In my last post, I was camped out at the lookout on Cable Mountain in Zion National Park. This was the sunrise view from my lofty perch.
My destination on that day would be Weeping Rock trailhead, which is just "down there" at the bottom of the canyon in this photo. If I had been a basejumper or parachutist, I could have made it down in a minute or so. Instead, I chose the slower nine mile route on the East Rim Trail...
There were still lots of wildflowers blooming. (By the way, thanks to my Botanical Guru, Colette Sasina, for identifying the primrose from the previous blog.) This part of the trail crossed through a mixed forest of Ponderosa pines and scrub vegetation.
The narrow trail had some serious exposure (drop-offs), but its two foot width made it a safe enough path, if somewhat exhilarating at times.
Nearing the bottom of Echo Canyon, the trail flattened out quite a bit, but the views were still quite nice. The only sounds here were a few songbirds and woodpeckers and the wind rustling the treetops. I saw several ground squirrels, and there was sign of deer and elk, but no large mammals were observed by your correspondent. In fact, I was the only human being on the trail that morning... it can get a bit lonely, but there is also no one to comment on your smelly clothes or B.O.
In the depths of the canyons here, slickrock predominates, and trails are marked with cairns, since there is no readily apparent path to follow. Every now and then you have to stop, look carefully in several directions, and figure out where the next cairn is located.
But there were still many wildflowers out and about, including these beautiful red ones...
And finally, other hikers appeared, in this image just before reaching a narrow slot that rushing waters had cut through the relatively soft sandstone.
Passing though the slot shown above gave one this view of tiny people on the canyon floor. During thunderstorms, a half inch of rain can produce a flash flood pushing a 25 foot high wave of water, tree trunks, rocks and debris down a slot canyon at 10-15 miles an hour, much faster than a human can run or climb to safety.
The swirls and etchings of the rocks and cliffs in slot canyons lend a surreal aspect to the landscape here in Zion. For perspective, there is a hiker wearing a blue backpack on the trail just to left of center.
Looking straight up at 1500 feet of sheer cliff is not nearly as terrifying as looking straight down, but it is still very impressive!
And to prove to My Lovely Bride that I didn't just borrow someone else's photos while I was hanging out at Hooters or Twin Peaks, I asked another hiker to take my picture on the last set of switchbacks going down Weeping Rock Trail. (But I have to admit, I was ready for a beer at this point!) I finished the hike out in 4.5 hours, found a shuttle bus, and enjoyed a coffee and blueberry muffin in Springdale after calling Suzanne for a lift. I was happy to see her, but she actually asked me to roll my window down on the drive back to the coach... something about eau de backpacker in a confined space...