Denise Goldberg's blog

Escaping home to peek at spring
Hiking in Zion National Park

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Looking back, written on March 16, 2007...

Restless, dreaming of a quick escape

Spring is edging closer, but it's not here yet. The equinox is just a short week away; I have to remind myself that the feeling of spring will probably lag that by several weeks. This week? It's a real jumble of seasons. I was able to take advantage of our unseasonal warmth earlier this week - riding in summer attire - and now the weather map shows an impending snowstorm. Ouch! I think I'm in a bit of a winter funk, and yes, that has been hanging over my head for about the last 6 weeks...

I know better; I haven't been to any interesting destinations since my September trip to Nova Scotia. I suspect that my winter funk is a combination of the months of cold weather (even though this hasn't been a bad winter overall) and my stay-at-home life. I guess I need a mid-winter escape, whether it's a full-length vacation or a simple long weekend away. My goal for next winter is to plan ahead of time and avoid the funk!

For now, I know that spring is not too far away. Even knowing that, I've planned a short escape to help my attitude along. My rules for a long weekend destination is that it is a non-stop flight away, and then that it is within a reasonable distance from my target airport.

Three weeks and counting... I'll be flying into Las Vegas, then driving to Springdale, Utah to play at Zion National Park. I found what appears to be an interesting B&B to serve as my home away from home, and I've always enjoyed wandering at Zion. I'll have two full days to play there, then a traveling day. Since my flight home is in the late afternoon, I'm planning to stop at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada for a little more exploring on my way back to the airport.

Ah, a hiking and a play with cameras trip, a good escape!
It's times like these when I really wished I lived on the west coast within reach of Hawaii. And yes, I really would go there for a long weekend. After all, flying to Hawaii from the west coast for an extended weekend isn't much different (from a time perspective) than my planned east coast to west coast jaunt.

Table of Contents

For now, please use Blogger's list of posts in the sidebar to follow my trip in reverse sequence. I plan to flip this blog on its head so that the posts flow from oldest to newest (like the table of contents in a book), adding a real Table of Contents and a Page by Page sidebar entry, and adding (better) next and previous links at the bottom of each post.

I probably won't be able to make these changes for the next several weeks.

...Denise, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Photographer smiling

It's quite possible that my camera was totally out of control during my (too) quick visit to Zion National Park last week, but it's more likely that it was me!

Home Tuesday night - really Wednesday morning - my first task was to pull the photos off of the camera's memory cards. I started with 1090 pictures and spent several hours over the next two nights weeding them out, deleting shots that didn't scream out to be kept. That brought my total down to 850 photos. Hmmm... that's still way too many to share. It was time to pick and choose! After several long days, I managed to select 275 of those photos to share with the world.

The sheer volume of photos was caused by a couple of things. I was in a drop-dead gorgeous place, and I was walking with a camera in my hand. Dangerous, but infinitely enjoyable!

Photos can be seen in my Zion National Park - April 2007 galleries.
There are five galleries, four of which contain the full set of photos. The gallery Enticements for the eye, a map to my Zion adventures contains copies of 25 of the photos in the other four galleries; it is my attempt to provide a map to the photos.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Zion curiosities

Zion National Park... hiking, looking, red rocks, wildlife, a feast for the eyes, beauty...

Beyond the natural appeal, there were some man-made features that raised my curiosity - especially Walter's Wiggles, and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Road tunnel. I went looking for information, and found the answers on the Park Service's web site.

From the National Park Service (Zion website) frequently asked questions:
About Zion's hiking trails: Q. How did they get the concrete on the trails? A. The East and West Rim Trails were constructed by the NPS in the early 1920s. The trails were paved with gallons of oil (East Rim = 760 gal., West Rim = 1240 gal.) mixed with natural sand and rock chips available along the trail. The oil, tools, other materials and equipment were hauled onto the various sites by packhorse.

In 1985 extensive repair was done on the West Rim Trail from 4900 ft. through Refrigerator Canyon to the top of Angel's Landing. The concrete for this job was hauled in by maintenance and mules from the Grotto. Walters Wiggles was resurfaced with 88 cubic yards of concrete, and the concrete for this job was hauled onto the site by helicopter. This took 258 flights. WHEW!

About the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel Q. How long is the tunnel? A. 1.1-miles. It was completed in 1930 by the Nevada Construction Co. The project took 3-years to complete and cost $1,896,000.
Ah, answers! My curiosity is satisfied for now...

The entrance to the tunnel, looking down from high above the eastern end. I wish I could have walked through this tunnel to spend some time staring through the windows cut in the wall. No pedestrians (or bikes) allowed; it's just too narrow.

A view of Walter's Wiggles from the top, hikers waltzing down much more quickly than their upwards jaunt.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Photos: Court of the Patriarch's & back to the edge

A deer surprise

It was to be a short day for walking, even with the extra hour that jumped out of my back pocket. And yes, I did switch my watch to Pacific time this morning to avoid inadvertantly losing that hour! Walking, traveling...

A chilly morning greeted me, chill air topped by clear blue skies. Instead of eating breakfast in my room again, I piled on the layers and ate at my outside table with a view of tall red rocks enhancing my meal. Another good breakfast prepared my feet for walking. Today's feast was quiche, English muffins, blueberry muffins (that jumped into my daypack for a mid-day snack), and wonderful cantelope & strawberries. Happy traveler, happy stomach. As much as I am happy with cereal and fruit for my normal at-home breakfast, a B&B breakfast is a nice change in pace.

This turned out to be the perfect place for me to experience some warm temperatures. This morning's weather forecast called for 5 inches of snow at some of the ski areas close to Salt Lake City. That forecast made me very glad that I'm playing in a large state with very different weather patterns in the northern and southern regions; snow and high desert. What I am accustomed to as summer weather is probably a little cool for the folks here, but I like it.

My biggest puzzle of the day was figuring out where to walk. I didn't have time for the trails that really appealed to me, and the shorter trails that I hadn't already wandered on this trip didn't call out to me for some reason (not a rational reason, of course!). So - I hopped on the bus and jumped out at Court of the Patriarch's. The sun was hitting the tops of some of the peaks while the area along the river was still cast in shade. The contrasts were beautiful, and I decided to just walk back from there. Sunshine, shadows, more sunshine... Walking along the empty road, wandering down by the river, listening, looking...

In case you're wondering why I thought the road was a reasonable place to walk, it was empty except for the park shuttle buses. Zion has a wonderful restriction - no cars are allowed in Zion Canyon between the beginning of April and the end of October. Visitors who are staying at the lodge inside the park are given a pass to drive to the lodge and back to the park exit, but are not allowed to wander in their vehicles. The Zion Canyon Shuttle System provides access. No cars!
I jumped onto Pa'rus trail at Canyon Junction and followed that back to the visitor center. By some dumb luck I took a quick side trip to the museum - bathroom break, wouldn't you know? As I walked down the narrow trail leading to the museum, I startled a deer, and the deer startled me. It was so quiet, and all of a sudden I heard a thrashing sound. I looked forward to see a beautiful deer bounding across the trail. I stood still, and so did the deer. We had a bit of a staring contest and then she moved on. I looked to the right, trying to see where she had come from, and found two more deer across a small stream. They were quite happy to stand and watch for a few minutes too.

The end of my walk meant the end of my visit to Zion. I'm sure I'll be back again, I just don't know when. I wonder if I'll ever find a place that I like where I am willing to live with only a single visit. Somehow I don't think so.
A sample of today's photos are on the next page, but yes, there are more photos from my wanderings this morning. You can see them at A last morning's walk, Court of the Patriarch's & south.

Interlude ending

...heading home

Traveling, driving... heading out of the park, red rocks still evident. Speeding through Utah, and then the northwest corner of Arizona, beautiful scenery. The rocks tilted up, red, high above my head, road winding down. I had all I could do to stop myself from pulling over to the side of the road and leaping out of the car with my camera. No, Denise, that would be very bad behavior. After all, this is an interstate highway, and even though the speed limit has dropped to 55 from the 75 miles per hour norm - because of the curves and these beautiful hills - that doesn't mean it's ok to stop. (And you're right, I didn't stop!) Almost as soon as I entered Nevada, the interested terrain stopped; the land flattened, desert, scrub, rolling terrain.
Flying... Somewhere just east of the Rockies. I looked out of the window to the north to see what appeared to be a small plane in the distance, heading to the west. Distance does funny things to perspective though; I'm sure that what I saw was a reasonable sized jet and not a small plane. It was an interesting vision, and one that was repeated again a little bit later.

Flying east into a darkening sky... changing time in the direction that I find difficult... For some reason I have very little problem adjusting to the time change heading from east to west, but when I return to the east my body typically rebels. My flight lands tonight at 11:45. Getting up for work in the morning will be interesting.

My weekend escape over, it's time to turn my imagination to the puzzle of where my bicycle and I will travel later this year. I wonder how long it will take to decide. (And yes, that is a good problem to have!)