Got My Eye on Zion…And Sugar

Sugar’s been a bit of a troublemaker…

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Sugar at Port Huron last summer

But you’ll have to wait until the end of this post to get the scoop. First, let’s go to Zion, OK?

Rob and I left our free campsite in the Mojave and headed east toward Zion National Park. We couldn’t get reservations at the park and instead paid $$$ for a 3-day stay at the Zion River RV Resort. We decided to stay there vs. continuing to boondock because we wanted the dogs to have air conditioning as we visited the park. They also claimed to have wifi, which would allow Rob to work.

The park was full of behemoth-sized fancy RV buses and 5th wheels, pink flamingos, and signs proclaiming “We’re spending our children’s inheritance”.  Our site was a 25 x 55 ft pea gravel-covered lot 5 ft away from our friendly neighbors.   A rocky berm prevented us from hearing the Virgin River, which was only 15 feet from our site.

The wifi was very slow and periodically we’d be knocked offline, particularly in the evening.   When we asked at the office, they told us to call a number listed on their brochure for improved access.

Huh?  Why not have good access to begin with?

There were some good things about the park: It was clean, there were nice children’s programs and the other campers were well-mannered and friendly. Plus, it was great to get a nice shower!  So…we have a mixed review for Zion River RV Resort.  The sites need to be larger and they need to work on their internet access.

On Labor Day we took the dogs for an early walk then headed to Zion.

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We parked and headed to the Visitor’s Center to review our hiking options. A new tram system was added in 2000 to reduce the need for parking and improve the overall air quality at the park. It worked efficiently, and we found that we never waited long for a tram, even on a busy holiday weekend.

A couple of hikes looked perfect for our available time and ability. The first started at the last shuttle spot in a place called the Temple of Sinawava that featured a walk along the Virgin River that wound up to a canyon called “The Narrows”

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A feather-like cloud makes it look like the angels are having a campfire

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Flowers and greenery adorn a damp rock wall along the trail

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Hoards of tourists sloshed through the water to get to the Narrows.  We turned around, preferring to keep our shoes dry.  There were other places to explore.

We took the tram to “The Grotto” and decided to hike up the Kayenta Trail to the ‘Emerald Pools,’ then continue on to the Zion Lodge. We found the Kayenta Trail to be less-travelled, with great views down to the Virgin River and across the valley.

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Bridge across the Virgin River at the Grotto

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We found ourselves on a quieter trail…with another interesting cloud.  Is this the pathway to the Angels?

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View of the Virgin River from the Kayenta Trail

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Walking under the waterfall from the Upper Emerald Pool

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We stopped for lunch near the Lower Emerald Pool, then walked the path under a large ledge.

We stopped at the Zion Human History Museum to check out the exhibits and the park movie. In a courtyard, a ranger had a telescope trained on an endangered peregrine falcon’s nest high up on a cliff across the valley.

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You’re reminded why Zion needs to be protected.

When we returned to the Visitor’s Center, Rob and I hopped into the car and headed down the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway for some more sightseeing.

If you visit Zion, this drive is a MUST.

You wind up the mountains to a narrow tunnel built in 1930. Once you’re through, the land changes from craggy red mountains to unusual red and white blobby mountains that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

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Checkerboard Mesa

We stopped so Rob could take some photos, parking behind some very wet young men who were carefully putting mountaineering ropes in their trunk.   They told me they had spent the day exploring the slot canyon across the road. At one point, they found themselves neck deep in the icy water. Whew! Something to do when you’re young and thin!

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Mountain goats greeted travelers further down the road.

We enjoyed our visit to Zion and hope to return again some time when we have more time. We now are headed to Gypsum, CO, where we will meet up with my sister in law. She and I are heading to Greece tomorrow. More to come about that!

I’ve kept you waiting long enough.

Are you wondering why I need to keep my eye on Sugar?

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“Who, me?”

Well, let’s just say she had the entire RV Park looking for her last night.   Until yesterday, I didn’t keep her on a leash unless we are leaving the campsite. She doesn’t usually leave my side when we are at camp.

We were eating dinner as we watched the Tigers-Red Sox game on Rob’s computer at our picnic table. Sugar was at my feet waiting for a piece of roasted chicken and we were all happy.

Suddenly the flies and bees descended.

Rob went into the Airstream to get a fly swatter and we began swatting away.

We forgot that Sugar is deathly afraid of fly swatters.

This makes me very sad. A fly swatter must have scared her in her past life sometime. I wonder who would hit such a sweet pup.

I got so busy swatting and watching the Tigers lose that I forgot about Sugar, who was terrified and went to hide on the other side of the berm near the river. She was well hidden amongst the boulders and brush and didn’t come out as we got increasingly anxious as evening became night.

Rob rode his bike around the park to look for her, stopping at the office to let them know she was missing as I asked people walking past our site to keep an eye out for her and waited for her to return. We got flashlights and scanned the berm and riverside for her.

Early in our odyssey, I took Chula on the leash and we walked the berm, “Find Sugar, OK Chula?” She led me to an area on the left side of the berm and started barking.

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“Follow me!  I’ll find her!”

I should have listened to her!

After scouring the area into the night, we decided that we weren’t going to find her in the dark. I pictured myself sleeping in my lawn chair overnight, waiting for her to return.

I went into the camper to put dinner away, hoping that when I went in, she would come out of her hiding place. Rob stayed out, chatting quietly with our neighbor and lo and behold, Sugar reappeared.

She had been right where Chula told us she was.

From now on, Sugar will be on a leash so I can keep an eye on my Sweet Pup.

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