Ms. Mar and Mr. C immediately fell in love with the small city of St. George. It is a beautiful city (population 73,000) surrounded by gorgeous red rock hills. It is one of the cleanest cities they have ever visited. The weather was perfect. Days were in the upper 70’s to low 80’s with lots and lots of sunshine.
The city has an interesting history. Wikipedia gives a good background on the city.
For our purposes, St. George was the gateway to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and the Grand Canyon – North Rim.
Our first foray out into the National Parks was to Zion National Park. Thank you Mr. C for being a senior citizen. One of the best values around is the senior pass for $10.00 which gets you (and those in the car traveling with you) into all of the national parks in the country.
Ms. Mar has an affinity for ghost towns and old buildings so on our way to Zion we stopped at the ghost town of Grafton, Utah.
It wasn’t the easiest place to find . . . a small sign in the town of Rockville was the only marker. We had to stop and ask directions and even then went past the turnoff once. But it was worth the trip. There are still a few old buildings standing and it was easy to imagine what life must have been like for the settlers there. One interesting fact about Grafton is that parts of the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” were filmed there.
If there is a cemetery in the area, Ms. Mar will be there. She says it tells a lot about the history of a place and what life must have been like.
Then it was on to Zion. The word “Zion” is Hebrew and it means “a place of peace and relaxation.” When you drive into the canyons of Zion you are entering nature’s cathedral. You are surrounded by the massive, towering canyon walls.
You can drive the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway between the east entrance and the south entrance. Switchback roads bring you up the canyon and through the famous Pine Creek Tunnel which runs for more than a mile through the Pine Creek Canyon wall. The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
The main road into the Zion Canyon (Zion Canyon Scenic Drive) is closed to private vehicles during the summer months and is only accessible by the Zion Canyon Shuttle. The shuttle starts at 6:45 a.m. and the last one leaves the Visitor Center at 9:30 p.m. The schedule says they run every 7-10 minutes, but we rarely had to wait more than 2-3 minutes for a shuttle to arrive. The shuttle makes nine stops both up and back along the canyon routes. All of the stops access the hiking trails. There are a multitude of hiking trails to choose from ranging from easy to difficult. Because of time constraints, Ms. Mar and Mr. C chose two shorter hikes for their foray into Zion. But whether you want to hike or just enjoy the beauty, take the shuttle and stop along the way.
All of the park rangers and workers are really nice. One told me to hang on to Ms.Mar because there are wild critters that will eat a cute French-Persian chubby kitten like me. So I perked up my keen sense of hearing and alerted my paws to go into “def-con mode” which means to get my vocals ready to hiss and my claws ready to fend of the meanies and protect (first) myself and then all others.
I gave the ranger a thankful purr and off we went. Ms. Mar calls it a “foray.” I call it “go.”
After their day of hiking, the ice cream cone at Zion Lodge tasted soooo good. Ms. Mar even let me have a lick.
Next week we will venture to the Northwest entrance to Zion – Kolob Canyon.
Aloha for now.