Zion Canyon to Weeping Rock
May 30, 2011
Nave clan at Weeping Rock
Before heading out on our long jaunt to Holbrook, we decided to ride the park shuttle partway up the scenic valley again to the Weeping Rock area, recommended to us by our waitress at Kaibab Lodge as her favorite spot in Zion. This is the family at the Weeping Rock location in Zion National Park.
This is the view we had upon walking out of our motel room in Springdale room this morning. The view out the window of our room was comparable.
We had a wonderful breakfast at the Switchback Restaurant, which was in walking distance. Then we drove up to the Museum, the first park shuttle stop past the entrance to avoid the hassle of the Visitor Center.
We encountered quite a line at the entrance station to Zion Park. Lots of people were returning home from their Memorial Day visit to the area. One of the bus drivers told us it was their biggest weekend of the year.
We hopped aboard the free park shuttle at the museum and Elyse settled in with Darla and Jeff.
The shuttle trip up the valley is quite pleasant and informative about the park. This was our mountain view as we stepped off the bus at the Weeping Rock stop.
As Jordan and Ashleigh approach the trail to Weeping Rock, the early morning sun was streaming through the cottonwood trees and highlighting shrubs on the edge of the rock cliff far above us.
We hiked a winding trail through the woods to get to the Weeping Rock location.
When we reached Weeping Rock it certainly seemed aptly named. There was a large area of the rock wall that was wet, with numerous areas where small rivulets were dripping off the rock. The plants had responded to the moisture and a considerable garden of plants clung to the wet rock.
The explanation we were given was that that the upper rock layers high on the mountain were porous and held a considerable amount of water. Closer to the bottom, the water encountered denser, less permeable rock, and the water pressure then forced some of the water out the surface, helping to sustain a unique plant system.
There was enough water from weeping rock to support thriving colonies of columbine and monkey pod, and enough to give a small clear stream from the bottom of the area. There was a sign warning against drinking the clear water because of the danger of Giardia, the same warning Mark and I got on the Summit Adventure. We had to make sure Elyse didn't drink any - it did look inviting.
There was enough water from the overhang that we mostly kept our hoods on. It was an interesting place in the wildness of Zion National Park.
Who pooped on the path?
It's not uncommon for me to be behind because of picture taking, so when I caught up with the group to find them all giggling, I had to ask what was going on. It turned out that one of the girls had spied some animal excrement on the pathway, and I suppose asked what animal produced it. We had lots of connections here, because we had bought the books "Who Pooped in the Park" both in Canada and at Grand Canyon, and the identification of animal scat was part of the girls Junior Ranger training that we had been encouraging in all the parks we visited. It's one of the main ways you find out what animals have been active in the park.
When we emerged from the trail, this was the mountain view that greeted us. So we praised the Lord for another beautiful day to explore His creation.
The scale of everything here was so vast it was at once humbling and inspiring. You could certainly understand why early explorers gave so many heavenly names to things. We were standing among large trees, and trees just as large on the mountain top looked like tiny toys.
We are walking back toward our shuttle stop for our return. We could understand why our server, Kathy, at Kaibab Lodge had identified this as her favorite place in Zion. We took it seriously because she had grown up in Kanab, just up the road from Zion.
We watched the outbound shuttle as we waited for our inbound one to arrive. The shuttle system worked very well - we never had to wait more than a few minutes.
We certainly had lots of beauty to look at while we waited for the shuttle. Mark and I had walked a short distance down to look at the river when we saw our shuttle rounding the bend.
We took one last look at the river and the red rock walls and headed for the shuttle stop.
Mark is coming from the river in the bottom of this scene. It's not so bad to appear small when you consider the greatness of what you are compared against.
We had a pleasant 20 minute ride back to the Museum to get to our vehicles. We had an interesting conversation with the girls along the way. The thing that started it was a vivid picture at the shuttle stop of a man's hand who had been badly bitten and scratched by a squirrel. At some point Jeff told Elyse that Granddad had picked up a squirrel and been bitten. So Elyse asked me all about that incident, which I had used as a teaching story about what not to do over the years. Then all three girls got involved in asking Jeff and Mark and I about dumb or wrong things we had done over the years and what we had learned from them. Certainly in the conversation was our old saying from Uncle Remus "They's more ways of learning about the behind feet of a mule than getting kicked by them!" This certainly seemed like a conversation you ought to have as a family, and we all enjoyed it on this beautiful morning in Zion Park.