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Wednesday, 01 March 2017

Experience Southwest USA’s Five Wonders of the World in Ten Days - Page 3

Written by Maureen C. Bruschi
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Zion Canyon’s Weeping Waters and Sandstone Cliffs– Day 7-8

An hour and twenty minute drive southwest took us to Zion Canyon, known for petrified sand dunes, erosion-sculpted sandstone, hanging gardens and waterfalls.  The afternoon we arrived, we took the free shuttle to the Emerald Pools Trail (referred to as an “oasis in the middle of the desert”) for a two and a half mile hike to three pools, trickling waterfalls, grottos and hanging gardens. If you take this trail and have sturdy walking shoes and water, don’t miss the sign for the Upper Emerald Trail.  It’s a little bit of a steep, rocky half-mile climb but well worth the effort. When you reach the grotto and pool you will be at the base of three hundred foot high cliffs, surrounding you on three sides.  And there’s plenty of room for you to sit and recover before you begin your trek back.

On our second day we hopped on the shuttle bus and headed to the furthest stop out, Temple of Sinawava, where we followed the Riverside Walk to the Narrows.  The Riverside Walk is a paved easy path to follow, about 2 miles roundtrip, paralleling the Virgin River. The Riverside Walk ends at a small circular beach with benches where the Narrows, the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, begins. If you’re adventurous, and prepare properly (shoes will definitely get wet), your journey can continue with the Virgin River as the trail, through a gorge with walls a thousand feet tall and the river only twenty to thirty feet wide. Make sure you plan ahead, checking out current river flows and flash flood warnings.    

As the day came to a close, we drove through the 1.1 mile-long Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, an engineering masterpiece dug through deep stone mountains.  On our way out of the canyon, we spotted multicolor stone formations, including the Checkerboard Mesa, a unique sandstone mountain.   

Checkerboard Mesa Zion Canyon

Back to Vegas and Home to New Jersey – Day 9-10

After a three hour drive to Las Vegas and before catching a flight out to New Jersey the next morning, we relaxed and walked the Vegas Strip. But it was impossible to pay much attention to the famous facades of the Paris Opera House or the Bellagio fountains after experiencing Southwest’s five wonders of the world.  

(c) Maureen C. Bruschi

 

 

If You Go: 

 

Las Vegas McCarron Airport to Hoover Dam:  40 minute drive. Cross over the dam; park on the Arizona side for free; Nevada lots are $10.  

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Last modified on Wednesday, 01 March 2017

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