Getting to Zion

Sunday morning (the Sunday after Labor Day weekend) I headed north out of Kanab on Route 89 with the intent of spending a good portion of the day in Zion National Park, which is not far away.  Before I even got to the Park entrance I made many stops to admire and photograph some of the many rock formations located right along the highway.  The morning sun really lit up the formations to my left.

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And even the elaborate formations on my right caught my eye.

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I soon came across an abandoned property which had once been some type of tourist attraction.  It was fenced off, with signs warning people to keep out, but I quickly became obsessed with this huge formation with a dead-calm reflective lake in front of it.

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Zion National Park (1/2)

These are some of the things I saw while driving through Zion National Park on the Sunday after Labor Day.  These were all taken with the smartphone camera.  Closeups taken with the digital camera will be posted later.

My original plan was to park my car when I got to Zion and use the Park’s bus system to get around.  Parking is very limited and there is one big section of the Park which is only accessible by bus.  When I saw the amount of traffic in the Park, especially the number of tour buses, I quickly decided to simply stop at as many pullouts as I could and abandoned the bus idea.  Consequently, you are only seeing a small portion of what Zion has to offer.

I was at Zion several years ago and of all the National Parks I have actually been to so far, it is one of my favorites.  I strongly encourage everyone to visit it and see for themselves.  It is a quick, easy ride from Las Vegas and can easily be seen in one day.  Just don’t come the Sunday after Labor Day!

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Zion National Park (2/2)

These are some of the things I saw while driving through Zion National Park on the Sunday after Labor Day.  These were all taken with the smartphone camera.  Closeups taken with the digital camera will be posted later.

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This was the line to get through the tunnel.  It is one reason I decided to abandon my plan to use the Park’s bus system to get around.

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After leaving Zion

After going through Zion from east to west I decided to take a scenic loop counterclockwise to get back to Kanab.  Once I was outside the Park I went through a series of small towns and when I got to Virgin I turned right on the 23-mile road to the Kolob Reservoir I had started to drive the day I came down from upstate Utah.

I didn’t know radishes came from  the cactus plant.  Actually, the red objects are the flowers (or fruit) of the prickly pear cactus and are called figs or tunas and can be cleaned and cut open for their juice.  It is a popular additive for making jellies and jams, or syrup for use on salads or in drinks such as margaritas.  Yummy!

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Upon reaching the reservoir I turned around and headed back down to Route 9.  Turning right again, I continued west to LaVerkin, turned left and went to the town of Hurricane where I picked up Route 59 which would take me east and in to Arizona before turning left in Fredonia to get back to Kanab in time for dinner.

Once I crossed in to Arizona the road opened up and I had mountains to my left and open desert to my right.

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This was one of the many formations to my left as I headed towards Fredonia.

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This formation is located right across the street from where I was staying in Kanab.

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Grand Canyon North Rim (1/2)

These are photos taken mid-day Monday at the North Rim.  Bright sunshine as opposed to the heavy overcast in the pictures I took at this venue a few days earlier.  These were all taken with my smartphone camera.  I did take some closeups from here today, as well as some wildlife photos, which I will post in the future.

It was still a little hazy when I first arrived but visibility improved before I left to head down to Flagstaff, Arizona for the next 4 nights.

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Grand Canyon North Rim (2/2)

These are photos taken mid-day Monday at the North Rim.  Bright sunshine as opposed to the heavy overcast in the pictures I took at this venue a few days earlier.  These were all taken with my smartphone camera.  I did take some closeups from here today, as well as some wildlife photos, which I will post in the future.

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Looking down an exposed embankment.  Careful, JohnBoy….

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Watch your step!!

As is the case in many National Parks, and even out and about on local roads and scenic overlooks, you must be VERY CAREFUL where you step, and how close to the edge you get.

After walking out to one of the viewpoints I walked back up the steps towards the Lodge and saw this tree, which I thought made an interesting picture.

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I took one photo, then another from a little further back.

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I still wanted to get further away and looked behind me before I took yet another step back.  Good thing I did.  This is the ledge I would have dropped off of.

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And would then have fallen down this embankment.

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You have GOT TO pay attention to your surroundings at all times.  Many people have literally fallen to their deaths, or suffered severe injuries, trying to take that perfect selfie.

Grand Canyon (1/3)

These are all photos taken Tuesday at the Grand Canyon (South Rim) using my smartphone camera.  I’ll post closeups taken with the digital camera at a later date.

These pictures were taken between 1000am and 1130am local time.  Colors change slightly throughout the day as the sun changes position and as I move to new vantage points.  It also depends on whether I am standing in shade or sun, and whether I am looking down into the canyon or shooting across it with sky included.

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This was my vehicular mode of transportation once I got to the Park (the Grand Canyon is a National Park).  The Park is incredibly well organized and they do a fantastic job of schleping people around with a minimal amount of aggravation.  Parking is very limited, and many of the viewpoints are only accessible by shuttle bus, so better to park and let them do the driving (and not worry about parking or pulling out in traffic).  Plus it reduces pollution.  The view from the North Rim was noticeably more hazy (no buses used up there).  Also, North Rim is higher and the viewer is looking more in to the sun than from the South Rim vantage points.

South Rim has 4 basic areas of exposure to the Canyon itself.  I parked the car in one of the lots adjacent to the main Visitor Center (after around noon they encourage people to park in a nearby town and take a free shuttle bus, the purple route, in, as the lots inside the Park fill up).  I took two bus routes (blue to red) to get as far west as they allow vehicles to travel.  I then started working my way back east towards the Visitor Center.  The red route services the viewing points at the extreme western area of the accessible part of the Park (which is only a fraction of the true southern rim of the Canyon).  The blue route traverses a large area which contains many of the lodges, restaurants, lecture and entertainment venues, administration buildings, medical, search and rescue, maintenance, etc.  East of the Visitor Center is the orange route.  And finally, there are about 25 miles of viewpoints which are accessible only with your own vehicle.  That takes you out to the East entrance, which is how I will go in tomorrow (and I’ll do the orange route viewpoints).

Today I used the Main entrance (from the south) and left via the East entrance.

The majority of the South Rim, the western portion between where I was today and Las Vegas, is only accessible by hiking (or off-road vehicles where allowed, and they don’t allow many!).  Also, commercial (tourist) helicopter traffic is no longer allowed over the Canyon (thank goodness!!!).  It was stopped in the late 80’s after too many accidents occurred.  There are still helicopter service providers (a dozen or so helis buzzed over as I was waiting at the entrance to get in) but they aren’t allowed to fly over or into the Canyon itself (or only at the areas far away from the South Rim viewpoints).  So it was very quiet and peaceful once at the actual viewpoints.

Enough talk!  Let’s get to the pictures….  I started taking Canyon pictures around 1030am local time.  You will notice that the colors get richer as the day progresses and the sun gets higher.

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Grand Canyon (2/3)

These are all photos taken Tuesday at the Grand Canyon (South Rim) using my smartphone camera.  I’ll post closeups taken with the digital camera at a later date.

These pictures were taken between 1130am and 1220pm local time.  Colors change slightly throughout the day as the sun changes position and as I move to new vantage points.  It also depends on whether I am standing in shade or sun, and whether I am looking down into the canyon or shooting across it with sky included.

Enjoy!

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Another paint artist at work.  I asked if I could take his picture and he said yes.  You’ll be seeing more of him and his work-in-progress when I post closeups in a day or two.

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Grand Canyon (3/3)

These are all photos taken Tuesday at the Grand Canyon (South Rim) using my smartphone camera.  I’ll post closeups taken with the digital camera at a later date.

These pictures were taken between 1220pm and 1245pm local time.  Colors change slightly throughout the day as the sun changes position and as I move to new vantage points.  It also depends on whether I am standing in shade or sun, and whether I am looking down into the canyon or shooting across it with sky included.  I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many pictures.  I took more pictures between 1245 and when I started heading back to get my car at 2 o’clock, and even a few more after that.  I’ll post those pictures tomorrow, plus some of the ones I’ll be taking from a different part of the Canyon on Wednesday.

Enjoy!

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