Zion & JEM

My favourite National Park from my last visit to the States, I just had to go back & show Valerie Zion. Kept awake for most of the wee hours, I was decidedly slow & not really in the mood for walking around in the sun. But after not having been long in Zion, the beauty of the place & then seeing a woman with a stump for a left arm & no right arm at all snapped me out of that. I still love Zion – there’s something about being at the bottom of that canyon with such sheer & red walls. We did pretty much the same things I did on my last visit, with perhaps one extra short walk. For the first time on this trip, I wished I was traveling with someone who would be keen for a big back-country hike (there were a few groups around starting/finishing) – not a lot of Zion is easily accessible, hiking is one of the few ways to get out & see more of the park away from the canyon. I tried to spend more time appreciating the scenery & not taking photos – I think I succeeded in this, but still ended up with a lot of pictures.

The Virgin River was running quite high – couldn’t walk up to The Needles

These thistles were bigger than I was – just as well the bees weren’t.

Back in Hurricane in the prevening, I set out to ride the Gould’s Rim/JEM Trail/Hurricane Rim loop again. It was a blast & I whipped out the 33 km in just over two hours of riding (less than 2.5 total) – so quite pleased with that as there was over 600 m of climbing as well (mostly a big hill at the start & then riding around the rim at the end). I also managed to cut out about the extra seven kilometres I did last time when the trail wasn’t marked very well. It started off overcast, but the setting sun dipped below the clouds – with the light breeze it made for very pleasant riding conditions. I shared the trail with a lot of chipmunks & lizards again – also a lot of nice flowers out as I whipped down the JEM trail (that’s always a pleasure, fast flowing singletrack that gets rocky & more technical in an instant).

Gooseberry Mesa – would be riding up there two days later

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