Going to Zion and Bryce...

8:08 p.m. on March 20, 2011 (EDT)
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...during the first week of April. We plan to do a combination of day hikes and an overnighter in each park (Zion: West Rim, Bryce: Under the Rim) and will try to hit Red Canyon on the day we drive from Zion to Bryce.

Given that the Narrows and many slots are OOTQ during snowmelt season... any other suggestions/must sees for the trip?

9:59 p.m. on March 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Want to see petrigyphs that date back about 4000 to 4500 years?

As you are driving out of Zion after you go up the long switchbacks and drive thru the mile long tunnel and have driven about 3-4 miles at a south turn with a wooden fence on the west side of the road there is a parking area with a sign saying "No Bus Parking". Stop/park here and then return down the road the way you came on foot and go into the wash/dry creekbed and walk about 1/4 mile to the first high wall with Gamble Oak tree's below and between the wall and the creekbed. There are a couple lil paths thru the wood to the lower part of the wall. Here you will see petrigyphs of frogs,men with packs,big horn sheep, lightning bolts and curious swirls of lines.

The parking area and canyon are in the red circle below, the long red line is the eastern border of Zion


Hwy-9-the-east-route-from-Zion-NP-toward

The Parunuweap can be very nice. Its the East Fork of the Virgin River and also called the little brother of the Zion Narrows. Its located south of Mount Carmel Utah which is 12 miles east of Zion NP on your way to Bryce.   The map below shows Mt Carmel Jct on the right where 9 and 89 come together. To get to the Parunuweap  go about 1/4 miles south towards Kanab, just after crossing the Virgin River turn right/west and follow the dirt road, it will cross the river after about a half mile, continue until you come to a sign saying private land, turn south and park under the large Cottonwood tree just 100 feet after turning. From here its a hike of about 4 miles to get to an area called the Barracks (seen in the middle of the map below) after that the canyon becomes narrow about 10-30 feet wide with the water of the East Fork as the main walking course.


The-Parunuweap.jpg

Stop into the Thunderbird Hotel at Mt Carmel Jct (where Hwy 9 from Zion meets US 89) for some great meals, Utah made beers and down-home hospitality. You can also play 9 holes of Golf at their own course.


Thunderbird-Lodge-near-Mt-Carmel-UT.jpg

The village of Mount Carmel is to the north about one mile from the Thunderbird. It has no stores just about 20 homes that make up the whole community of about 200. There is a cemetary that dates back to the late 1800s and a old stone church in the middle of town. About another 4 miles up the road towards Bryce is Orderville another village but with about 300 souls, a grocery and a few places to eat, rock shops and the East Fork canyon gets a little narrower.

These are all Mormon communities of very friendly people. Lots of history. Of all the places I have lived in the USA, Mount Carmel is my favorite. I hope to settle down there when I retire in 10-20 years.

That whole are between Zion and Bryce is very nice. The White Cliffs of the Grand Staircase Nat Monument are all around. Just east of Mount Carmel look for Elkheart Peak and a dome of white sandstone called Sugarloaf.

The drive north is thru whats called Long Valley. Kanab is at the southern end and Bryce is at the northern end.

2:41 p.m. on March 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks Gary! We'll definitely try to stop and see the petroglyphs. I read up on the Parunuweap as I was considering our options and it sound like it would be very worthwhile if it were a little later in the spring and we had more time, but for now I think Red Canyon will have to do. And we may just have to have lunch at the Thunderbird!

2:54 p.m. on March 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Your'e talking about Red Canyon between Mount Carmel and Kanab or the one up by Bryce?

8:26 p.m. on March 21, 2011 (EDT)
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BT Carmel and Kanab -- looks nice.

9:17 p.m. on March 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes, but be sure if you are not driving a 4x4 not to drive the sandy entrance road to far in. A friend and I drove into just above the canyon and when we came out his wheels were buried in the sand, could'nt get any traction. We had to hike back to the road then down to Mt Carmel and get someone with a 4x4 truck to come pull us out.

Below on this map I made, it shows US 89 going southwest diadgonally from the top left, Take the cut-off onto the old road bed and then turn southwest again on the first right a lil way in. Follow this to where the sandy road turns NE. The Circle is where you should park and walk in if you don't have a 4x4 that handles soft sand. Its about two miles back into Red Canyon. The sand is more like a talcum powder size, like well eroded sand.

Also check out Diana's Throne, the sandstone bench that is about a mile off US 89 where the first cut-off leaves the highway. It is an easy climb/walk up onto the bench with excellent views and interesting sandstone formations.


The-Sand-Hills-and-entrance-to-Red-Canyo

10:12 p.m. on March 21, 2011 (EDT)
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So you came into the upper end of the slot? Another source directs me around or over the E end of the Sand Hills, quite close to the bigger, N-S canyon that Red feeds into, then just follows the wash up into the canyon. Says the upper end is blocked by chokestones, so I'm not too sure about coming in from the top. But if you got into the main slot that way then maybe it's a go...

11:38 p.m. on March 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Well, now that you mention it that is true, there is a chockstone blocking in the upper section. Take the lower route down to the SE and go up.  I had forgot about the upper section being blocked till you mentioned it, as my friend and I did this in 2008.


Big-Horn-Sheep-petriglyph.jpg


Packers-break-along-river-petriglyph.jpg

A couple views of some of the Glyphs in Petriglyph Canyon.

7:30 a.m. on March 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Zion:

The trail leading from the west rim entrance station, terminating at the base of Cable Mountain is a good overnighter.  Check beforehand that the spring is running in the area where campers usually overnight on top of the buttes.  Detours to Cable Mountain, Dear Trap Mountain, and Great White Throne are all worth while.

I personally think the day hike up to the top of Angel’s Landing is one of those must do hikes of the USA.  Take along a picnic.  The final ½ mile is not for those afraid of heights.  If you do manage to get up to the top, the view will knock your socks off, its like sitting atop a 2000 ft flagpole.  The view off Scout Lookout is also good too, though somewhat less dramatic.  Try to attain the top to view in mid morning, or late afternoon, as mid day lighting is very contrasty and doesn’t photograph as well as the early and late hours. 

Ed

1:45 p.m. on March 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I believe that the East Rim Entrance Station you are referring to near Checkboard Mesa? Cause the only entrance on the west side comes in thru Springdale. If you did come in from the west it would be in the Kolob Canyon area, but there is no way to get around the Narrows canyon and the other route up to Cable Mtn,Deertrap and the Great White Throne is the Mist trail that also leads to Observation Point on the east Rim area. Staves Spring is the one I believe you are talking about? Thats near where a lumberyard used to be when they used Cable Mountain to get thelumber down to the Zion Canyon below.


Big-Bend-and-view-up-towards-the-Zion-Na
This is the View from Scouts Lookout looking north up towards the Zion Narrows. The canyon road is below at a spot called Big Bend wherethe white parking area is.


Dust-cloud-after-rock-slide-above-Refrig

This looking back down on Scouts Lookout from the crest of Angels Landing. Scouts lookout is along the green area atop the pink snadstone cliff below the large dark shadow. I was photographing a rockslide that happened just as we were on top of Angels Landing. All that is seen was the dust cloud between the two shadowed areas in Refriderator Canyon between the two shadowed areas.


Early-morning-view-around-8-am-from-Ange

This is the view from Angels Landing looking southwest into lower Zion Canyon. It was about 8 am in midOctober 2008.





3:00 p.m. on March 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks, gents.

This actually won't be my first time in Zion, that was in 1971, my first ever hike "out west" at the tender age of 16. I was visiting an uncle in Vegas with my buddy Dwight, we rented a gold metallic flake dune buggy with a vinyl leopard skin top (cheap!), took a real cold night drive (I think it was March) across the desert and woke up in the morning with Zion all around us. Needless to say we were blown away. We hiked up to Cabin Springs on the West Rim when there was actually a cabin there, a relief because we were woefully inexperienced and unprepared. I had bought a used Boy Scout frame pack, we were carrying canned beef stew, no stove, cotton sleeping bags, probably a tarp but no tent, ended up crossing some avalanche debris and hiking up the upper switchbacks in deep snow with no gaiters, just blue jeans over work boots. Some other guys at the cabin had a Svea, "Whoa, what's that?" Really. A year later I had read Colin Fletcher, had a new Trailwise pack, Svea/Sigg, and a Frostline kit down bag made with the help (90%) of my stepmom. Went to the GC/ pahntom Ranch with my buddy James, that time in my uncle's big black Caddy. Got pulled over by a statie in Kingman just for having long hair and driving a Caddy at the same time, then helped and blessed by a couple of mormons when we got a flat a few miles later. Innocent and invincible!

I passed through Zion a couple times since, and my wife may have passed through once. My 16 year old daughter has been out and about in VT and NH and of course quite a bit in the beautiful Norwegian mountains, and we made quick touristy stops at de Chelly and the GC on the way to Riverside, but Zion is something else again. Furthermore, a school chum of hers from VT is coming along with her father, so we get to blow away a new generation.

I swung by Bryce during a cross country trip in 73, only for a couple of hours, so I'm looking forward to a little more time among the hoodoos.

9:26 p.m. on March 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I have one suggestion, dress warmly and be prepared for cold at Bryce!  In 2007 I was at Bryce at about the same time of year, got there late in the day and wasn't thinking clearly.  I slept out on a camp cot in a pretty cheap sleeping bag.  The next night I pitched my tent, used my good mummy bag and was prepared for the sub freezing temperatures!  Thinking back on it all I can say is "What in the world was I thinking??????"

11:13 p.m. on March 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Yeah we just called Bryce and there's a lot of snow. I think we can handle it but may end up spending a little less time there.

Thinking of staying at Valley of Fire on the way back to Riverside, but it's close to Vegas and may be a bit zooey on the weekends, which is when we'll be passing through. Anybody got any beta on that?

7:21 a.m. on March 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I believe that the East Rim Entrance Station you are referring to near Checkboard Mesa? ...

Me bad.  Yes, the EAST entrance above the tunnels, near Checkerboard mesa.

I by no means intend my comment here to be a judgment of Gary's photography skills, but these photos - and most photos I have seen from these overlooks - do little justice to just how awesome these vistas are.


kyack.jpg

Totally awesome!  Yep, another extreme kyack stunt, this time off Scout Lookout...  Angel's Landing in backgound, with Great White Throne on the horizon, and Virgin River out of frame, waaaaay below.

Ed

10:43 a.m. on March 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Is that a real picture, that looks very dangerous! Did someone actually hal a kayak up there to make that shot?

10:49 a.m. on March 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Gary, It's the same guy who plunged from the space shuttle.  I hope that answers your querstion:)

Ed

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