Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Zion and More

The day after we went to Sand Hollow Reservoir, we decided to go see a part of Zion National Park we hadn't visited before and head up to Kolob Reservoir. On the way we made a little detour to allow for my wildflower obsession. The indigo bush was stunning.

I think the bush above is large four o'clock (Mirabilis multiflora), a perennial in the Four O'Clock Family.

Here are some beautiful sego lilies (Calochortus nuttalli).

And this is one of my absolute favorites, a member of the Buckwheat Family: desert trumpet (Eriogonum inflatum). Mother Nature had a sense of humor when she created this plant!
I like it so much, here's another view of it.

After our little wildflower extravaganza, we kept heading towards Zion and in the town of Virgin turned north at the sign pointing to Kolob Reservoir. This windy road goes through a couple sections of Zion National Park. Before we got into the park, the kids needed a food break, so we found a nice sandy area next to a small stream.

Then we proceeded up the road. This road can be quite scary in places, with hundred-plus foot dropoffs on either side. The reward is spectacular views.

Under the burnt orange cliffs are the burned trees and a small park entrance sign for the Kolobs Terrace section of the park. There aren't many attractions here, just a few trailheads, and further north a campground, picnic ground, and overlook. No entrance fee is charged to travel the road through this part of the park.

It looks like the vegetation in the burned area is coming back nicely, including the prickly pear cactus.

Every once in awhile there are surprise vistas from the road, like big green meadows. These meadows eventually drop off into the numerous canyons of the area.

Out at the Lava Point Overlook, the view is grand. With a bit of telephoto magic, one can feel very close to some of the famous Zion canyons.

The grey trees are mostly aspens that haven't yet leafed out. It was a bit chilly, and of course the wind was blowing. The campground was still closed and we saw patches of snow.

Nevertheless, we pushed on to Kolob Reservoir, a very popular trout fishing locale. At least it is during the summer, but even in the forty-degree weather we saw a number of people trying their luck.
We drove around the reservoir, admiring different views. The map showed a back way to Cedar City on gravel roads, but we weren't sure if it was passable with all the snow we saw on north-facing slopes. We asked some other people and they said that they had tried, but as soon as they went around a corner, a huge snowdrift blocked the way. So we'll have to go back again in the warmer months and give that a try. It would also be nice to get out of the vehicle more instead of staying huddled inside it to keep warm!

On our way back to Virgin, we found some cows being moved along the road. It didn't look like an easy job with all the traffic.

I guess if you train them early enough, though, they'll get the hang of it!


Watcher said...

Thanks for the Four O' Clock ID- I've seen that on several St. George area trips, but hadn't yet made the ID.

Chattahoochee Valley Daily said...

Looks like a fun trip.

Anita's Antiques said...

We liked the desert trumpet also. We thought they looked like a praying mantis.

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