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Old May 19, 2011, 7:46 AM   #1
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Default Following the Sun

The weather prediction wasn't the greatest, high probability of showers/rain. As we drove toward Zion and our planned morning hike a couple of raindrops hit the windshield. Dan thought about the fact his warm jacket wasn't a rain jacket and looked to the south, noticing that the sky looked a lot lighter there. He asked, "How would you like to go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon?"

I'm always willing to visit one of the grandest places on earth, so I agreed. As we drove along, it seemed like a great decision, it was pretty dark back the way we had come:



A view looking toward Utah (we were in Arizona by this time):



Unfortunately, as we got within about 20 miles of the park, the land started to look like this:



We stopped at Jacob Lake for a quick stop, about 15 minutes and our car looked like this:



I would have been tempted to drive on if we had been driving the Jeep, even though the thick snow made it a slow, miserable drive. However, this was supposed to be a day trip and we didn't want to get stuck, so we headed back. As we did so we passed a couple of snow plows going the other way.

We decided to drive through Zion on our way back, even though it didn't look all that promising from this spot on the road:



And it wasn't. Until we got to the tunnel there was some snow mixed in with the rain (notice the wet road).



We stopped a couple of places along the road, jumped out and took a couple of pictures, then jumped back in, drying off the cameras. I stitched together 5 frames that Dan took, trying to capture the beauty of the plateau above Zion Canyon. It's not easy to do.



I, with my rain jacket, weather sealed K5 and DA*50-135, ventured a little further, exploring an unofficial little water cascade off of the rock.



The rock varies in color - some is white/light grey while some is red/orange, like the colors of Zion's great cliffs.

There's several different easily accessible parts to the national park. The most famous is Zion Canyon. If you drive past the canyon, the road winds up to a fabulous tunnel, an amazing engineering feat for its time. The tunnel curves up a cliff to reach the plateau beyond, which is where the soggy pictures above were taken. The terrain is completely different on the other side of the tunnel, you are now below, looking up at the cliff walls. Only this day it was hard to see the cliffs:



So a long day driving while striking out all over. Following the sun just got us into more snow than we wanted to see and no incredible views anywhere. Oh well, that's the hazard of spring vacations, as I look out at cloudless skies as the sun comes up. Too bad we have to pack up and leave this morning.

Last edited by mtngal; May 19, 2011 at 7:49 AM.
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Old May 19, 2011, 10:20 AM   #2
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I can certainly understand your disappointment over the less than stellar weather, but I have to assume that that part of the word is magnificent in any conditions. (When I spent a day and a half in Zion in December, I also was very sorry I couldn't get to the very top of Angels Landing, due to snow on the ridge causing unsafe footing. And on that final ridge, there is absolutely no margin for error!)

When I returned from that trip, I promised my wife that we would have to go there together and see Zion, Bryce, and the North Rim. So far, we don't have anything planned, except that that trip is near the top of our traveling list. I'm very much looking forward to seeing your photos of Bryce.
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Old May 19, 2011, 1:41 PM   #3
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I've been to Zion only once, a quick visit after a heavy rain, it was a little disappointing. Your quick views make me want to return and really see it. The weather adds a perspective not normally seen to the shots. I like them. I also like the B&W

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Old May 19, 2011, 8:34 PM   #4
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The misty cliff is beautiful.
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Old May 20, 2011, 9:58 AM   #5
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Thanks for the compliments, Zion is spectacular in any weather.

mtnman - I thought of your pictures from your hike up the trail to Angels Landing. I had seriously thought about trying it but of weather didn't cooperate at all. Next time I think I'll try going up to Hidden Canyon first though.

The nice thing about living in California is that it isn't that far away and we'll be back another time.
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Old May 20, 2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Thanks for the compliments, Zion is spectacular in any weather.

mtnman - I thought of your pictures from your hike up the trail to Angels Landing.
You've gotta do the Angel's Landing hike. Allow your self 5-6 hours for it. I planning on repeating it in October this year when I'll be back visiting Zion NP!
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Old May 20, 2011, 6:32 PM   #7
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> ... and no incredible views anywhere.

I disagree! There are some stunning views, for example #5 with the fantastic contrast between the distant background and the middle ground. Or what about that "little water cascade" - just gorgeous!
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Old May 21, 2011, 12:29 AM   #8
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Thanks, Keith. I'll have to admit that I used a bit of Viveza on the 5th one - the cliffs, while lit while the distant mountains were cloud-covered and dark, didn't have quite that much contrast. The grass alongside the road was that wind-blown though. The original scene was that dramatic but the original picture I started with wasn't. I wondered if I had gotten too carried away with trying to get the picture to match the feeling I had when I was there.
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