Wednesday, November 14, 2012

September 28, 2012 In God's Country...Zion National Park

"Desert sky
Dream beneath a desert sky
The rivers run but soon run dry
We need new dreams tonight
Desert rose
Dreamed I saw a desert rose
Dress torn in ribbons and in bows
Like a siren she calls to me
Sleep comes like a drug
In God's country
Sad eyes, crooked crosses
In God's country" - In God's Country by U2
Early morning in Paria Canyon
"Well most things that I know I didn't learn in class
The road don't go forever so ride it while it lasts
If you're gonna raise a ruckus, one word of advice
If you're gonna do wrong, buddy, do wrong right
If you're gonna do wrong, buddy, do wrong right
If you're gonna do wrong, buddy, do wrong right
You wanna make a little mess
You wanna make a little crime
If you're gonna do wrong, buddy, do wrong right

Rather be a devil living life on a tail
Than to be an angel at a church of hell
Like electric sound in the deep of the night
I'm burning down the house along with everything in sight" - Do Wrong Right by The Devil Makes Three

Here we are packed and ready to hike the seven miles out of the canyon. Speaking just for myself, I felt pretty good...slept well...loved being outdoors for 24 straight hours now with another 15 hours to go until I finally take a much needed shower. Let's see how much more dirt and grunge I can aquire today.
 Right back into the river we go...
 ...a common sight...stopping to get the rocks out of your sandals.
The best I could do to get a reflection shot in the muddy water...that we kept stirring up as we walked through it.

 Now that we had gained some experience hiking in the canyon...

 ...we made good time hiking out...

...we also spent more time goofing off along the way. My brother, George, began counting how many times we crossed the Paria River. At times he wouldn't be in sight but we would hear "23, 24, 25" echoing in the canyon. Then we bet lunch on the actual number of crossings back to the trailhead. George had the lowest number, I think it was in the 90's, Mike guessed about 130 and I had the highest number at 150...I think.

We were very lucky with the weather. Yesterday was a perfect day, today was warm and eventually we had sunshine and blue skies.

 Peace loving hippies...
...ancient petroglyphs.

 As we exited the Narrows we were greeted by another picture perfect day.

 Good thing Mike saw the trailhead because I thought we had another mile or two to go...
 ...we signed out at the there were no calls like this, " Mrs. Ott, this is park ranger Jim. I'm sorry to inform you...blah blah blah." Then the shocked ranger would have heard, "I knew those two fucking idiots wouldn't survive a night in the wilderness."

The first stop after 28 hours in a canyon.
 A few shots on the hike back to the car.

There really isn't much more to say about my first time camping out in the wilderness. It was incredible...everything...the weather, the scenery, the laughs provided by my brother and my friend Mike making it all seem so easy. I can't wait to do this again....somewhere...anywhere.
We stopped in Kanab for lunch at the Rocking V Cafe & Art Gallery. The three of us, in the same clothes for over 30 hours, walked inside. It was like the scene in Caddyshack when Bill Murray's character is at Chevy Chase's character's house and asks "This place got a pool?" Chevy replies, "pool and a pond...pond would be good for you." The maitre'd asked if we wanted to sit inside or outside...outside would be good for you.

We had a few beers and a fantastic lunch. Really, it wasn't because I'd only eaten Cliff bars and dinner in a bag the past day and a half. If you are in Kanab, have a meal here and definitely have dessert too. If you've been paying attention, I had to buy lunch because we crossed the Paria River 128 times on our way out and I was the loser of our bet. Sufficiently fed and still unwashed, we headed to Zion National Park.
 Once again, the scenery was amazing.
 This could have been the future Mrs. McDonnell, but Mike didn't even attempt to talk to her. She was perfect for him...cute, about his age and most importantly she had rock climbing gear. I tried to get him to talk to her but he decided to spend the rest of the day with two old men instead of a young hottie with helmets and lots of rope.
We stopped at the visitor center then took the shuttle up the main canyon at Zion.
 I took this through the roof of the shuttle.
 We stopped at the Weeping Rock...

 ...which created a very lush valley below it.

Then we decided to hike up to Hidden Canyon. This must be a very dangerous hike because if you step off a cliff, your head will immediately separate from your body.
 We lost Mike on the way up...let me correct that...he lost us, we couldn't keep up.
 We didn't see a lot of wildlife on this trip except for these little lizards. This is the only one of about 100 that stood still long enough for me to get a picture.
 This is the Weeping Rock from above.
 This is a tired old man...wait a minute...he's my youngest brother...what does that make me?

Like the sign says, scrambling required to continue on...
 ...G was in so was I...
 ...with dusk settling over the canyon...
 ...we hiked into Hidden Canyon.

 We never did find Mike but people that passed by us said they saw a skinny Irishman so we knew he was okay.
 We headed back down the mountain and Mike eventually caught up to us.

 As you can see, there were several areas with great views and cliff trails.

 It was very hard to keep your eyes on the narrow trail with the setting sun creating breathtaking views down into the canyons.

A full day of hiking in a couple of incredible places comes to an end at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop. On the ride back to the visitor center we saw quite a few deer, which the Asian tourists on the bus were more excited to see than the rest of us.
On the walk back to the car...
 ...the sun was lighting up the surrounding mountains as it set.

Even parking lots look scenic with mountains in the background.
 "Alright, just one more. OK, let's go."
Ten minutes later. "Stop the car...look how big the moon is." Of course for most people this would be the perfect picture to end the story of today. It's where I would have ended it too. Except if there's one thing I love as much as the great outdoors, it's food...So when I saw this sign...
...we had to stop for dinner. Another thing I love is roadside Americana and this place has an amazing story which we all read on the backside of the menu. You can read it here. I also love a good story and the Thunderbird Restaurant definitely has one. So stop in and enjoy a tasty meal and a HO-MADE's not what your thinking. And that's how I'll end another extraordinary day in Utah.
Sorry, I lied. I forgot I had a picture of the monster burger that Mike ordered...and with that I'll say...Good Night.