Jul. 18th, 2008

The Timber )

We spent time in four states today -- from extremely hot, dry eastern California to hilly Nevada to glorious northern Arizona to the lush canyons of Utah. San Bernardino County was nearly 100 degrees; we had lunch in Baker, the nearest city to Death Valley, and drove from there to Las Vegas, where we looked at the wonderful hotel architecture. From there the highway dipped briefly into Arizona through incredible canyons -- they looked partly like the Badlands, partly like the Painted Desert and partly like the Grand Canyon -- before looping up into Utah where for the first time in many, many days, we witnessed a thunderstorm.

And then we drove into gorgeous Zion National Park with a rainbow arching over the cliffs. We checked into the park lodge and took a walk to the Emerald Pools Trails, where we hiked up a paved path to stand beneath waterfalls that drop 100 feet from colorful striated red rock cliffs, spraying the path below. Along the way we saw a elk, lizards, huge black beetles and deer walking within five feet of people. We ate at the lodge and visited the shop, where the kids played chess on the big wooden tables. It drizzled a bit more in the evening as the deer walked right through the grass around the lodge eating.


Driving to Utah )


Friday we'll take several hikes in Zion before heading on to Bryce Canyon and its arches and spires.

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