Before I leave Bryce Canyon behind, here is a photo of a little fella we saw when we were up there. It isn’t a great photo as he wasn’t very cooperative and shot off when he saw my camera. By the time I’d switched lenses, he was off in the distance which is why he’s a little blurry.
But I’m pretty sure he is a Mountain Bluebird and he proved to be a good auger of happiness for the next stage of our trip to Utah.
After a much needed scoff at the historic Ruby’s Inn (buffalo meatloaf for me – yum) we set off for Springdale and our next overnight stay.
Entering the park from the Mount Carmel end, the road soon narrowed and twisted before we finally entered the mile long tunnel that marks the start of the descent into the canyon through a switchback of hairpin bends.
The views were fabulous (if you weren’t driving – thanks Marj) and the road and tunnel an impressive feat of civil engineering and it was surprising to learn that this work was carried out in the 1920s for the specific purpose of allowing easy access from Zion to Bryce.
The Quality Inn and Suites where we stayed couldn’t have been more different than our first motel experience, but you can read all about that on my Trip Advisor review.
Unfortunately, the rain that had been lashing the west coast were threatening to fall on us that day, so we set off fairly early on the shuttle bus hoping to beat the clouds.
In fact it rained briefly as we arrived at the stop for the free tour bus, but the shower was brief and we remained more or less undampened throughout the visit.
Zion was a very different experience for us. For a start, we were actually in the canyon rather than above it as we were at Bryce, and it was also green and lush thanks to the Virgin River which snakes through the bottom.
We’d decided to take one of the easier hikes from Zion Lodge to Emerald Falls, a walk of 2.2 miles mostly on a level track. For me it was a chance for the more intimate photos that illustrate this post.
Sadly, I missed some of the more interesting plants were six feet down a steep rocky slope ending some way down at the river. I did contemplate trying to reach them, but decided that the insurance would be unlikely to cover me if I fell on the grounds that idiocy was a pre-existing condition.
It really was a perfect way to end our trip and even Springdale seemed normal after the strangeness of Panguitch. There was even a Gideon’s bible in the hotel room instead of the Book of Mormon.
Incidentally, if you want to learn more about the followers of Joseph Smith, South Park’s All About Mormons is as good a place as any to start.