Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our Little Zion Adventure--Sand Digging Canyon

 Over the weekend we went to Zion National Park to meet one of my brothers and his girlfriend. The park was packed! I couldn't believe how many people were there. In fact, the park is on track to have more than 3 million visitors this year. That's a lot of people for a park that has few roads through its 232 square miles. All the parking lots were full and the highway through the park was very busy. 

Nevertheless, it is possible to find a little quiet. We lucked out into one spot. We parked right before the second, smaller tunnel. A social trail led down to Clear Creek, the canyon that the road parallels for a long section. I figured we would hike in it. But then Desert Boy noticed a side canyon. In particular, he noticed a long tunnel. It was a tunnel that had been carved through the sandstone to allow the canyon to drain. He asked if we could go in.

You already know what I said!

The tunnel was nice and cool and easily walkable. On the other side we popped out to some pools.

I admired some of the fall colors. The maples had a few red leaves.

We spotted a lizard.

We continued hiking in some very nice terrain, the kids leading the way. They were so happy to be exploring. I was so happy to have a little piece of the park to ourselves. They kept telling me I needed to touch the sand because it felt so great. When they found some wet sand, they said it was perfect sand-castle making sand. I could tell they wanted to stop, but I told them we were going to keep hiking.

Then we rounded a corner and found this sweet spot, and I knew we had found our little mecca.
 Not only did we have wet sand, we also had water, colorful rocks, and a little bit of shade. I quickly claimed the shade and laid down on the nice sand and took a little snooze.

 The kids quickly started digging and constructing their sand castles. Everyone was happy!

When I felt refreshed, I wandered up canyon a little.

I found more pools with some stained water in them. The canyon opened up a bit.

I didn't go far, and found the view coming back down was great.

I even found some flowers in bloom.

Desert Girl was happily throwing sand into the puddle. The beauty of desert canyons is that rearranging the sand causes no harm--floods will rearrange the sand much more than two little kids could do in an hour.

Because they're kids, they couldn't resist the water. They asked if they could go for a swim. I said sure, as long as they took all their clothes off. And so they did, quickly discovering that the water was rather cool. 

No one came the whole time we were there. 

 When we scrambled back up to the road, we were back to the highway, with one car after another.
I suspect that there are a lot of sweet spots in Zion, just off the highway. So if you're there, take a chance and see what you can find. We couldn't have been more than a quarter-mile off the highway, but we had it all to ourselves. Even better, the kids keep asking when they can go back. Since they led the trip, they feel ownership in the hike. (See this post for tips for visiting Zion with kids.)

That was our little Zion adventure. Coming soon: our epic Zion adventure.

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