Day 11 – June 20, 2016
Mileage – 76,264
Outside Zion National Park
Distance traveled since we started this journey on June 10 = 2,987 miles.
Last night we started off trying to sleep in 100F heat, it finally dropped to the 90s in the middle of the night. We just aren’t used to these temperatures; sleep was illusive. On our way out we saw our first snake of the trip. It was harmless, but pretty big and beautiful.
Enter Zion, our first stop is the visitors center. Yes that sign really says it is going to be 109F today! We plan to take our longer hike in the morning before it breaches 100F. And we are off on our adventures taking the Zion shuttle to get around the park.
We start on the Kayenta trail to the Pools, a hike a little more than 2 miles, where we will be in the Riparian Ecosystem and will encounter a waterfall, which should be a little cooler. The views are stunning and the lizards abundant. The Pools offer a refreshing mist. Coming down from the Pools trail we head to the Lodge, complete with the largest cottonwood trees in the park. These regal trees buzz with activity, human and avian, affording us a glimpse of an Oriole.
Back on the bus to the end of the scenic road, where we plan to hike up to the base of the narrows only about 2 miles. The lure of the Narrows is too much, and we head into the Canyon through the Virgin River. Teryn is convinced she isn’t going to get wet, but soon we find her floating down the river. The girls realize their water packs provide both a way to rescue each other when they slip and when the bladder is blown full of air it acts as floatation for fun river cruises. Here in the Canyon, the heat disappears as we spend a few hours hiking and playing in the water.
The girls are bound and determined to get their Junior Ranger badge at Zion. The process is a little more involved and requires them to attend a Ranger lead program. The program starts at 3pm, so we walk-run back to the bus to get to the Nature Center in time. Back down the canyon the blinding heat hits us as we walk from the History Center to the Nature Center. It really did get as hot as promised. The Ranger program with Ranger Jeff is one of the best yet. We explore seeds from their parts to how they are dispersed, complete with a skit.
Kevin does his good deed of the day and hikes from the Nature Center to Visitor Center to get the RV. Junior Ranger complete, we all embark on our trip toward Sequoia National Park, hoping to get 5-6 hours of travel in before we need to stop.
Unfortunately our progress is halted only a little more than an hour into the trip and just after we crossed the Arizona border with blowout number 3. We aren’t as lucky as we were with the 1-hour turn around, but it’s not too bad – 3 hours and the right help is sent the first time out. By now, Kevin and Jenney could probably do a tire change themselves if they had a jack, maul, bar, and compressor. The men who help are friendly and give yet another set of conflicting advice on how to prevent further blowouts, at this point who knows who is correct.
Jenney writes a letter to Cooper expressing her disappointment. It has only been the Cooper tires that have blown.
Folks are in a good mood though as we use the wait time to watch ¾ of movie, stopping at the climax. The suspense is killing Teryn. We will have to get to it tomorrow.
Back on the road, we revise our expectations hoping to get to the California border before we are exhausted. The trip takes us through Las Vegas, a show of lights and vivid color. Teryn is amazed.
We reach our goal destination, a truck stop and casino just shy of the CA line. We have hit the west coast time zone, clawing back an hour. Tomorrow, showers are a must!