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Zion Part 2

In my last post, I was camped out at the lookout on Cable Mountain in Zion National Park. This was the sunrise view from my lofty perch.

My destination on that day would be Weeping Rock trailhead, which is just “down there” at the bottom of the canyon in this photo. If I had been a basejumper or parachutist, I could have made it down in a minute or so. Instead, I chose the slower nine mile route on the East Rim Trail…

There were still lots of wildflowers blooming. (By the way, thanks to my Botanical Guru, Colette Sasina, for identifying the primrose from the previous blog.) This part of the trail crossed through a mixed forest of Ponderosa pines and scrub vegetation. 

Echo Canyon was the next landmark. Cut by thousands of years of rain, the canyon has steep sides, and a narrow trail established by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers during the Great Depression follows a series of switchbacks down hundreds of feet.

The narrow trail had some serious exposure (drop-offs), but its two foot width made it a safe enough path, if somewhat exhilarating at times. 

Nearing the bottom of Echo Canyon, the trail flattened out quite a bit, but the views were still quite nice. The only sounds here were a few songbirds and woodpeckers and the wind rustling the treetops. I saw several ground squirrels, and there was sign of deer and elk, but no large mammals were observed by your correspondent. In fact, I was the only human being on the trail that morning… it can get a bit lonely, but there is also no one to comment on your smelly clothes or B.O.

In the depths of the canyons here, slickrock predominates, and trails are marked with cairns, since there is no readily apparent path to follow. Every now and then you have to stop, look carefully in several directions, and figure out where the next cairn is located. 

The second mountain from the right is where my day’s hike started. I was almost three hours into a 4.5 hour hike at this point, and just starting to hear voices from day-hikers on their way into Echo Canyon from the trailhead. (That’s another reason for no people in the preceding images… there weren’t any around!)

But there were still many wildflowers out and about, including these beautiful red ones…

And finally, other hikers appeared, in this image just before reaching a narrow slot that rushing waters had cut through the relatively soft sandstone. 

Passing though the slot shown above gave one this view of tiny people on the canyon floor. During thunderstorms, a half inch of rain can produce a flash flood pushing a 25 foot high wave of water, tree trunks, rocks and debris down a slot canyon at 10-15 miles an hour, much faster than a human can run or climb to safety.  

The swirls and etchings of the rocks and cliffs in slot canyons lend a surreal aspect to the landscape here in Zion. For perspective, there is a hiker wearing a blue backpack on the trail just to left of center.

Looking straight up at 1500 feet of sheer cliff is not nearly as terrifying as looking straight down, but it is still very impressive!

And to prove to My Lovely Bride that I didn’t just borrow someone else’s photos while I was hanging out at Hooters or Twin Peaks, I asked another hiker to take my picture on the last set of switchbacks going down Weeping Rock Trail. (But I have to admit, I was ready for a beer at this point!) I finished the hike out in 4.5 hours, found a shuttle bus, and enjoyed a coffee and blueberry muffin in Springdale after calling Suzanne for a lift. I was happy to see her, but she actually asked me to roll my window down on the drive back to the coach… something about eau de backpacker in a confined space… 


  • Anonymous
    Posted May 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Beautiful country Ty, thanks for posting! Looks like you got some sun too. Brad

  • Anonymous
    Posted May 29, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Awesome photos. And you have to be pretty brave to do this alone!

  • Colette
    Posted June 1, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    There's no denyin it's you Ty in Zion where hikers flock for the love of rock. Beautiful beyond measure, Zion's a treasure.
    It's clear you're no slacker sporting eau de backpacker. Thank you for sharing incredible photos, it's clear you're the go to.

  • Colette
    Posted June 3, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    What can't be beat… A front row seat; armchair travel… bono!
    Thank you.

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted June 3, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Bravery not required. Backpacking is much safer than driving through Chicago or Detroit!

    Colette, loved your poetry!

  • Colette
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:54 am

    Thanx! H A P P Y F A T H E R ' S D A Y !

    Thought I'd mention, the above red flowers in question —
    Zion Indian paintbrush (castilleja scabrida) East Rim Trail.

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:56 am

    Colette, Thanjs for the Father's Day wishes. Just getting over a trip to the E.R. More to follow on that!

  • Colette
    Posted June 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    OMG! How fortuitous your beloved Suzanne was with you when you went sailing off your mtn. bike!
    No broken bones! Guess you won't be needing a dexascan to validate XCELLENT bone health! Take care!
    The puppies need their master too.


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