It just keeps getting better!
Trip Start Sep 06, 2009
17Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Zion is a much smaller (and younger) canyon than the Grand Canyon and somehow manages to combine elements of it's older, bigger brother with elements of Yosemite – it is softened with plenty of greenery and trees – and the river that runs through it runs quite gustily
The following day we came back to the park early and, after a hearty breakfast at the Lodge, embarked on the first of three walks around the canyon floor, none too strenuous (the children almost enjoyed themselves!) and all very easy going on tarmac paths. I have felt a bit ambivalent about these tarmac paths which proliferate in American parks – it feels a bit 'theme park-y’ and overly tamed and tidy, but it was wonderful to see that it allowed some more elderly and frail people access to areas of the park that they might otherwise not have been able to get to. And there are many, many more paths in all these parks for serious walkers too – it’s probably not too difficult to get off the beaten (or in this case, tarmac) path.
One of the things the children had been desperate to try since Yosemite was a mule trek and, because Zion in particular seemed to lend itself to it so well, we arranged to do one to cap off the day. We joined the last trek of the day and it turned out to be the perfect time to do one. The sun was losing it’s intensity and once again the light was beginning to soften and as we saddled up and trotted along the path following the river it seemed the perfect way to experience this beautiful corner of the American West
The following day we decided to explore Bryce Canyon, about another hour or so North of Zion. Bryce is yet another extraordinary canyon with the most bizarre rock formations. Looking down into Bryce Canyon is like looking out over the tops of hundreds of Hindu temples (if anyone has ever been to Palitana in Gujurat, India, they’ll know what I mean).
Like the Grand Canyon, you approach the canyon from ‘the top’ and walk down to the canyon floor. Unlike the Grand Canyon, this is merely an hour’s walk (as opposed to a full day) and quite manageable. We walked along the Queen’s Garden trail and then joined the Navajo loop which snakes it’s way along the canyon floor and through this amazing landscape. There were numerous trees – which seemed surprising as from above it looks pretty red and arid – and at times it felt like walking through a series of secret gardens with plenty of shade and something unique and wonderful to see at every turn.
It really was a fantastic place to visit and Steve and I agreed that this had been our favourite walk of the trip so far. The children, on the other hand, found the hour-long fairly steep ascent just plain arduous, on top of all the other strenuous walks they had been forced to endure over the preceding weeks, and they were delighted to hear that that walk had been our last in the Western parks. The next day we left for the bright lights and bling of Vegas. Katie knew she was coming home….