Monday, April 25, 2016

Zion: Day 4

This morning we went back to Zion and rode the shuttle in for the Emerald Pools hike. We started at the Grotto and hiked the Kayenta Trail back to the top first. Seth made the entire hike to the upper pool without being carried. He has really been a trooper on this trip. Dax carried the snacks the entire way-- he insisted because Mark carried a backpack yesterday. The trail hiked in this way was a bit longer, but not so steep. It also allowed us to do the trail in such a way that we finished at the lower pool behind the waterfall last, which was nice.
Ready for another awesome hike in Zion!
There are a lot of beautiful wildflowers in Zion in the Spring.
The views on the Kayenta Trail are amazing.
Seth wanted to take a picture by every flower he spotted--even this lone yellow one!
When we got to the upper pool, we were really amazed at the height of the waterfall. In fact, we weren't really expecting a waterfall, just an emerald pool. It actually looked more like a mustard pool. We carried Seth down most of the way to the middle pool, which we had passed on the way up. Then he walked most of the way back to the shuttle stop. We figured he did close to two and a half miles today.
This is the middle pool, but I think Randy snapped an awesome shot here!
Seth was such a great hiker. I still can't believe how much he walked.
The upper pool waterfall is SO tall!
Someone was nice enough to take a picture next to the "emerald" pool.
It's brown---let's just call it what it is!
The boys were also super-excited to walk behind the waterfall at the lower pool. They stood in the shower and giggled for about 10 minutes. Seth kept saying, "This is just like that crying rock," and he was right. Emerald Pools is the closest thing to a must-do hike in Zion.
They were excited about this part of the hike because it's almost like a slot canyon.
Dax's turn to be silly by the sign!
Walking behind the waterfalls was amazing!
The boys LOVED it!
Look how wet Seth is...ha ha!
There he goes again...
Mark was such a great help. He carried a backpack every day on the hikes. He is growing up.
Seth and Dax loved the shuttle rides.
On the way out of the park, we were stunned at the number of people waiting in line for the shuttle. It stretched a city block. There were cars lined up for a half-mile going into the park as well. It must be really crowded here in the summer. Mercifully, we were on our way to a less-busy part of the park.

Our next stop was Grafton ghost town. We'd done a ghost town before and had a lot of fun, and Grafton seemed to be fairly popular, and it is only a few minutes off the beaten path. As it turns out, Grafton is a restored ghost town. Someone has restored and protected the remaining 6 or 7 buildings. There are interpretive signs and obvious reconstructions. The town was still very interesting, but it was much different than the town of Sego we saw on a trip to Moab last year.
Dax had to read all of the gravestones before we could leave the cemetery.
Grafton was in a beautiful place.
This swing was famous for causing injury to lots of people!
I think Grafton would be a great place to live, well, other than the flooding of the river all the time.
The old bridge was one of the highlights of the Ghost Town.
Next we needed lunch. It was getting past noon, and everyone was a little grumpy. We searched for a park in Virgin, and there was one listed. Unfortunately, there was only 1 picnic table in a pile of tumbleweeds and no grass. We made the best of it and ate in the van. Then we had another grand Zion adventure planned for the afternoon.

As we were going over our options last night, we noticed a road on the map called Kolob Terrace Road. Neither of us had paid any attention to it, and both of us really wanted to drive it and see what was out there. We were told that there were only backcountry trails of considerable length, but we've hiked enough in the last three days, and a pleasant drive seemed nice.

It's 25 miles out the road, and it climbs high up into the mountains. In fact, we ended up at an iced over reservoir surrounded by snow called Kolob Reservoir. Apparently the road only opened this week. The drive was really beautiful, and we did see some pretty cool birds, all of them in different shades of blue. In a pond we saw a ruddy duck with a bright blue bill. Farther up the road, after Dax and Seth had fallen asleep we saw pretty pinyon jay. And toward the very end of the loop just where snow first started to appear, we stopped for a Stellar's Jay. He was too far away to get a picture, but a mountain bluebird was kind enough to alight nearby for a photo. This drive was just the thing to slow down the pace and relax a little bit today.
We saw a Ruddy Duck. Their blue bills are so cool!
Mark and Dad threw some snowballs while Seth and Dax slept.
I didn't even know there was snow in Southern Utah! ;)
We love the beautiful mountain bluebirds.
Kolob Reservoir was still completely iced over, but I would love to come back here in July!
The Kolob Terrace Road was very beautiful.
We got off the mountain at about 3pm, and we stopped at a gift shop called Fort Virgin that we'd passed a few times. For a dollar you could wander through their old village which had 8 or 9 buildings including a bank, a brothel, an undertaker's shop, and a jail. Seth wanted to play tag, so Dad had to capture the kids one-by-one and put them in jail. If they were tagged, they could escape, but Dad is still pretty quick and rounded up all three varmints several times without too many daring escapes.

There was also a petting zoo at the fort, and for a dollar you could buy three carrots. We spent two more dollars and watched the boys be too frightened to feed them to the animals. There were llamas, donkeys, ponies, and deer, all of which rushed to the fence if they saw a carrot in your hand. One hilarious donkey kicked the metal fence making a loud clanging sound until you'd finally bring him a carrot. We've been trying to keep our cost down this vacation with meals in the hotel and all, but this was definitely $7 well spent.
Seth loved being in jail!
Randy really wanted a picture by this shop!
Mark was the only one who was brave enough to feed the animals without freaking out!
I think my face matches the pony's face!
Dad caught all these outlaws.
The llamas were very hungry.
We had fun running around for awhile.
We got back into Hurricane in time to visit the Hurricane Heritage museum. There isn't a whole lot there except for the story of how they built the canal to get water to this place. Well, there is a piece of wedding cake that is 110 years old and a slab of bacon from the 1940s which the boys thought was pretty gross. Outside they had a playground, though and the boys had an awesome time on the slides and monkeybars for about a half-hour before dinner.
The park and museum area was beautiful.
The museum wasn't big, but there are about 10 different signs, so you won't miss it!
Tonight was our night to eat out, and we picked a place here in town. Our meals say a lot about us: Dad had the chopped steak with gravy, primarily so he could dip his french fries in gravy the way he likes. Mom had a BLT; she even said, "You can always count on good ol' BLT." Mark went with the macaroni and cheese because it said "Kraft" right there on the kids menu. Dax had spaghetti because Grandpa told him "You can't be an Ockey unless you like spaghetti!" so he eats it with relish any chance he gets-- whether he likes it or not, he sure acts like he does. And Seth ordered a hamburger that he didn't want to eat, but he used as a bartering tool for what he really did want. "Okay, I eat 5 more bites and I get to go in the pool, and then 3 more bites and I get an ice cream cone." This is the usual story for us at restaurants.

After that, we came home and hopped in the pool, which was all the kids really want to do anyway!
Dax scarfed down the spaghetti. 
They all ate ice cream!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh!! So fun!! The emerald pools look more emerald in the summer. :) And I loved reading about your other adventures!


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