Marching, Marching, Marching to Zion...Beautiful, Beautiful Zion!

Zion National Park Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 8 › view all entries
Meteor Shower Gazing
I don't remember what time I fell asleep but I did...must have been pure exhaustion that sent me away to dream land...thank goodness because I could have been one pissed bitch if I didn't get any shut eye. I don't remember how but BiG or was it Jenn came bursting into our room to wake us up...which took a long while but we all managed to break out of slumber, get warmly dressed and head out the door. 

We all jump into our respective rides and caravan to Zion. Before we even get into the park, we see several mule deer cautiously trying to cross the road...so glad they didn't end up as road kill. Instead of heading deeper into the canyons, we head upwards on UT-9 which wound along the edge of the mountains before leading through the mountain via Zion-Mt.
View of the Telephone Canyon and the Virgin River along the Riverside Walk
Carmel Tunnel, which was created by blasting 6 holes into the mountain that now are large "windows" to view the upper limits of Zion as you drive through the tunnel.

After the tunnel,  we actually drove quite a bit until Sal turned off the road to a wide shoulder with sandy parcel of ground next to it and a clear view of the night sky. Instead of laying out on the sand where the creepy crawlies live, someone had the bright idea of using RJs truck bed. So after maneuvering the truck for a better view of the stars, Nhi and RJ line the truck bed with comforters and sleeping bags for soft cushion. We climbed up into the truckbed one by one...ahhh body heat!

Sal, the ingenius man that he is, attached his 2 buck shapeable camera tripod and camera with timer shot set to the hatchback of his SUV and VOILA.
Jenn, Nancy, and Sheila hiking the Riverside Walk
..group photo of us in the middle of the desert in the wee hours of the morning. There we were huddled together, heads tilted upwards scanning the vast and dark sky for ephemeral tails of a meteor shower while listening to Sal's Meteor Mix and snacking on tasty tortilla chips and salsa, crackers, cotton candy, and Twizzlers. Amidst the banter and the laughter, one would shout out "Oh, there's one!" and point but by the time we looked in that direction, the streaking meteor would be gone.

One by one, sleep deprivation and/or the bitter cold forced us to take refuge inside the cars. The first one to knock out was Jenn. A little while later, Sheila and Nancy curled up in the back seat of Sal's car. Finally, I sprawled out in the back seat of RJ's truck...half asleep and half awake as I could hear Sal, RJ, BiG, and Nhi converse about the universe while waiting for meteors to appear.
North Fork of the Virgin River
In total, I saw 4 meteors...not a bad tally. Around 430am we packed up and headed back to the lodge for a much needed and deserved rest. 


5 Hours Later...

At a bit past 9am, I could see the bright morning sun shining through our thin drapery covered balcony doors. I was the first one up, dressed, groomed, packed and ready to go. Since the others were either still in bed and on the verge of waking up, I stepped out onto our balcony and sat on wooden balcony furniture and enjoyed the only lazy part of our morning. Not long afterward, I was joined by Nancy who came out munching on Tomato Basil Wheat Thins...yummy goodness & fiber...hahaha! Tired of crunching, we both moved on to eating the cold leftovers from our dinner.
I think we are lost!


Check out time was 11 am and we just barely check out in time. The consensus was to do a short hike before heading back to Vegas and then back to LA. RJ suggested we do the Riverside Walk, a paved trail that borders the Virgin River. We headed back into Zion. Since RJ and I have been on this hike before we knew that there was a parking area at the trailhead. So we led the caravan through part of the park only to be forced to turn back and park at the Zion Museum lot because the only vehicles allowed to traverse Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from April to November is the shuttle bus...oops my bad!

We hopped onto the shuttle at the Zion Museum and headed deeper into Zion Canyon to our stop.
Virgin River along the Riverside Walk
..Temple of Sinawava...the trailhead for the Riverside Walk. Above us hanging death defyingly by strong rope was a rock climber who had spent the night in a hanging tent suspended in air...CRAZY!!!

The trail was nice and paved with some sandy bits and mostly in the shade cast by the canyon walls towering monsterously around us. The Virgin River flowed picturesquely by our side at times with small fast rolling rapids or slowly as it cascaded into small waterfalls flowing in between larger boulders and rocks. 

We did what TBs do best which is take pictures...of anything and everything...RJ, Sal, and I atop another huge boulder, MACRO shots of flora and fauna, hanging gardens, rock faces, the river bed...you name it we captured it on film or to be exact memory card.
My favorite pic of Jenn
It took us a long while to finish the trail because we kept on stopping for a photo op.

At the end of the Riverside Walk we traipsed to the river's edge, sat about on ottoman sized rocks jutting up from the shallow water, snacked and rehydrated. I used this opportunity to clean off the Hawaii red mud that was stuck to my boots. After, I took off my boots and wool socks to dip my little piggies into the river....BRRR....it was so cold and numbing. I could only stand it for a few minutes then I had to dry my feet and get my socks and boots on!

The end of the Riveside Walk is the Gateway to the Narrows, a river hiking route that runs through a slot canyon. We saw many hikers coming back from their long trek carrying huge backpacks and hiking poles and their bottom havles soaking wet.
Any further to the left and I would be at least waist deep into the Virgin River
..now those guys and gals are seriously hard core!

Nhi wore rubber soled sandals and braved the cold, knee-high water to the sandy bank on the other side of the river. BiG took his boots and socks off too and followed suit. They walked further into the Narrows. While they were still in eyesight in the far distance, we all shouted vehemently for them to return as we still had a long drive ahead of us. They continued onward around the bend and out of sight.

RJ and I volunteered to go fetch them because we HAD to hit the road. We ditched our backpacks as their weight would slow us down. We didn't even bother taking off our boots and that was a good idea because the underwater rocks were slick and at times the river current was fast...I almost lost my balance a few times and almost fell into the river completely but fortunately I didn't! We rounded the bend and at last they were in our sights.
Me and RJ before Mystery Canyon
We yelled at the top of our lungs and they eventually heard us. RJ and I stuck around to make sure they were heading back towards us before we started back to the Riverside Walk trailend.

My expensive Gortex hiking boots were finally baptized! Gortex is fabulous at keeping water out as I have used these boots in Scotland and Ireland in the rain and was dry. However, the Gortex ALSO keeps the water in! As soon as I stepped out of the river I took off my boots and poured a good quantity of water out. My socks were soggy too so I copied RJ and walked back on the Riverside Walk barefoot! Even though parts of the trail was covered with sand, I still had to walk cautiously so as not to step on a jagged pebble or shards of wood.

On the shuttle ride back down we were so quiet.
View down the Virgin River from the mouth of the Narrows
..I think we were too tired to laugh and joke around...truly out of TravBuddy form...hahaha. It was about 2 pm and we were starving but we had to head back to Vegas so we snacked on beef jerky and sports drinks along the way. I napped a bit, intermittently waking up to praise RJ's Ipod library which contained really good jams.

Bye bye Utah...Hey there Arizona...So long Arizona...Finally Nevada!


jenn79 says:
hahaa!! "one pissed bitch!"
You should timestamp this entry somewhere in the blog, because the lack of sleep we experienced during this trip is AWARDWINNING!
Posted on: Sep 17, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Meteor Shower Gazing
Meteor Shower Gazing
View of the Telephone Canyon and t…
View of the Telephone Canyon and …
Jenn, Nancy, and Sheila hiking the…
Jenn, Nancy, and Sheila hiking th…
North Fork of the Virgin River
North Fork of the Virgin River
I think we are lost!
I think we are lost!
Virgin River along the Riverside W…
Virgin River along the Riverside …
My favorite pic of Jenn
My favorite pic of Jenn
Any further to the left and I woul…
Any further to the left and I wou…
Me and RJ before Mystery Canyon
Me and RJ before Mystery Canyon
View down the Virgin River from th…
View down the Virgin River from t…
Jenn dancing to Sals Meteor Mix
Jenn dancing to Sal's Meteor Mix
Just chillin in the starry, starr…
Just chillin' in the starry, star…
Leading the caravan back into Zion…
Leading the caravan back into Zio…
View of Twin Brothers, Mount Spry,…
View of Twin Brothers, Mount Spry…
Bridge Mountain...I think
Bridge Mountain...I think
View of West Temple on the left an…
View of West Temple on the left a…
Nancy standing on my island in the…
Nancy standing on my island in th…
RJ aka Mountain Goat near Zion Sta…
RJ aka Mountain Goat near Zion St…
Mountain Goat and Mountain Lioness…
Mountain Goat and Mountain Liones…
Mountain Goat and Mountain Lioness…
Mountain Goat and Mountain Liones…
On top of a big rock
On top of a big rock
Which way do we go now?
Which way do we go now?
Sal likes to climb big rocks too!
Sal likes to climb big rocks too!
Along the Riverside Walk
Along the Riverside Walk
View upwards from weeping rock wall
View upwards from weeping rock wall
Sheila!
Sheila!
My turn
My turn
Is RJ standing or lying down?
Is RJ standing or lying down?
RJ by the Virgin River
RJ by the Virgin River
Me by the Virgin River
Me by the Virgin River
Nancy by the Virgin River
Nancy by the Virgin River
Julius wants to go into the Narrow…
Julius wants to go into the Narro…
Nhi crossing the Virgin River and …
Nhi crossing the Virgin River and…
About to trek into the Narrows
About to trek into the Narrows
End of the Riverside Walk the the …
End of the Riverside Walk the the…
Fresh & Sleazy at the entrance to …
Fresh & Sleazy at the entrance to…
My expensive Gortex hiking boots b…
My expensive Gortex hiking boots …
RJs Captain Morgan pose past the …
RJ's Captain Morgan pose past the…
Me just past the entrance of the N…
Me just past the entrance of the …
Wading through the shallower part …
Wading through the shallower part…
Mouth of the Narrows
Mouth of the Narrows
Zion National Park
photo by: rsvpme