Southwest Road Trip--Day 1, Vegas and Zion
After collapsing last night and waking much too early, we hit the breakfast buffet at the Doubletree. Which was like any Doubletree breakfast, but with worse coffee. At least I was able to get a fresh omelet with spinach and tomato, plus quite decent salsa. We threw our bags back in the car and drove up The Strip.
You're kidding, right?
What possessed people to build casinos in the shape of pyramids, Disney-style castles, French castles, a Colosseum, New York (wanna buy a bridge?), Venice...and what draws millions of people to them? I'm the first to admit that I don;t get the gambling thing--I can somewhat understand the risk-taking adrenaline rush in playing poker with real people, but computer-driven slot machines? And why the theme-park atmosphere, copying famous sites?And considering all the abandoned building sites we saw, there's some trouble in Paradise. I think I just don't have the Vegas gene, although I can appreciate the hilarity of it all.
We stopped at a Vegas-sized Whole Foods just outside town to stock up on some snacks, and hit the road to Zion. Some nice wildflowers along the way.
We eventually arrived in Springdale, a cute one-street town lined in hotels, restaurants, and gift shops; with those lovely red striped rocks looming above. We had a family suite at the Zion Park Motel (not to be confused with the Zion Park Lodge or Zion Park Inn) which was simple, cheap and spacious. You take a little shuttle bus through town to the Park, then another through the Park.
We did three shorter trails. The Narrows was closed because of high water, but we did the 1 1/2 mile walk through the canyon along the river to where your only choice is to continue through the river. This was closed because of flash-flood danger, since there's no where to go if the waters rise. A spectacular walk, with the canyons above and water below. And a nice long waterfall, with a micro climate supporting tiny Zion snails and maidenhead fern. The parents encouraging their children to try to pet the aggressive squirrels were making me crazy--I used my best Teacher Voice with more than a few of them that yes, they do bite.
We took the shuttle to the Weeping Rock Trail and climbed the short but very steep trail up to another waterfall. We also went about a mile up a longer, steeper trail, but turned back. Yes, I am a wimp.
Down at the Visitor's center we took the 1-mile Archaeology Trail to some ancient ruins. I'd seen hints and photos online that there are petroglyphs in Zion, but the Park Service doesn't advertise them because of their fragility. Unfortunately the Visitor's Center closed at 5, so we couldn't ask a ranger. Hopefully tomorrow if we have time after Bryce.
Found this cute guy, though.
Dinner at the Zion Pizza and Noodle, a casual place with decent pizza and good microbrews.