Zion National Park

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Zion National Park feels somewhat like an inside out Grand Canyon.  You enter the park in the bottom of the canyon along the Virgin River.  The sheer canyon walls tower above you, in some cases 4,000 feet, as you travel deeper north into the canyon.  It’s certainly not the same scale as the Grand Canyon but it definitely impresses.

Angels Landing TrailWe took on a couple of the hikes here in the Zion Canyon.  The first is the Angels Landing Hike (via the West Rim Trail).  It’s listed as a 5.4 mile round trip with 1,488 feet of elevation.  The first part is fairly straightforward with a good surface although steep at times it provided nice views of the canyon.  Later you come to Walter’s Wiggles which is a series of very short, steep switchbacks.  This takes you to a plateau from which you get a dramatic view with sheer drops of about 1,000 feet.  From this point you must scramble across a steep rocky surface to get up and over an intermediate peak.  You are provided a chain that you can hang onto to ensure you don’t tumble off into oblivion.  Past this first peak you can then see the final scramble that will take you to the top of Angels Landing.  It first crosses a narrow span and then up the spine of the next peak.  The sheer drops on both sides will leave your throat a little constricted.  We made it past the first peak but I was not prepared to take on the remainder so we took some nice photos from this vantage point and began our return hike. Continue reading

White Pocket

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We purchased a tour with Paria Outpost who are located in Big Water, UT, some 40 miles east of Kanab, UT.  From there it was a one and 1/2 hour ride over dirt roads, requiring a high ground clearance vehicle to get to White Pocket.

White Pocket

I can’t explain the geology that created this phenomenon and I don’t want to over use superlatives.  Suffice it to say that this is one of the most unique and interesting places we have ever seen.  It is an area of approximately one square mile located in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness.  We hope that our photos will give you some insight into the other-worldly nature of White Pocket.

White Pocket

Next stop:  Zion National Park

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness

Within the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument you will find the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, an area of broad plateaus, tall escarpments and deep canyons.  This area is in northern Arizona, north of the Grand Canyon and just south of The Grand Staircase.  Ok, now stay with me.  Within this wilderness area are the North and South Coyote Buttes.  North Coyote Butte is home to an area known as The Wave, which has become known worldwide.  Both North and South Coyote Buttes are restricted to no more than 20 people allowed to visit each day.  These 20 people are selected through a permitting process, 10 of which are selected by random drawing on the day prior.  This led us to be present in the BLM office in Kanab, UT, on Monday morning, September 28, 2015, at 9:00am for that day’s lottery to visit The Wave on Tuesday.

Continue reading

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Descriptions will fail to tell you what you’re seeing.  I’m afraid photographs will be inadequate to properly frame the sights.  Your mind struggles to properly categorize this strange and wondrous landscape.  Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock), spires, windows, arches, fins and towers with a variety of shapes and colors leave you not understanding how this could have come about but wanting to see more.

Navajo Trail Continue reading

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

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Encompassing some 1.9 million acres, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is slightly larger than the state of Delaware, the largest land area of all U.S. National Monuments, it is part of the National Landscape Conservation System and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management..  Although Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks are separately managed, they are part of “The Grand Staircase”.  The name comes from the series of plateaus that descend from Bryce Canyon south toward the Grand Canyon, marked by vertical drops at the Pink Cliffs, Grey Cliffs, White Cliffs, Vermillion Cliffs and Chocolate Cliffs.

Slot canyons Continue reading