We had planned to go back to the National Park but the thunderstorms through the night and the copious amounts of ceaseless rain seemed like they would put a stop to that intention. Surprisingly around 3pm, it finally stopped, so we quickly gathered everything together and headed out, after Dave finished work.
Once again, we caught the bus, this time out to the Zion Lodge. Some of the bus drivers offer narration; others use a pre-recorded informational tape. Today, while listening, we learned that Zion was originally inhabited by both Ancestral Puebloans and Paiutes, however the Park received most of its colorful place names from early travelers and settlers. They were Mormon so a lot of the names are biblically and religiously based.
We made our way to the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, which brought us around the corner to a beautiful waterfall. One family we met there warned us that when the wind changed direction, we would get soaked – enter the waterproof jackets, which Jake was more than thrilled to give up as he was carrying them all! It was very neat to walk behind the falls; we did indeed get quite wet and were glad of our jackets.
Rather than hike back the way we’d come, we pressed on up to the Middle Emerald Pool: another pretty area with smaller falls. The kids now no longer believe us when we say we’re ‘just’ going on a short hike; we’re continually ‘moving the goal posts’! Of course, once we got to the Middle Pool, it seemed silly not to continue on to the Upper Emerald Pool, which was well worth the climb. As it was a lot cooler today, I’d been able to bring a bar of chocolate to share and that kept the kids going and energized. Becca said that she was in hiking mode today and that made a huge difference to everyone’s mood – amazing what an effect our little 6-year old can have on the group dynamic!
To continue around the loop, we needed to cross over the river. I imagine in the summer, this would be an easy little puddle to walk through, not so in the snow-melt times of spring. The couple from Penn State who we’d been chatting with bagged the idea of crossing but our intrepid Jake made it to the other side of the easily ankle-deep water and basically refused to come back across! Dave then dutifully piggy-backed the other three across, he’s so chivalrous; I declined his offer to carry me and sucked up the potential of wet socks – it actually wasn’t too bad and others crossed over, after seeing our path – we’re such pioneers!
The hike back down was steep, narrow and incredibly muddy (always in the back of my mind on these hikes is how thankful I am for the washer and dryer in the camper!). Nate LOVES to schlep through the mud and his boots tend to be double the weight by the time we reach the end. He doesn’t seem to mind. We passed the trail, obviously used by horses, and had a quick education of what the horses around here eat – very green grass, if you’re interested!
We stopped off at the Court of the Patriarchs on the way back to take photos from the viewpoint of the three mountains named Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The bus comes by about every 7 minutes and we just had time to march up the hill, get photographs and then sprint down to catch the next bus, while calling to the kids: “Don’t run, don’t trip, don’t fall, watch the road…” They made it to the bus before us and were able to hold it – go kids!
We enjoyed the varied hikes we were able to do here at Zion National Park; I’m sure it would be very busy in the summer but coming in on a day of rain worked out well for us. The Virgin River continues to carve the landscape of this beautiful location. In 1994, a rockslide blocked a good part of the river, creating a huge lake along the side of the scenic drive. After some months, the force of the river took the path of least resistance: the road! This trapped a few guests at Zion Lodge for 24 hours and closed the scenic drive for 6 weeks.
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)