Talk about a shock to the system! After several days in national parks in a very sparsely populated part of the country, I almost had a full-blown panic attack on arrival in Vegas. Lights! Colors! People people people! They can still smoke inside here (really!)! Phew.
First things first. We woke up at the Zion Lodge this morning. Since we arrived after dark last night, we had no idea what we were waking up to. Stunning.
We grabbed a quick breakfast (the food at the lodge was certainly… available) and drove up the scenic canyon floor drive. Clearly with a half-day to spare and a toddler in tow, we weren’t going to be tackling the 8 hour Narrows hike, but thankfully there were a few easy walks listed on the park information guide.
This time of year, the park shuttles aren’t running, so you can actually drive your own car through the park. Even though it’s the low season, parking was at a premium, and we often had to join other people in parking along the road.
First stop: weeping rock. This is a large cliff face composed of layers of sandstone and shale. Water seeps through the sandstone, reaches the shale, and makes its way out to the face of the rock, where it drips slowly onto the terrain below.
These slow drips plus near-freezing temperatures meant a treacherously slippery walk and lots and lots of icicles! I loved how many explanatory signs there were along the path, though.
Next, we did the short hike to lower Emerald Pool. The walk was easy and paved, but we saw several deer, a woodpecker, and evidence of several rockslides. Plus, much of the way, we had the path to ourselves.
Then, we picnicked on sandwiches and chips and loaded in the car for our drive to Vegas! I-15 is super dramatic, winding though a gorge created by the Virgin River, and I’m glad we were able to see it during the day. We gained an hour on the drive here, so we rolled in just after 6 and checked into our hotel. The view is pretty amazing, but couldn’t be more different than the one at Zion this morning!
Tomorrow: rest, relax, find fun things to do with a toddler in Las Vegas. Here’s hoping we all get to sleep in!