Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Assorted Red Cliffs Recreation Area Hikes…

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Our last set of hikes while in Utah was at the at Red Cliffs Recreation Area. One short hike we took was over to the Silver Reef Trailhead where we embarked on a short trail to find some dinosaur tracks!

Sure enough we spotted them and we paused to take some pictures to show our grandson Cameron! Successfully capturing the photo we headed back so we could take another short hike. This area was a great place to hike and we marveled that it was such a short distance outside of St George Utah.

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We didn't do any hikes in Snow Canyon State Park this time around as there were plenty of other excursions to partake in that didn’t charge an entry fee. Since we were hiking near the Red Reef Trail we decided to check out a dry waterfall hike and after returning to the car we found what we thought was the trailhead.

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After a short jaunt up through a stream bed mostly in sand we made our way up over  a small hill thinking we were very close to the “waterfall” but alas we were not. As we made our way up the wash the canyon began to narrow we thought we were getting close. Looking for the rope that would take us up over a rock to the next level we continued on.

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We continued on for about a mile but never found the particular feature we were looking for. Admitting we were likely on the wrong trail so we headed back still enjoying the colorful rocks and scenery. We missed out on the sights we planned to see but did not feel cheated since the hike we took was just grand…

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The day wasn’t over as I had one more hike in the Red Cliffs in mind. This one had a small arch on an off the beaten track I wanted to check out. So off we went to a small tract of land south of where most of the Red Cliffs Recreation Area lies. Our destination was to hike to the Babylon Arch.

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Said to be a very sandy but very gratifying trail we drove a long way on a dirt and sand road that maybe we shouldn't have taken in our “low clearance” Honda CRV. After about a half hour on the dirt road we found the turn to the Sand Cove Trailhead. This was where the trail began…

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As we started the trail we were walking down an old ATV road and were sinking our boots in many of the patches of deep sand. A short while later we were at the Sand Cove Trailhead where we walked among some shear rock walls. The trail then took us through a narrow passage that led us through some beautiful Navajo Sandstone rock formations which were out of this world!

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We continued on through the sand as we descended down the hill. I read that the arch would be hard to see on the way down but even as we got near the Virgin River we saw no sign of the arch. The river however was stunning all by itself. We kept looking for the arch yet we never saw any sign of an arch anywhere!

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After looking for a good while we gave up and headed back hoping to stumble upon it. No such luck! Later I found out the arch is only about 8 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide so that explains why we didn't see it as I was looking for something a bit more grand. Nevertheless it was a great hike except for the hike back…

It seemed like every time we climbed a deep sand hill we found another dead end to the trail… but alas after several failed attempts to climb back up out of the Virgin River valley in the deep sand we finally landed on the main trial back to our car. Walking back through the rock formations and back up the old road we finally saw our car and were sure happy to see it.

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We emptied our shoes of sand and got back into the car…We might have missed seeing the sights we planned to see but it was still a great day

Maybe next time we pass through we might finally find  Babylon Arch! 

NOTE: We are leaving Lake Havasu City this morning and moving over to Yuma AZ for a few nights…

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hiking the Pa’rus Trail in Zion National Park…

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We had to do one last hike in Zion National Park before leaving the area. However when we arrived at the park we discovered several trails were closed due to rock slides. We decided on the Pa’rus Trail and since we would have to take the shuttle anyway we rode it all the way through to the last stop at the Narrows then rode it back where we got off at stop 5.

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If the trail we wanted to hike starts at stop 3 so why did we get off on stop 5? Because as we were waiting for people to get on and off I noticed there were some California Condors on the rocks above (in picture below left is one but very hard to see) so we got off to look at them. We had never before seen one of these endangered birds so spotting the Condors perched above fanning their wings was worthy of the additional stop. How cool..

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We got back on the shuttle and rode over to stop 3 and then started our hike on the Pa’rus Trail. The trail is mostly paved and ends at the Watchman Campground following the river for just under 2 miles. There’s nothing difficult about this mostly level hike as it is more like a leisurely stroll rather than a hike. There was not a lot of shade but the weather was perfect his day, nice and cool, not hot at all. We did have to watch for bicycles as this is the only trail in Zion open to bicycles and pets as well.

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The Southern Paiute were responsible for the name Pa’rus , which means “bubbling water,” the name they gave the river known to us as the North Fork of the Virgin River. Interestingly they also named  Zion and called it Mukuntuweap, meaning “Straight up land” long before it became known as Zion.

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The trail meandered along the North Fork of the Virgin River offering up some spectacular views and photo ops. There were also several bridges that crossed the river giving us differing views of the valley. We spotted a few remaining fall wildflowers but saw little wildlife. We were glad we picked the trail as the views of the peaks in the valley were best enjoyed at a walking pace instead of riding by them on the shuttle. That was what made this a great little hike. We even found a sandy spot to relax and eat lunch while watching the river roll by.

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Before long we were at the campground boundary. It looked to us like the campground was completely full. While this trail isn’t known as one of the more popular hikes in Zion, the Pa'rus Trail is a great one to do to especially when the popular trails are crowded or closed. In any event we enjoyed this quiet and simple hike through Zion…

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NOTE: We left Las Vegas NV. and are now in Lake Havasu City visiting friends…