Day 40 - Zion National Park

It's hot in Utah!  Yeah yeah, I know...dry heat.  For the meteorological dorks amongst you, during our hikes today, the temps peaked at 98° and the dew point was 32°.  That's dry.  Like, take your backpack off and your shirt is soaked but 10 minutes later, it's dry.  

Our hotel for two nights is another super nice Holiday Inn and Suites.  It's in Springdale, Utah which is less than a mile from Zion NP.  All the architecture in the city has that mountain lodge look, including our hotel.  The pool is outside behind the hotel and mountains from the Zion Canyon were the backdrop to the pool.  Completely looks like a fake Hollywood backdrop.  As beautiful as the Midwest is, you rarely get that 'whoa' experience you get in Utah.

We got to the park mid-morning and did the Watchman's trail, named after one of the many peaks in the Zion Canyon.  This place is a desert, in elevation, surrounded by classic National Park-style peaks, cliffs and valleys.  A damn hot hike in direct sun, passing cactus, lizards, etc.  Very cool and the kids were complete champs.  I think we are 'there' as far as being in hiking shape - we did 3+ miles with several hundred feet of climbs, over 7500 feet in elevation, sun, over 90° temps and zero whining.  Awesome.

We had lunch and then...met up with friends!  We've been very tough to pin down on this trip, but our Utah crew (Cindy, Mary Ann and their families) moved around plans on a holiday weekend in order to meet up with us.  We hiked another couple of hours with them, went out for a great dinner and then came back to the hotel so all the kids could swim and the grown ups could sit around and catch up.  The girls really loved having some similar age kids to run around with and it was so nice to catch up with friends that we haven't seen for years.  Thanks for you time and the care package.  We may, um, have already broken into the cookies... :-)

Funny note to end the blog - our Wisconsin accents stuck out today for some reason.  An international traveler asked us for directions to the pool and after we answered, they asked if we were Dutch.  Ha!

We're hitting some new states tomorrow.  Have a good start to the week!

- Jim

Afternoon moon over the Zion peaks, view from our hotel in Springdale.

The Canyon at Zion N.P.

The view from our hike on Watchman's Trail.  It's a beautiful and tough place.

Lots of lizards. 

Just one more of Zion Canyon.