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Monday, June 27, 2011

Wild West Adventure Day 6, Zion Canyon

Day 6:  Zion National Park in Southwest Utah. Temperature: 109 degrees! I've never been in a blast furnace but that's what this desert heat felt like. Slammed us right in the face. We nearly drowned ourselves drinking water. Not an ounce of sweat on our skin. How hot was it? You could fry an egg on the hood of our car. You could bake a potato on the dashboard. You could dry two pair of large, thick, sopping wet, men's denim jeans...on the hotel balcony in half an hour. True! We did it...at night. The dry air evaporates water like a super-charged jet vacuum. Whoosh! The air sucks up the moisture like a thirsty kid with a giant slurpee.

One curious thing about the scorching heat...it took away our appetites. We seldom felt hungry. Hmmm....may we should move down here to live and get skinny. NOT! Another good thing about the desert is that once the sun goes down, the heat disappears and the air becomes pleasantly cool. Stayed in a lovely little town at the very bottom of the canyon floor called Springdale. An oasis of trees, plentiful flowers and greenery smack in the middle of the desert. Our hotel, the Driftwood Lodge was impeccable. From the name, we expected a mom and pop rustic, cowboy kitsch sort of place. But the Driftwood is very European, owned by a couple from Austria who originally came to the states to open a ski lodge in snow country. Instead they ended up operating a first rate hotel in the desert with an award winning restaurant on premises. Sounds crazy but it works.

Zion National Park is just a few minutes from Springdale. The canyons and cliffs have been sculpted from raw rock by the Virgin River millions of years ago. To me, Zion Canyon is as impressive as the Grand Canyon only not as deep. It encompasses some of the most scenic canyon country in the U.S. Characterized by high plateaus, a maze of narrow deep sandstone canyons and striking rock towers and mesas. We were on the Zion Canyon floor looking up at the enormous, sheer cliffs and red canyon rim. The arrid heat and 100 plus temperatures were overpowering and zapped our energy. It didn't help that we were both lugging backpacks with a gallon of water in each. We did manage to hike down to the Virgin River, follow a few trails and watch some dare devils rapel down steep cliffs. And of course, we took pictures.

The vivid colors of Zion Canyon are amazing.

Towering cliffs are around every bend.

Sunset casts a glow on a steep canyon wall.

Locals call this the Checkerboard Mesa.

Colossal cliffs rise from the mesa.

Look! There's me up on that rugged canyon wall.  NOT!

The red rocks are ravishing.
Children cool off in the swirling Virgin River.


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3 comments:

Sue said...

It's true. When you get that hot, food just doesn't sound appealing.

But those photos sure are!

=)

That Janie Girl said...

Wow. Hot or not, your photos are amazing!

Beautiful!

ReformingGeek said...

Another one of my favorite places. Hot, very hot. Ugh.

Good for you for sticking it out!

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