As we enter autumn fully now, the sun begins it’s illumination around 7.00 am but it is not light enough to cycle without lights until 7.30 am. This is when we started what should be a short day of 14 miles.
The 14 miles are a gentle up, with the scenery getting more and more dramatic the further we went, with the low light of the early morning sun hitting the rocky mountains (not the rocky mountains though, just mountains made of rock).
The road was nice to ride on with a good wide shoulder and we made good time. As we passed through a town called Rockville, a RV pulled over on the opposite side of the road. It was Sandy and Kevin who we last saw about 4 weeks ago on a campground near to Pinedale. They had just finished their stay in Zion National Park on the Watchman Campground. They said we may have some difficulty getting a camping spot as everywhere was filling up very fast in the mornings (it was now 9.30 am). Sandy suggested that we spend as much time as possible in Zion as it is so beautiful, and we must walk “The Narrows”. They were on the way to take their car for repair so couldn’t stop long for a chat. So we waved goodbye again and who knows where we will see them again.
We had 4 miles to go including cycling out of Springdale to the campgrounds. There was a short piece of cycle path into town which made nice cycling, once in town it is a tourist honey pot full of shops ready to remove that bulge from your purse (or wallet).
Just outside Springdale the National Park begins and there is a $15 entrance fee (or $30 per car with no restriction on people numbers, how very unfair). We paid our fees to the nice ranger person, who said the campgrounds had both filled by 8.00 am this morning, but to try the Watchman campground as they may find something for us. Which we did and they did but only for 1 night. It was 11.00 am by now.
What else could we do but be a tourist so went and hired wet boots, wet socks and a pole (no they were not already wet and no they were not for some strange ritual either), they were for walking “The Narrows”.
We got on the free shuttle bus into the main gorge area (no cars are allowed) and 40 mins later got off at the last stop called the “Temple of Sinawava” (see I told you there was no ritual involved here). There follows a one mile river walk on a path then you walk up the river itself with the canyon walls towering above (1000 ft), all very impressive. We walked for a few hours, it was quite busy with a lot of people.
Another 40 minute shuttle ride and we were back at the campground, where a few inquiries later found out that booking in the campground started at 7.00 am and people ofter queued from 5.00 am! But there were 55 people leaving tomorrow so I was hopeful of a site.
A short walk into town and we had a nice pub meal, fish & chips and fish tortillas. Then back to the tent for a well earned rest, remembering to set the alarm for 6.00 am to make sure we get 2 more nights here.