Thursday, July 10, 2014

Zion Area for Independence Day

Over the July Fourth holiday weekend we took Audrey toward Zion National Park in southwest Utah. Happily it’s only about a 3 hour drive from our home! When we originally planned the trip we were thinking it might be a good place to go to escape the heat. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite pan out… the temps were right around 100 every day we were there. We were staying at the Zion River RV Park (two thumbs up!) and happily had full hookups with electricity so we just ran the heck out of our two a/c units and we did fine.

On the morning of the Fourth of July we drove over to Springdale, which is a cute little town right near the main entrance to Zion. We sat on a curb and watched their sweet little parade - what a hoot!

Springdale, UT

Members of the "Drill Team"

Even a Zion shuttle bus participated in the parade

I loved the cliffs in the background of the parade

Afterward we went to the nearby ghost town of Grafton. We learned that it had been settled in the mid- to late-1800s by Mormon pioneers acting on the mandate from Brigham Young. I can't imagine the hard life they had in those desert conditions! In 1866 some of the settlers traveling on their way back to the town were "killed by Indians" (as their grave says) and that's one of the things that ended the town. Apparently after that episode Brigham Young made a rule that towns had to have at least 150 men, so the people of Grafton uprooted and settled in larger places.

The old cemetery was fascinating

The grave for the family that was "killed by Indians"

This is the real handmade deal!

The schoolhouse/church has had some refurbishment work done on it.

On July 5 we trekked north to the Kolob Terrace area of Zion National Park. It’s about 18 miles off the main highway up a windy two-lane road, but wow were the views fantastic! There is one campground up there that has 5 tent spots, then "Lavapoint Lookout". You could see forever up there! And it's a unique perspective looking down on the main Zion canyon where all the visitors go. Right before we'd arrived there had a been a big thunderstorm with some pretty strong lightning. We came across three Zion firemen at the lookout watching a column of smoke and talking to their HQ about who was going to go put it out. They'd seen the lightning hit a tree and go up in flames. They explained that even though it was damp right at that moment it could smolder and when everything dried out in a day or two the fire would climb the hillside.

Deer near the Lavapoint Lookout - elevation 7800 ft

Zion Canyon from above!

See that little smudge of smoke?

Just one of the incredible views on our way back down the mountain.

Next weekend Audrey gets to have another outing! We're headed to Malibu with our Las Vegas Airstream Club for a "rally" for several days. Stay tuned for pics!

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