Return to the Red Rocks. Day 3: The Virgin River.

(Springdale, Utah)

26 November 2022

I was slightly better at sleeping last night, in that I didn’t wake up until around 3.30am which, combined with a slightly earlier night, meant that I’d had around 6 hours of sleep. I dozed occasionally after that, but was already awake when the alarm went off in the next door room at 6.30am. I got up and took a picture of sunrise on the cliffs across from the hotel, then went back to bed and read my book until Andrew woke up. I made coffee and we watched the weather channel for a bit, before going for breakfast. It was good food, but very busy, so we brought the breakfast back to our room. I did my start of holiday complete re-pack of the cases so that we could actually find things, and then we got ready for our first longer walk.

We caught the shuttle bus from the hotel towards the visitor centre. It got stuck in traffic as it approached the entrance to the park, so we hopped off early and walked the last bit. From the visitor centre, we took the Pa’rus Trail alongside the Virgin River, and walked the two miles up to Canyon Junction. The photos probably describe the scenery better than I can, so I’ll leave you to browse.

After Canyon Junction we found an access point to get down to the river and wandered along for half a mile, ducking branches, climbing past rocks, until we found an excellent view of the cliffs above the river. We also saw a deer on the opposite side of the river, but it disappeared back into the trees before we could get a photo.

We returned back along the trail, the cloud cover increasing, and the temperature feeling colder without the sun. Even at just 12 degrees, it had been warm enough for short sleeves while the sun was out but, with it gone, and with a gathering breeze, I had to stop and put a layer back on. There is snow on the higher peaks and on north facing slopes, where the sun hasn’t melted it.

We went to Cafe Soleil and had a latte and a slice of cake, before catching the town shuttle back to the centre of the town, where I bought a new flask (which might be useful over the forthcoming days if it gets as cold as the forecast) and Andrew got some new sunglasses. Then it was back to the room for showers, before walking back again to Zion Pizza and Noodle. I’ve waited three years to come back here, and it didn’t disappoint. Although inside was busy, we were able to get a table on the patio, where we placed our order and then sat back and watched the sunset, the cliffs changing colour over half an hour as the light changed. The pizza was as good as ever, and we had a lovely, relaxing meal.

The walk back through town was beautiful, with Christmas decorations lit up, and the moon sparkling in the sky. I’ll be sorry to leave Springdale, but I’m looking forward to all of the other places we still have to visit on this trip.

P.S. I forgot to mention the e-bikes. The trail as far as Canyon Junction is also open to bikes. We have ridden it in previous years, but this year there were lots of people riding bikes. We noticed that all but two were e-bikes. It turns out that in 2020 the park was forced to stop running the shuttle, and so the only way to visit the canyon was on foot (a round trip of 20 miles without any side trips), or by bike. And most people aren’t up for that…and so e-bike rentals took off. There was a lot of controversy around the type of e-bikes allowed up the canyon, but it seems that they’re here to stay and are incredibly popular. It was nice to see whole families able to enjoy experiencing the canyon by bike together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s