Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Zion trip -- day three, the Anniversary proper

 This is actually a photo from the previous day.  
Shawn snapped this shot on the Riverwalk, and I really liked it, so I wanted to share..

 Also from the previous day, I think this photo quite effectively captures the hot, dry, sunny, relentless heat of the Pa'rus trail that we took back to the visitors' center.

The following photos are a montage of our attempts to use the timer 
on Shawn's camera to get a picture of the two of us together 
on the Pa'rus trail...

 The first time, the camera fell over right before it took the picture.

 The second time, it went off too early 
(note Shawn's hand near the camera and me standing all by myself).

 Third time's the charm.  Thank goodness!!

OK--for real, we are at the third day of the trip now!

This is Shawn on the morning of our anniversary.  He is wearing the fanny pack that we purchased the previous day.  We will not be caught in Zion Park without water again!  And... today, we have an agenda planned!

The first item on our agenda: a visit to Weeping Rock.  This is a very easy hike up to a shady glen where an outcropping of rock weeps and sheds a mist down over lush growth on the side of the mountain. 

That's me up there, sitting among the moon lilies, of which you also see a close-up.  
They were just beautiful.
They are also incredibly poisonous.

This is the view looking straight up.  
Of course, in real life, you can see the background mountains better.  
It is so amazing when you see all that growth on the vertical sides of the canyon, 
growing right out of the rocks.

These tiny columbine were blooming under the mist, like a fairy land.  
I loved how beautiful they were,
but I also loved how respectfully all the park guests treated them.
It was an amazing thing on so many levels.

After Weeping Rock, our agenda directed us to a slightly longer hike,
the hike to the Upper Emerald Pool.  It was only a 2 mile hike.  
That's nothing, right?  And just look at this gorgeous canyon view!

Off to a nice, fresh start!

On the way.

Further along the way.

The trail became steeper, rockier, and hotter as we went along.  I noticed in our picture files that we took fewer and fewer pictures as the hike progressed and the going got tougher.  A rocky, uphill hike in full sun on a 105 degree day is not an easy hike.  It just isn't. 

And then Shawn got a nosebleed.  We don't know whether it was the altitude or the dryness, but something broke loose, and the nose, it began to pour out blood.

Shawn had one tissue.  I, being the organized and prepared mother of four that I am, had zero.  At this point, I was not taking any pictures at all.  We tried to figure out whether to turn back or continue to the Emerald Pool where, conceivably, Shawn could rinse himself off.  It was also almost certainly the closer destination at this point.  I begged a tissue off a fellow hiker who was already on her way back down, and we trooped on.
Funny, how all our photo choices are of the lush green areas 
that were not particularly typical of the desert terrain.  

Finally, we reached the Upper Emerald Pool.  And this is the only photo we have of it.  I suppose I was trying to capture it when it was not full of people.  Every hiker seemed to need to walk out into the water and cool off.  Some sat in it, splashing their faces.  Shawn rinsed the blood off his hands and face.  Then we sat down in the shade for a snack.

Ha!  We are getting better at this camera-timing thing!

Before we began our descent, Shawn wet down his shirt in the pool, and both of us wet down our caps.  It was a very hot day.  I was  a little nervous because we were getting low on drinking water.  But what goes up must come down.

I post this picture to show how, on the right side of the path, you see the tops of trees because of how steep the drop-off is.

This is the path down, and it was much easier going down than going up.


At one point as we descended, a mother and her daughter passed us going the other way.  My husband, being a self-denying-gentleman-type, stepped out to the right to allow them to pass him easily on the inside.  

In so doing, he lost his footing and began to fall down the side of the canyon.  I screamed.  He threw his body back to the left, trying to get his center of gravity over solid ground, and landed hard on his left shin, scraping a fair amount of skin off.  Grasping the solid ground, he pulled himself up and back onto the path.  This, while I stood and screamed.  The woman and her daughter stopped to watch and see if he was all right.

I held tight to his hand after that, and told him over and over how sad I would be if I became a widow on my 25th anniversary.

He limped, but made very light of the situation.

We decided to go back along the Riverwalk path that we'd done the previous day.  Surely we'd find a place where he could rinse the dirt and blood off his leg, and we could relax and have a little snack.

Shawn, getting ready to have an energy bar.

Soaking his feet, having a drink, taking a break.

Then we got back on the bus.  (Thought I'd include this shot since we actually spent a lot of time on these buses seeing sights like this.)  The day's agenda had one more item: The Patriarchs.  We rode until the bus narrator told us, "This IS the Patriarchs."

The patriarchs are three peaks named by the Mormons after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.   
Shawn took this lovely shot of the view.

I took this shot of the cacti behind a fence at the lookout point.  I thought the sign was funny.  You have to tell people to stay off the cacti?

Later, we cleaned up and went out for our anniversary dinner.  We tried out a Springdale restaurant called the Whiptail Grill.  Oddly, people mostly all want to eat outside, even though it is 98 in the evening as it cools off.  It really is not uncomfortable in the shade, especially if you have a cool drink.

Shawn waiting for his food...

and me, waiting for mine...

Our appetizer, seriously the BEST guacamole I've ever had.  Our server told me, "We make our own salsa, too, but nobody ever says anything about the salsa, only the guac."  He looked really sad.  I tried to reassure him: "The salsa is fantastic.  It's just hard to compete with an avocado."

My entree: a green chili filled with goat cheese and deep fried, with a side of chicken, garnished with pico de gallo and cucumber pico de gallo.  You can't even tell how huge it was.  That was over a cup of sliced chicken.  And it was so incredibly delicious, I ate it all.

Shawn's entree: a whiptail steak burrito.  These photos don't give you any perspective on how huge these dishes were.  This food was so good!

Unfortunately, Shawn got his second nosebleed of the day in the restaurant, and could not get it stopped.  The staff was very kind about it, but eventually, after burning through about 40 napkins, we made a getaway.  Fortunately, we had a microwave back at the lodge, so he enjoyed his dinner later, when he felt better.

And that was our 25th anniversary.  Perhaps it was not Shawn's best day ever.  My tough day was yet to come...


Hope T. said...

Just reading about the near-fall off the cliff makes my stomach flip-flop. I am so afraid of heights. Whenever my children are up high on anything, even if there is a fence or railing, I try to keep hold of their shirts because I am fearful of them falling. I think I would have to crawl along that path that is right beside such a drop-off.

The food looks delicious! I am so hungry for that guacamole right now. I'm sorry that you had to make a quick exit and couldn't linger and relax after the tiring day you had.

ruth said...

I think I am afraid of heights, too. There was one hike there, "Angels' Landing" where you had to cross a rock ledge with a 1500 foot drop on either side. I was desperate to keep my husband far away from it. Fortunately, it was far too hot that week for us to attempt a hike that long and strenuous!

We had a nice time relaxing back at the lodge. It was a nice anniversary, even with all the blood and excitements. We will surely remember it!