Sunrise was at 7.37 am this morning or so the sign in the information centre proclaimed. It took longer to get ourselves ready this morning as we had not moved for 3 days, everthing seemed to be in one big messy pile.
First we went to the Visitor Centre to check email, we had sent one to the RV Park near Mt Carmel Junction to confirm that they took tents, no reply yet (I did try calling and only got an answer machine message).
Then we had to cycle the 1.5 miles up the Pa’rus trail to Canyon Junction, it was a nice easy traffic free ride. After this it was new to us, 3.6 miles of zig zags (or switchbacks) to the tunnel entrance, yes there is a tunnel to leave Zion National Park to go to Grand Canyon Natiinal Park. The cycling was actually quite easy and gave some impressive views.
The tunnel was built in 1930 and is 1.1 miles long, it is not designed for modern traffic and is completely unlit. Bicycles and walkers cannot go through it (although if you have a RV you can pay $15.00 and they make it one way for you allowing driving up the middle so not to scratch your shiny RV, as it has an arched roof, do you notice a slight bitterness here?), so to get to the other side we have to hitch a ride with our cycles.
Our saviour was Mark and his pickup truck, unluckily for Mark he had a puncture on his caravan and had took the tyre to be mended which luckily for us ment his pickup was empty. He was from Grand Junction and visiting Zion for the the first time, so now being experts on the area gave him a whole pickup full (no buckets here) of tips.
Once through our cycling continued through the magnificent sandstone scenery, it did not have the scale of the main area but the water and wind eroded mountains had an almost sculpture like feel.
This is Checkerboard Mesa, it was all impressive.
All too soon we left the National Park the scenery changed very quickly into more managed agricultural land, all a lot more open. We even cycled past a Bison farm. A quick coffee stop on the way and who stopped and waved but Mark with his nice shiny tyre now full of air (not that tires are shiny, and spelt like this of course), thanks again.
We climbed to todays maximum height of 6000 ft then dropped 800 ft down Highway 9 into Mount Carmel Junction, our intended stop. The RV park had still not replied so rather than risk riding 1.6 miles to find they do not accept tents, I asked about camping at the Trading Post (where we also purchased vital supplies, beer in 20 oz cans! when I say beer I mean Bud Light), we were directed to public land where we can just camp which is where I am sitting writing this, it is very nice as well (the writing and the camp spot). It must be time to relax now and prepare for tomorrow (that is eleven words to say go to sleep, probably something you the reader has been battling with since starting todays blog).