Portia and Erik's adventure in Zion

Archive for May, 2011

Anniversaries and Birthdays in May!

Happy Birthday and Anniversary!

So this month was Portia’s Birthday, and our second anniversary! 😀  Pretty awesome.  For our anniversary, I got a whole bunch of maps! I’m very excited about them.  And Portia got a new fancy  journal/notebook thing, and a new bathing suit.  We had the day off so we went out to dinner and had  a lovely time.  We didn’t take any pictures… just strolled and enjoyed ourselves.

On her birthday a whole bunch of the staff came with us and we celebrated at Zion Pizza and Noodle Company in Springdale.  It was rip-roaring raucous of a party!

This is half the party - our friends from Zion Ponderosa Ranch.

This is the other half of the party!

Chad surprised Portia with an awesome birthday gift!

And then we all went across the street to Zion Candy Company for ice cream! 😀


Sand Caves Near Kanab

Just north of Kanab there are some really cool looking caves that can be seen from the road.  We heard they were fun, so we hiked up to them!  It only took about 20 minutes to do all the walking and exploring, but it was a really cool spot.

We only had our phones with us, so you get phone pictures in this one. 🙂

Charlie and me in the Sand Caves

There are four or five "entrances" to the cave.

Portia and Charlie in the cave

It'd be a cool lookout spot if you were a Paiute I would think.

Charlie is a tough explorer dog!

They are really close to the road, nice and easy to get to!

They're called the Sand Caves because.... well... there's lots of sand!

This is what they look like from the road

Petroglyphs in Zion National Park

My parents were out here for the weekend, and before they left we went into the park to see some petroglyphs!  They’re really neat, and easy to get to.  I think the park is trying to keep traffic low in the area (Petroglyph Canyon) so I’m not going to give nice directions on how to get there, but if you’re ever down here to visit I’d love to hike to them with you!

The main attractions at ZNP mostly have to do with awesome sandstone formations–it’s easy to understand why, the park is really a spectacular place.  Many people overlook the fact that many native americans inhabited the canyon through time.  They left a few petroglyphs behind for us to wonder at, and some cliff dwellings (we’ll post about those just as soon as we find them).

They sure don’t look very true to real life, but you can’t stop yourself from staring at them.  It’s so interesting and fun to try to figure out why someone took the time to carve such interesting things into the rock. Portia took some great pictures of the rock art. 🙂

At the mouth of Petroglyph Canyon is a really neat bridge, built in the 1920’s.  People drive over it all the time, but never see the great stonework.  I liked it a lot, so I took some pictures.

The path leading to the petroglyphs

They really like Big Horn sheep.

More cool stuff...

I definitely have no idea what some of them are!

This one looks like a cougar is biting the guy's leg off!

There are two big panels of petroglyphs in the canyon.

A back packing trip with a snake?

Here you can see on the left side where a big chunk has been removed- probably by some selfish scumbag.

There are several sets of marks on the wall where they would sharpen their tools-- probably for carving petroglyphs!

Mom and dad and Portia and me.

To build it, they built a wooden frame, put the rocks and mortar in, and then removed the woodwork.

Portia in the tunnel

Fat Man’s Misery

We have been having so much fun here at Zion Ponderosa Ranch! We work hard, play hard, sleep hard…. every day is busy and fun.  Niether Portia or I have posted much on here, but there are plenty of stories to be told, so we’ll get caught up!

Today I’m going to write about a little canyoneering adventure I had on one of my days off.  Fat Man’s Misery is a pretty little canyon that is actually outside of Zion National Park, although the hike starts inside the park next to Checkerboard Mesa.

Many people will tell you it is called Fat Man’s Misery because of the long (LONG) hike to get to and from it.  This actually isn’t true, it is called Fat Man’s Misery for a very narrow section that used to be in the canyon.  This narrow section of the canyon has changed as water has changed the features of the canyon.  It is still a beautiful canyon, and the long hike back to my car made me feel like a fat, miserable man, so the name is still appropriate.

A funny side note to this post… My friend Chad had done this canyon a couple weeks earlier, and as he had no problems, I felt comfortable doing the canyon.  As you exit Fat Man’s Misery, you hit the East Fork of the Virgin River, and it is important to know the level of the river.  I checked the level of the river online, and found that it was the same as when Chad had done it, so I figured it would be fine.

When I got to the river however, it seemed a little high, but Chad had done it, so I’d be fine.  Right? Right.  I waded in, and the water was usually just waist deep, although there were several places where I couldn’t touch the bottom, and the current would pick me up and carry me along.  I safely made my way about a half mile down-canyon and hiked back to the car.

When I talked to Chad, I found out that when he did it, he thought the water was too high and so opted for a different exit from the canyon.  My lesson from this trip: always ask for details!!

To get to Fat Man's Misery, you park near the Checkerboard Mesa viewpoint in Zion National Park, and hike from the road, south along the west side of Checkerboard Mesa.

Once you get to the south side of Checkerboard Mesa, you head east for a bit, and then south into Misery Canyon.

The flowers are blooming all over, and they added lots of nice color to the hike - like this Indian Paintbrush.

Fat Man's Misery is has lots of twisty narrows, the open up into sandy washes and then narrow up again.

At the bottom of Fat Man's Misery, is a warm and odorous spring. The temperature of the water below Sulfur Springs is very nice after the cold water in Fat Man's Misery.

Fat Man's Misery intersects with Parunuweap Canyon, which has been carved out by the East Fork of the Virgin River. If you continue downstream, you hit the Zion National Park boundary (where the canyon is closed) and if you continue past the boundary, you come to a big waterfall, and eventually you'll get to Sprindale.

The river in Parunuweap was flowing a bit harder than I expected, but it was manageable.

Cactus Blooms

Pretty Yellow Flowers

On the south side of Checkerboard Mesa is a fun little arch.

3 miles from the car to the top of Fat Man's Misery, then about 4 miles uphill from Parunuweap canyon back to the car. A very nice day.

Fat Man's Misery

Erik left this morning to go do a canyon, first one of the season 🙂

He went to a place called ‘Fat man’s misery’. It’s called that because part of it used to be REALLY narrow, but then a big flash flood came in and washed part of the rock away (not sure how many years ago). Actually the area he is going to reminds me a lot of the place that Aron Rolston went, anyone seen 127 hours? That guy. (Erik isn’t back yet to give me some photo’s of the area, but here is part of the area you hike threw).

We had our first day off on Friday, it was so nice!

We hung up a hammock:

Charlie made a new friend 🙂

All in all things have been going really well. Hope you all are having a beautiful Sunday!

*Sending positive vibes to all of you*