Sunday, April 24, 2011

2011 Zion National Park Day 3

Rolling out of bed before 7 am, we drove into the park for the first time. Parking at the visitor center, we caught the shuttle to Zion Lodge for an Easter Mass. It turned out to be a Catholic SCAP (Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest) service; This was a new experience for Sharon.

After the service, we grabbed a bagel and jumped on a shuttle back to the Visitor Center. We had signed up for a two hour tour interpretive tour of the canyon with a ranger. Starting at the Visitor Center, this tour made four stops, including the Human History Center, the Court of the Patriarchs, the Grotto and Big Bend. At each stop and during the shuttle ride, the ranger talked about the history and ecology of the area.

Heading back to the room, we made a quick stop and then headed into town for brunch. We ate at Oscar's Cafe. This is definitely some place that I would recommend. Jack and I had pancakes, while Sharon had huevos rancheros. Sharon actually said afterwards that it was the best huevos rancheros that she had ever had!

After a quick stop at a rock shop, we packed up and headed back into the park. The plan for the afternoon was a couple of hikes. From the Zion Lodge, we hiked the Lower Emerald Pool Trail to the Upper Emerald Pool Trail and then back down the Kayenta Trail to The Grotto. In total, we covered about three miles. I am not fond of heights. The Kayenta hugs the cliffs above the Virgin River before descending to the Grotto. There a couple of nice pools and waterfalls on the Emerald Pool hikes.

Back on the shuttle, we went up to the Weeping Rock stop and made the short hike up the Rocking Rock Trail.

Just as we got off the shuttle at the hotel, it started to rain. Over the next hour, there was thunder, lightning and heavy rain. We hung out in the room, watched the rain and tried to plan the next two days.

With it still raining hard, we had dinner at the Spotted Dog again. Sharon and Jack had lamb shank, while I had gourmet meatloaf.

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