We've spent the last two days moseying around the main part of Zion National Park. Like Yosemite, this park suffers from too much love and the main valley can only be accessed by shuttle bus even this late in the season. Many of the voices we hear are not speaking English. Zion is a world class destination. Autumn has barely begin here at the lower elevations. The golden leaves and the golden sage blooming cast a warm glow over many scenes. The Virgin River flows through the main valley, so a wide variety of plants can be found here; even water loving plants like ferns flourish in the shade. It is odd to see cactus growing beneath oak trees.
The road east goes through a mile long tunnel built in the 1930's that is too small for RV's unless they drive down the middle of the road. It is possible to do so for an extra fee to pay for the park's honor guard that stop the other traffic until the RV has made it through. As the road nears the main valley it has a series of sharp switchbacks. Last time we were here we camped inside the park, but we have never found a good reason to thread the tunnel with our rig.
Because it is late in the season, some hiking paths are closed for rehabilitation, but there are still tons of spots to wander and photograph. In many scenic spots we found painters who spent hours capturing one scene while we clicked and clicked and clicked. Each end of the park has a unique look. The shuttle road is lined with huge cathedrals of red rock and the eastern end is filled with swirling sandstone formations, which appears like the ocean just receded yesterday. The movement and dynamism of the rock is astonishing here.
When we wandered in the bright orange sand, we could see many footprints that were not human, but the animals do a good job of hiding from us for the most part. Both mule deer and wild turkeys came close to running into us as they decided to cross the road at a most inopportune moment, but the best animal show we saw were the mountain goats, that looked glued against the almost vertical canyon walls. It was hard to believe that the green morsels there were any tastier than the ones in the valley floor, but close examination showed that some of the goats were licking the canyon walls. Perhaps some tasty minerals had leeched through the rock???
Words are inadequate; therefore, too many photos. I could have included many more.