have occasional covered shelters where the Indian jewellry and pottery were on sale, but in a desultory, hopeless sort of way, which made you wonder what life along this route used to be like and why people stay in such an unforgiving and drought stricken area.
There was also very few places to stop for food on this route and eventually we stopped at Kanab, now in Utah, for lunch at a Wendy's cafe, which has to be worse than Macdonald's for a veggie but
the others were desperate for food.
We had stopped in Page earlier but found it really only had a huge Wall-mart which Bob dashed into for yet another pair of very cheap jeans! Page is near Lake Powell which is an oasis in the desert but we didn't have time to turn off to get to the waters edge.
By now we were fairly close to Zion and the midday temperature was rising into the mid 80'sF. Annette was still not feeling well so we decided to push on to the hotel in Zion we had booked for the night, the Quality Inn at Zion Park.
As the road started to climb and we entered the National Park the scenery started to change and the cliff s rose up on either side. The rocks are the most wonderful pinks, reds and yellows fading to almost white at the top. The rock formations were really beautiful and well worth pictures but the road is narrow and cars are not allowed to stop except at designated stopping places. To get the best pictures one needs to set out on the hiking trails but as the temperature was now 90F in the shade
Bob did not think this was a possibility!
After checking in and getting Annette to her room for a lie down, the rest of us decided to do a recce of Zion Canyon.
There is a very good shuttle bus service from the Visitor Centre up to the top of Zion Canyon, which had frquent stops that you could hop on and off and ran every 7 to 15 mins, a bit like the shuttle buses in the Ski resorts. No cars are allowed to drive up the Canyon any more so the shuttle bus is by far the best way to explore. It keeps the visitor numbers controlled and helps to preserve this national treasure for the future, although Vern was sad to see places he and Annette had been able to access freely, so changed.
We rode to the top of the canyon, making a note of the places we would get off on the way down, to take a few pictures and explore a little. By now 4pm the sun was dipping and the one side of the canyon was in deep shade making it difficult for Dinah to get the pictures she wanted.
We plan to
make an early start tomorrow and hike up a little of the trail called the Narrows which requires wading which should keep us cool.
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