From the very start of our trip with Arthur & Linda they were really looking forward to spending time at Zion National Park. It was the place they most wanted to get to during our time together on this joint RVing excursion. So, guess we saved the best for last.
We arrived in Hurricane, UT on Thursday, June 8th, just ahead of Arthur & Linda. Good thing, too. The campground we reserved here turned out to be much less than we desired. So much so that we just could not even set up our RV there. Siobhan took off in the Jeep and found a great spot with two available spaces just a few miles down the road at Sand Hollow State Park! Score!! Check this place out.
Hurricane became our base for visiting Zion since we couldn’t get reservations in or even near the park. Also, Zion runs a mandatory free shuttle system to reduce the traffic impact that the 2.8 million visitors each year were placing on the 6.6 mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive through the park. Like most things, this is both good and bad. The good part is that there are no cars and therefore no traffic within the park. The bad part is you get around based on the shuttle schedule, like it or not. Oh well.
On Friday morning, we all took the Jeep to Zion together for some hiking. We jumped on the shuttle bus at the Visitor Center to get to Zion’s Hanging Gardens at Weeping Rock. This was a must see for Siobhan, our resident gardener! There are ten species of plants that grow only here in these hanging gardens. The water that makes this possible is over 1,000 years old, originally falling as rain and then slowly percolating through the porous sandstone along the walls of the canyon. From there it was a stop at The Grotto to catch the Kayenta Trail to the Emerald Pools. There are three levels and we hiked to each one of them. Then back to the Zion Lodge to get the shuttle back to the visitor center and the Jeep for a quick ride to Springdale to spend a little time exploring this small village located just before the south park entrance.
That evening we all decided to go out on the town (of Hurricane, that is) for dinner. We found this place called the Stage Coach Grille. What a great spot, fun place, relaxed and good food too. Then it happened – Arthur & Linda had informed the waitress that it was my 60th birthday – a birthday cake showed up at our table and everyone was singing happy birthday…great surprise and much appreciated too!
Saturday Siobhan and I went back to the park to do a hike called “The Narrows” while RT & Linder went for another epic mountain bike ride just outside the park. We took the shuttle to the last stop at Temple of Sinawava, then the one mile paved path called the Riverside Walk to get to the kickoff point for The Narrows. This hike is mostly in the 52-degree river and while it wasn’t more than thigh deep in most places, there is a surprisingly strong current flowing throughout the hike. We heeded the recommendations to rent a strong walking stick and water shoes which turned out to be a good idea from our perspective. We went upstream for miles before turning back to try to join Arthur & Linda for an afternoon river tubing adventure. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it back in time to catch them but we did find a nice pub in Springdale to enjoy a cold one. What an amazing day!
Later that evening after dinner, we got together with Arthur & Linda at their RV to celebrate our adventures and wish them a safe trip back to the east coast as they were leaving the next morning.
We had such a special time with our friends (part of our “extended Sunapee family”) while they could be with us and truly appreciated them joining us. What a unique experience that we will all be talking about for years!