Well, this was a full day. We are running into an interesting dilemma. Our first actual destination for this trip is in Colorado, but we’ve decided to take meandering, scenic routes in order to get there. What possible dilemma could arise from that? Well, it’s just that we are breezing through some amazing parks on our way somewhere else and it feels a little funny. I know there are treasure troves we are casually passing through and about the only way we can feel ok about that is to just know we’ll return some day. It’s a pretty good dilemma to have, mind you, on the dilemma scale.
The morning began with Richard riding the rest of the Valley of Fire scenic route with me sagging him. That was a very pretty stretch of road. The park could easily earn status as a national park, but then, it would probably be more crowded. Then we drove up highway 15, passing through the spectacular Virgin River Gorge along the way. By around 2, we got to Zion (having lost an hour going across the border). Being in Zion, you can’t just do nothing, so we debated whether to try hiking “The Narrows” or take the “Watchman Trail.” Given we didn’t really have the time to do Virgin River hiking experience justice, we went with Watchman.
“It’s an easy trail,” he said. “Just a couple of miles,” he said. OMG, I was not ready for the climbing, but I will fully endorse the trail as being well worth it. The trail head was walking distance from the Visitor Center, which is right next to Watchman. The elevation gain for the trail is listed at 368 feet and now I have a better, more visceral feeling of what that means. It’s a steady, switch-backy climb for about the first half. The grade is reasonable and the trail is well maintained and not too deathy. Eventually, you come to the observation point, giving spectacular views of the whole southern part of the valley. Crazy beautiful and we even got treated to some gentle droplets of rain to help cool us off. We caught sight of a couple of mountain goats from a distance, and finally got to use the binoculars.
After that, I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to make it back to Dory before midnight, given how slowly I was walking. Richard kindly volunteered to go fetch dinner from the nearby town of Springdale and bring it back. I got to bask in the stunning views and put my feet up, sipping a cold drink. At sunset, we marveled at the way the last rays of sunlight lit up the range behind us, as dozens of bats started coming out, zigzagging across the evening sky.
As we move forward, we will be driving through some of the most scenic areas of the country. We’ll just need to remember we’re not trying to do it all in one trip.
Total miles: 138.1, 16.9 mpg, 4 hours 10 min. Watchman loop B, site 43. Electric hookups, dump, nice bathrooms, water spigots a plenty. We both have LTE, but it is so slow as to be almost nonexistent at times. Probably because everyone here is posting pictures to FB (me included).