Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

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As far as we could get into the "Narrows" section in Zion National Park without getting our feet wet. We got up pretty early, since we still wanted to hike up a part of The Narrows before leaving Zion N.P. much too soon. Since driving beyond Zion Lodge is prohibited, we had to take the shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava. From there, it was just a short and easy walk on the Riverside Walk (2mi). Since we would have needed to walk through the Virgin River right where the paved way ended, but didn't want to get our shoes wet, we decided to save some time and turn around. Of course the time we saved was promptly wasted on taking lots of photographs on our way back. :)

We left around 10:30am, but did an unplanned stop close to the Court of the Patriarchs to look for our National Park pass that had mysteriously disappeared. We finally found it between the a seat and the middle console.

We took the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and stopped behind the tunnel to hike to the Canyon Overlook (1mi). This affords a spectacular view of the canyon, the highway, the tunnel (there's a small window that can be seen) and several picturesque mountains (Bridge Mountain, West Temple, Sundial, etc.)

The Zion part of Highway 9 is remarkable by the fact that the road actually has a red glow to it.

Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park Next marked stop (I could have stopped every few hundred feet) was Checkerboard Mesa. Which is... a mesa... that looks like... a checkerboard. Sometimes these names really say everything that could be said... :)

We joined Highway 89 at Mt. Carmel Junction and followed it for 22 miles to Long Valley Junction, where we began our ascent towards Cedar Breaks N.M., which is at 10,350 feet elevation. Accordingly, it was pretty chilly and the sky was heavily overcast. Accordingly, colors were pretty dull, but this is still a remarkable place. It prepared us for Bryce Canyon too, which would otherwise have stunned us more, I think.

Cedar Breaks is a natural amphitheater, and unlike Bryce Canyon, there is not a lot of hiking that can be done. Instead, a five-mile scenic drive takes you to several breath-taking viewpoints. Taking panoramas here is pretty difficult, since the subject matter is below your position, and as such pictures need to be taken at an angle, which makes stitching them together awkward. Sometimes I wish I wasn't limited to a minimum of 38mm...

The drive through Dixie Nat'l. Forest would have been more spectacular if rain hadn't been pouring down to the extent that we had to reduce driving speed. I regret not having taken any pictures of the nice forest scenes.

One of the two arch-like tunnels in Red Canyon, on the way to Bryce National Park We rejoined Highway 89 in Panguitch, where we fueled up before continuing towards Tropic, our accommodation just outside of Bryce N.P. While I had stopped at the famous "natural" tunnel at Red Canyon, we were able to witness a flash flood in a canal next to the road that seemed to have been dug out shortly before for exactly that purpose. It's impressive to suddenly see a large amount of muddy water appear from seemingly out of nowhere.

By the time we arrived in Tropic, there wasn't much sense to still visit Bryce N.P. (in retrospect, it would have made quite some sense, but I was tired back then), so we just opted for a Pizza and I watched a bit of TV before getting some uneasy sleep in our freshly built cabin.

Motel/Hotel Accommodation: Bryce Canyon Cabins (Tropic, UT): $72 plus 10% tax