Friday morning arrived and we went to play with some animals near our hotel. There was some sort of small deer and an alpaca that the kids were able to pet and feed grass to. Also, I discovered that alpacas like to have the area between their ears scratched. It makes them close their eyes and move their ears in a circle.
We spent most of the day Friday enjoying the beauty of Zions. We started at the visitors center where we took the shuttle to the Zion Human History Museum. It was here that we watched a film about Zions and it’s history. The film was really interesting and gave us an idea of the park features that we wanted to be sure to see.
Once we were done at the museum, we boarded the shuttle and went to Zion Lodge which is near the Emerald Pools Trails. The Emerald Pools are ponds that are a brilliant green due to algae that grows in them. We hiked the .6 miles to the lower pools which took about 30 minutes. We were sure to stop along the way to watch a lizard and take pictures, before we arrived at our destination
The pools were very neat. They were located at a “U” in the trail. The “U” itself was partially below an overhang with a waterfall. Walking underneath it was like walking through a rain shower. The water didn’t fall directly onto the trail but, thanks to the wind, enough of it found its way onto the hikers. Emma and Alex loved this but Hannah absolutely hated it. She also hated the fact that she got mud on her shoes. It was too much for our little princess to take so we headed back down the trail after only a few minutes.
The way back down was mildly eventful. We came across a snake that was poking its head out of a hole on the side of the trail. It didn’t move and allowed me to get very close to it. We used it as an example to the kids of why it’s not smart to stick your fingers into holes in the wilderness. Alex also spotted a squirrel next to the trail. The kids were all excited to see it and Alex was very proud of himself for spotting it.
Once we were back at the bottom of the mountain, we again boarded the shuttle, this time disembarking at Weeping Rock. Weeping Rock is where some porous sandstone meets up with non-porous rock. Apparently some 1200 year old water is just now starting to make its way through the sandstone and, since it has nowhere to go once it hits the other rock, it drips down. I guess it resembles a rock that is weeping but I thought it was more like being in the rain. (What’s with all of the rain simulators?) Again, Alex and Emma loved getting wet but Hannah disapproved.
One of the cool things about Weeping Rock is the hanging gardens. Due to the moisture in the rock, moss and other plants grow everywhere. The area is sort of cave-like but it’s not a normal cave; it’s like walking into a cave with green carpet on the walls and ceiling. We took some cool pictures, which I will hopefully post before I die, and then headed back down the trail to the shuttle.
Within a few minutes on the shuttle, we had come to the end of the line, the Temple of Sinawava. Due to the fact that the Zion Narrows prevents automobile traffic past this point, the shuttles have to stop here. We got out and hiked the Riverside Walk. It was so beautiful being right next to the river. We played on the banks of the river and saw a wild turkey and an over aggressive, afraid of nothing squirrel.
I have never seen a squirrel act the way that this one did. It seriously had no fear. At one point, I was afraid that it was going to jump onto Hannah and eat the granola bar that she was eating. Every time that I would crouch down to take a picture of it, it would rush me. It didn’t seem to want to hurt anybody but it definitely wasn’t scared either. After a few minutes of watching and avoiding it, we decided to move on. To be honest though, I could have stayed there all day. I love animals and to be so close to a wild one like this was great fun for me. (Of course, when it comes to wild animals, my sense usually goes out the window. How else do you explain the fact that I have been bitten by a lion and I pet the oldest living crocodile in captivity. I should probably be dead. It’s a miracle that I don’t have hooks for hands.)
As it got later in the afternoon, we decided that everyone had done enough hiking so we headed back into La Verkin to get the van. The mechanic said that it was one of the worst cases he had ever seen but he managed to get everything working great and treated us very well in the process.
With the van back, we were free to return the rental car. We drove back into St. George, dropped the car off, then headed back to our hotel in Springdale to find some dinner and go to bed.
There’s still a lot more to tell. Be sure to check back later in the week to see how things ended.
To be continued…