Thoreau saying

Zion’s Northwest Treasure: Kolob Canyons

Tucked away in the northwest corner of Zion National Park is the stunning five-mile scenic drive into Kolob Canyons. Most people either drive right by or never take the time to head to this area. It’s a shame for them, but means less crowds for us. Kolob is home to narrow parallel box canyons, called finger canyons, cutting into the western edge of the Colorado Plateau. Glorious peaks with 2,000 foot crimson cliff walls.  The word “Kolob” is from Mormon scripture meaning “residence closest to heaven.” Let’s see for ourselves!

Come on along . . .

Thoreau saying

Zion’s Angel’s Landing Challenge !?!

I am excited! This is my very first visit to Zion National Park in southern Utah. Taking the shuttle bus into Zion Canyon, the only option from mid March to late November, we’ll get off at the Grotto picnic area. From there we cross the bridge over the Virgin River and begin the hike to Angel’s Landing. One of the most famous hikes in the national park system and one of the very best short hikes in all North America, how can we not give it a go? This is the most popular hike in Zion, but many people turn back before going half way. You know me. Lung issues make elevation gains a real struggle plus I’m afraid of heights–remind me again why I’m visiting canyons? Well, why not!

I already know I cannot walk the last half mile to the top of Angel’s Landing since it requires pulling yourself along chains, using both hands for safety, then walking on a rock trail, sometimes only 3-feet wide, with 1,000 foot drops on each side. Totally not an option for me! My challenge is to make it up 1,080 feet to Scout Outlook. However, Plan B is going as far as I can without being scared to death by narrow trails along cliff edges. Always good to have a Plan B. So let’s get going. It is 7am, temperature in the mid 50’s, and the sun is beginning to hit the mountain tops. A beautiful morning to challenge that fear of heights!

Let’s go . . .

Thoreau saying

SNAP*Shot: Yellowstone’s Iconic Lower Falls

The best known site in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the Lower Falls. Twice as tall as Niagara Falls, water drops 308 feet resulting in mist and froth at its base adding drama and beauty. During the autumn when water flow is at its lowest, about 5,000 gallons (19,000 liters) of water per SECOND drops to the canyon floor. During peak spring runoff 63,500 gallons (240,000 liters) per SECOND thunders over the brink.

Lower Falls

The 20-mile long canyon is up to 1,200 feet deep and up to 4,000 feet wide. The beauty of the deep V-shaped canyon wall colors frame the gorgeous falls. The colors come from different levels of thermal intensity interacting with the rhyolite walls. You can see some of the thermal activity in the canyon walls during the day, but when the temperatures drop you’ll be amazing at all the thermals up and down the walls spewing their steam and losing their anonymity.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Never forget, it is amazing what finding a great spot to relax and beautiful light can do for your spirit. Enjoy . . .

Lower Falls Rainbow