Saturday, September 22, 2012

9/18 Zion Canyon Riverwalk & Emerald Pools

I’m a few days behind on posting blog entries, but I decided it was safer to tell people what I had done than what I was planning to do.
The canyon that makes up Zion National Park, as is true with Grand Canyon,  was formed by a river, the Virgin River in this case.  Because of the rock structure of several layers of sandstone on top of a mudstone, the water from the uplifted, high Colorado Plateau seeps through the porous sandstone.  When the water hits the mudstone, it has to find a place to go, so it moves horizontally, creating springs and seeps in the canyon wall.  Combined, these add to the water and make the valley relatively lush for a desert getting little rain.  Sometimes it takes the water a thousand years to make this journey, so the seeps and springs contain old water and are not dependent on current rainfall. 

The canyon begins at the south end as a broad river plain, but as you go farther north, it gets narrower and narrower, ending in a narrow, deep canyon.  One of the most popular walks in the park is 1.2 miles long and goes down the narrowest end until there is no place left to walk but in the river itself.  The path is paved and even handicap accessible.   Adventurous people who have brought the right shoes and walking sticks to balance themselves can walk in the river for another mile until the canyon ends in a slot canyon, which is impassable.
I took this walk yesterday, but obviously, I did not make it past the paved part!  Here is the beginning of the trail:

The squirrels were positively aggressive.  There are signs warning you about bites, and after one actually crawled on my lap when I was not looking, I can see how that would be likely.  There is a $500 fine for feeding them!!
And here is the end where people are wading in the river and some are continuing upstream.

Today, I took the shuttle and walked up to Emerald Pools, which is one of those seeps coming out of the sandstone.  The water is dripping over a long overhang and creating pools at the bottom. 

I’ve been trying to do just one touristy thing each day, and then spend the rest of my time housekeeping and relaxing, and of course, watching TV while I have it.  Just four PBS stations here, and no power next week, so no TV then.
Shuttles in this park are marvelous.  I can leave my rig parked and just walk a few hundred feet to the visitor center shuttle stop--very convenient.  There is a shuttle that goes up the canyon and another into town.  The road past the lodge is closed to all but shuttle traffic, meaning that it is less crowded and there is less traffic and parking problems.   

1 comment:

  1. This was a neat trip. Loved your pics and your daily schedule.