The Colorado Plateau amazes me. It can seem so flat, you’d think you’re in Iowa. That flatness gives way to massive rock formations and canyons terminating in the Grand Canyon to the south. I’m reading an elementary book about the geology and geomorphology of Southern Utah. It’s academically rigorous citing a vast number of primary sources while being approachable for a novice (me).
Bryce to Zion
Friends of ours own a house in Springdale. They planned to be “home” today and Ellen expected to meet with them in Springdale. It is a short drive from Bryce National Park to Springdale that passes through Zion National Park. Where Escalante has vast plains with canyons and narrows and Bryce has a dramatically eroded expanse of hoodoos, Zion has soaring walls scrubbed smooth in past ice ages. Zion also has canyons and slot canyons. While smaller than the Escalante Staircase, Zion is much larger than Bryce National Park. Because of their size, it takes some time to come to terms with both Escalante and Zion. A drive through is not sufficient. On a drive both look impressive, but you would miss those hidden gems that make them unique.
We drove directly from Ruby’s RV Park, Bryce to the entrance to Zion National Park. Past Red Canyon and Dixie National Park, the landscape was unremarkable. Driving into Zion National Park, the landscape changed. We dropped into canyons with steep and colorful walls.
On the Road to Zion NP from Bryce NP
Rolling Hills, Buttes, and pasture land of Southwest Utah
Zion National Park’s Entrance and Noticeably Different
Glacial Etching in a Canyon Wall
A Typical Canyon Wall, Zion NP
We were told that we’d have to pay a $15 tunnel fee. A tunnel runs to the south side of the park. It is the only way south and it can accommodate thirteen foot high vehicles if they drive the center line. A ranger checked our paperwork and held traffic while we drove down the center of the road. Li’l Beast could not navigate the tunnel otherwise.
Driving the Center Line, Zion NP.
Traffic waiting for Us to Pass!
There is a steep S-bend descent from the tunnel to the valley floor and out of the park to Springdale. Zion at this time of the year is busy. Not as crazy as the summer, but busy enough that we had trouble finding parking in Springdale. With temperatures the past week below freezing, I wanted to have an electric hookup for the night. Temperatures were not projected to be below freezing. Still I thought it prudent to have a hookup.
I found a parking lot for oversized vehicles for $20 for the day and $40 for overnight parking, but dry camping without electricity. The one RV park in Springdale, Zion Campground and RV Resort, was across the street. I made a beeline to them. We both thought there was no way they would have space for us this late in the day. They had a space for Li’l Beast! That was remarkable. We parked in our site and walked off to meet our friends at a Café Soleil, a short walk away.
Lunch was very good. We reconnected with our friends talking a bit about our trip. After lunch we went to their custom built home. It is a gorgeous home with massive picture windows opening onto Mt. Kinesava. We hung out chatting and planning tomorrow’s activities. For dinner we drove back to Springdale to the Bit & Spur Restaurant and Saloon for dinner. They serve great “comfort food”. I had Salsa Verde, one of my favorite Mexican style dinners.
Though the weather was not projected to drop below freezing, I felt it best to go back to Li’l Beast for the night “just in case”.
Back at the RV Resort, I walked around the back of Li’l Beast to hookup and found our neighbors standing around a fire. A fire echoes in our primitive collective unconscious like very little else. “Can I help you?” No, I got this” I said. It’s a simple process I’ve done a hundred times. Once hooked up I asked, “how was your day? What did you guys do?” We were off talking abut motor home travel, national parks, hikes, and wildlife. The fellow I was talking to is a Boston Fireman who had quite a few stories to tell. We were talking for fifteen or twenty minutes before Ellen came around wondering what I was up to. Sure enough, She joined the conversation. As the fire burned down, I took the wood we’d been carrying in Li’l Beast for the past year and added it to the hot coals. The fire and conversation burst to life. We chatted for an hour or so. “Is it safe to leave the fire unattended” I asked around quiet time at 10 PM. “Sure, it’s safe” said the fireman.
Crawling into bed I didn’t even once consider that fire an issue. If a Boston fireman is good with the embers, so was I.