Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Watchman

Each time I visit Zion NP, I spend a lot of time looking up at The Watchman.  It's quite an imposing peak that's visible from the campgrounds as well as the hotels where I stay.  I don't seem to get tired of taking photos of that hill.  There's a non-technical route posted to summitpost.  Some day I hope to try that hike.   I can't find any of my nice photos of The Watchman, so here's one I took from my camp site in the South Campground.  There are much nicer ones on the internet.  Photographers crowd some areas at sunset just to take photos of that peak.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Zion Hiking Book

I picked up this new book at the Zion National Park Visitor Center.  Favorite Hikes In & Around Zion National Park came out in 2012 and includes hikes on east side of the park where I like to explore.  In addition to Zion NP, it covers hikes in nearby areas including Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks NM, Grand Canyon NP, GSENM, and more.  I like the annotated color topo maps and color photos.  It's printed on heavy stock paper so that's nice too.  I've already found several new hikes in it that look interesting.  I'll try those on future trips.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I've been to Zion NP twice since my last post.  I really like that place.  I don't hike the established trails, but instead hike the backcountry on the east side of the park.  

Lately, I haven't been taking long hikes.  I've been exploring areas off Highway 9 that I'd been ignoring.  For example, the area south of Jug Handle Arch, the saddle north of South Ariel Peak, the rocks NW of Cockeye Falls.  All of them had plenty of footprints and even cairns.   

The hiking was great.  It was fairly warm (98F) on this trip, but not as hot as the previous one (110F).    It cooled off each evening to the 70s with light rain almost every night.  It was fun sitting on the balcony of my hotel room in the early evenings watching the bats dine on insects in the air.

On this trip I noticed a couple things that were new to me.  First, I saw quite a few people taking photos with iPads.  That just seemed so odd to me.  My iPad photos are crap compared to the ones taken by my camera.  But, oh well.  It was interesting.  Also, I saw about a half dozen cars each day with a GoPro camera mounted to the exterior.  I'm sure they recorded amazing videos as they drove along Highway 9 on the east side of the park.  It's also safer, since the driver can then focus on the road, and let the GoPro do the videography work.

After my knees started hurting on the third day, I decided to relax by walking through the Watchman Campground.  They did some refurbishment there in the past year or so and I was interested to see what was new.  I was pleased to see that they have built new restrooms.  They're quite nice.  Very nice.  Heck, I might reserve a site and camp there on my next trip.