First taste of retirement! travel blog

Checkerboard Mesa

The tunnel

The Court of the Patriarchs

At Emerald Falls

Emerald Pool Waterfall

Waaay up there...

Hanging Gardens

Fording the Virgin River Narrows

Great White Throne

The Watchman

It seemed fitting that we visited Zion National Park on a Sunday. There are so many mountain peaks and rock formations that have biblical names it served to remind us of Who is behind all of this creation we viewed.

On the way to Zion, we stopped at the Checkerboad Mesa (see photo) and drove through a 1.1 mile very narrow tunnel followed by a series of tight switchbacks with steep drop-offs to arrive at the visitors centre for the park.

After orienting ourselves at the visitors center, we chose a couple of relatively easy hikes, and off we went. You cannot drive the valley road for most of the year - it is served by free shuttles which go by each stop about every five minutes.

We were not prepared for the incredible sheer vertical rock walls that surrounded us on every hand. You can see some of them in the photos, but like the cliche, the pictures do not do it justice.

Our first walk was to Emerald Pool, only about 1.2 miles round trip but worth seeing the rock face and small waterfalls.

We also viewed the Court of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,) the Great White Throne, the Altar and Pulpit formations, and Angels Landing to mention just a few.

At the end of the valley, we exited the shuttle and began a two mile return River Walk to the Narrows. It was a fairly easy walk along the banks of the Virgin river. We could not go further into the Narrows canyon because we did not have the proper river-fording footwear. On the way back, we marvelled at how the colors in the rock had changed just in the short time we were in the canyon.

Tired but happy, we caught the shuttle back to the visitors centre, found a coffee shop in the town of Springdale and then made our way home.

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