27 April 2006 Thursday

We left our BLM campsite this morning.  I noticed the water was rising due to snow melt.  A small sand bar in the river was visible last night is now gone, under water.  Rocks on the sand bar were still visible, but by the time we finished breakfast, those were gone too.  We went into Zion National Park and decided to get a spot at the campground there.  We were pleased to find that private cars are no longer allowed thru the park.  They have a free shuttle, powered by non-polluting propane, available every 8 minutes or so.  You can get on and off the shuttle at any stop, hike to another stop, get back on.  It was GREAT!  

We took the tram up to the Grotto where we hiked the Lower, Middle and Upper Emerald Pools.  These are pools formed in a natural spring and they cascade into each other forming beautiful waterfalls.  There were these cute little Antelope Ground Squirrels that were begging and stealing food from people.  There were signs all over the park about not feeding the animals, it’s illegal, it’s bad for the animals.  Of course, there was a guy who thought it was cute that the little squirrel was crawling up on his leg.  When I mentioned that I read they report 15 squirrel bites a year and I wondered how many went unreported, he jumped up and didn’t find it cute anymore.  

We hiked  back to the Zion Lodge and caught the shuttle back up to Weeping Rock trailhead.  Weeping Rock was a short, easy hike to a seep in the wall where mosses and ferns grew.  Kind of a dripping waterfall.

We then went on a longer hike to the Hidden Canyon.  This hike took us up, up and up, across some ledges to get to a slot canyon.  As we got higher, the trail got more and more narrow.  After the first area of very narrow ledge with a chain as handhold and a steep decent and ascent, we reached the second chain as handhold that went up and around the corner.  The exposure was too much for me, I baled out!  I stopped and waited, Andrew continued, but even he only went so far.  It was a very challenging trail.  At the summit, we were hiking with 2 other guys who continued with Andrew to the slot canyon.  We hiked down with them and chatted on the tram back to the Lodge.  

Also on the tram was a woman who started talking with us who is a full time RVer.  Grace was staying at the BLM campsite we stayed at the first night.  We talked with her a while at the Lodge.  We tried to get dinner at the Lodge, but we needed reservations.  Oh well, we took the tram back to the Visitor’s Center and our campground and cooked dinner on the tailgate.

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