Zion , Part 2 Cedar Breaks National Monument, New Friends, and Another “What is This....
Updated: May 15
Ok, so I feel like I did a good job shortening my last post, but this one was a little harder since I went into more details on the “moment” and our new friends. Oh well, enjoy!
Next one is shorter, I promise.
Well, the plan was to get out of the trailer by 7am and we came close at 7:30am. After stopping to get Jen coffee because she didn’t want to wake any neighbor’s with the espresso machine, we got on the road for what turned into a very long day of driving.
Our first mission was to get through the Zion main gate and head up the Mt. Carmel Highway to the East side of Zion and hike the Canyon Overlook Trail which is a short 1 mile round trip trail with an ascent of 169’ with slight difficulty due to the terrain and (imagine this) cliffs on the side.
The trail takes you along a small canyon hillside with handrails at most locations to keep you from taking a plunge.
At one point, you walk on this wood-planked walkway to get around the bend where there is no rocks to stand on.
The views through the hike were well worth the effort and the cliffs weren’t too bad…they gave a bit of room before the cliffs.
Once you get to the end, you are again amazed with the overall beauty of what Zion has to offer.
Did you know that Zion was not this National Park’s original name? In 1919, the acting director of the newly created National Park Service visited the canyon and proposed changing its name from the locally unpopular Mukuntuweap to Zion, a name used by the local Mormon Community. Congress added more land and established Zion National Park on November 19, 1919. Excerpt found here
(I am sure the local Indians at the time thought the name Zion was unpopular too)
Once we finished that hike, we drove the rest of the way through Zion with just two stops - one for some Desert Bighorn Sheep and another for Checkerboard Mesa where we met two very nice ladies from Seattle (Lori and Shawn) who were doing a big circle around Utah and finishing with a Sting concert in Salt Lake City.
As we left the park, we stopped at this gift shop/restaurant right outside the East gate called “The Get” where we got some ice cream for breakfast. I promised Lila she could have some after her hike yesterday but we had run out of time.
The lady there recommended we go check out this local secret called the Dragon’s Belly or Belly of the Beast and the Grand Staircase Drive so that is where we headed.
The Dragon’s Belly was pretty cool. It starts out with this long tunnel cut through sandstone which I think was a drainage culvert but you could walk through this thing and the ceilings were about 10-12’ tall and the floors were cut through the rock.
At the end of the tunnel, we thought she said there was something cool but you had to climb up some rocks first.
All we found was an empty creek bed, so we kept walking hoping something was just around the bend and then we came to this….
Which made us think we must have to figure out how to climb this and the surprise would be on the other side so I hoisted Jen and Lila up and they climbed up and disappeared. I waited a bit and they didn’t come back so I finally figured out how to get up myself and climbed to the top to find……
Nothing...just more of an empty creek…. 😞 I am sure during the spring time this was a nice waterfall and creek but now, not so much.
The climb down was more of an effort to keep ourselves from falling and the last step was a doozy. 😲
We left there and drove to the Grand Staircase Johnson Canyon drive she told us about and drove 31 miles through this with half of it being a gravel washboard road (not fun and definitely put the bike rack through the test). Overall, I would not recommend this drive to anyone, heck, it was so uneventful that I don’t even have pictures for you.
Once we got back to the main road at Glendale, we decided to go check out this national monument called Cedar Breaks. We had no idea what to expect, but I would definitely recommend this place to everyone just for the views alone plus they had a Jr. Ranger program that Lila finished and quite a few hikes as well.
We went on the Alpine Loop Trail where we got these great pictures.
All told, we(I) drove 220 miles, hiked about 2 miles, ate most of our snack pack/lunch stuff, and had ice cream for breakfast. Pretty cheap date all together…< $50 with diesel included at $2.85/gal 👏
Yes, it is that time again for another “What is this going to cost me!” moment.
As we were packing up to leave the RV park and head to our 3 nights at the Watchman Campground located in Zion National Park, I got on the roof to clean off the slide and as I was heading down I thought I better go back up and check the front cap seam.
Little history for you on this, after we bought the trailer in 2016, we stored it for winter in Woodland at a storage facility but it wasn’t under cover. After the long winter we had with over a foot of snow, we got the trailer out for a weekend trip. Jen got in to put our clothes away in the front closet and said, “Hon, can you come here? I think we have a problem” Famous words from Jen right before any major problem she finds. After I got on the roof, I found the whole front seam had separated and water had leaked in for who-knows how long. Fortunately, after long talks, the dealer we bought this from (B. Young RV) said they would warranty the whole repair, they gutted the whole front end and replaced everything including the mattress and they re-did the front cap. One month later, I went to check on it and guess what….yep the seam separated again but we caught it in time and they fixed it again. Then again about 3 months later, same thing!! We went back to them and again they fixed it and said they found the problem. Needless to say we are not very happy with them.
Back to the story, I went back up and looked at the front seam to see this
So besides the fact that it happened again the bad news is we had to get out of our spot in the next 30 minutes. Good news was we only had to drive 13 miles and we had 3 days at the next place to fix it. I was getting nervous because here is what it looked like driving down the road.
Thank goodness, we didn’t have to drive fast for too long because the speed limit drops to 30mph the last 5 miles in.
Bob couldn’t wait the 13 miles 😖
So I decided I was going to start over with the whole seam and I took off all the old lap sealant.
Fortunately and unfortunately, the temperature was above 100° when I was up there so the stuff peeled right off, but I was miserably hot up there.
Once I got to the metal strip, I could see that a couple screws were missing and one was broken plus the staples used to fasten the aluminum siding down were also missing in a few spots and some were rusted in half. Not good B. Young RV! 😡
After I tucked in the excess rubber roof material under the aluminum, I used exterior wood/metal screws to fasten down the aluminum, then applied Dicor seal-tite corner repair seal to cover the transition from aluminum to rubber roof. Once I cleaned up the metal strip, I applied Akfix Allbond Universal to the bottom side of the metal strip and used stainless steel screws to fasten the metal strip back on.
The next morning, I applied Cofair Quick Roof Extreme 4” Tape right over all of it as a secondary protection and to seal everything in.
Finally, I applied new Dicor lap sealant to all edges and corners that were previously removed.
If this doesn’t hold it, I give up.
This took me most of the day since I had to drive 1 hour each way to St. George, UT to get the materials needed. Jen and Lila hung out at the trailer and went on a bike ride to the grocery store. Jen also came up and helped at times. 😉
Also, when I was up there many people came by to ask what I was doing and for directions to various stuff. Two girls came at one point and asked where they need to go to get a camp site. I told them where they needed to go, but that I think it is full here. They had somewhat of a strong accent and sounded like they were in need of somewhere to stay so I said that if they wanted they could camp on our tent site and it wouldn’t be a problem. (I hadn’t asked Jen yet, but she usually is fine with stuff like that) They said ooookkkk and they might be back. Funny thing is they walked by the bathrooms on their way there and Jen started a conversation with them and not knowing I offered them a spot, she did the exact same thing (and she thought, oh Steve won’t mind).
Anyways, later that evening they showed up, pitched their tent at our site and we met Shani and Shaked from Israel. We all talked for quite a few hours about their story, our story, and what all our plans were over the next few days, weeks, months, and year. They were both very nice and polite. They were best friends that had met in the Israeli Army and have stayed friends ever since. All young Israeli adults have to serve 3 years in the Army after they graduate high school. They had gotten out not too long ago and both signed up to be instructors at kids camps abroad. One went to Canada and the other to USA and now they are both done and enjoying a road trip around part of the USA before their Visas expire.
We told them they could stay another night if they needed and they said they might take us up on that.
By the time we woke up, they were gone. They wanted to get an early start so they could get Angel’s Landing and the Narrows in all in one day. Due to the holiday weekend, it was crazy busy in the park. We, on the other hand, decided that we were going to go explore the outer edge of the park where most people don’t go (only about 10% of visitors). After the roof repairs were finished, we first drove to the Grafton ghost town and cemetery, of course.
Afterwards, we drove up the Kolob Reservoir road to the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead to start the Northgate Peaks Trail which is a 4 mile round trip with about 100’-200’ elevation change but mostly level.
We started around 1pm and wow, it was hot! Luckily, about a half mile in we got into a sporadic pine forest with shade. As usual for Zion, the end of the trail led us to an amazing view of Zion from a different direction.
Once we got done, we went out for food then headed back to the camp site. We promised Lila we would go play in the Virgin River which was 50’ away from our site over an embankment. We all got down there, but Lila and I were the only ones playing around in the water. Someone had built a couple long rock dams about 3/4 of the way across the river. It is a river but it is only about 30’ wide here and at the deepest point it was about 2-3’. Lila and I were disassembling a section of each of the dams so water could flow better and Lila was picking out the litter because she is a Jr. Ranger and they are supposed to clean up litter ;) Things were going great until (poor choice of shoes for both of us), Lila yells, ‘Oh no, dad, my flip-flop fell off!!’ So in my flip-flops, I run (not a good idea) down the river trying to catch this flip-flop and thankfully didn't fall or trip too bad, but did get pretty darn wet when the ground disappeared in some deep areas. Stretching big for land, I was able to get up on a tree root and jump from root to root to get down the river quicker and finally (thanks to a dam) retrieved the flip-flop. Lila finally catches up and says ‘thank you, dad!’ and I said ‘Your welcome and play time is over because I am drenched’ 😥
Once we got all cleaned up, we were hanging out in the trailer after night fall and we heard a knock at the door. Our new friends were back!! So after they got their tent all set up, we all got together again to go over how each others days went. They had woken up early to beat the rush and were stuck waiting for 40 minutes for the shuttle up to the Angel’s Landing stop where more Rangers were there holding hikers back to limit the people on the hike. They said they waited 2 hours before they were able to go on the hike. Wow!! Don’t come on a holiday weekend.
Yesterday, we offered them food and water but they said they were fine. This time Jen didn’t give them a chance to say no and fed them a good meal with plenty of cold water. They were very grateful and said they had only eaten bread most of the day. Lila graciously gave up her last bit of ice cream she had and the girls enjoyed that as well. We all talked again for quite a while hearing all about life in Israel. They said we need to come visit them and they would be our tour guides. Well, now we know what our next trip will be after we get back (of course, after we work for a while) 😬
The next morning they packed up and came back to say their good byes and asked if we could take a picture with them which was good because we wanted to do the same.
The rest of the day until 2pm was spent working on Lila’s school work and finishing part 1 of the Zion blog post. We purposely waited until later in the day to go to the Narrows so it would be warmer and hopefully less crowded. When we arrived at the final bus stop for the Narrows river hike, we had to walk 1 mile to the end of River Walk hike to start the actual river walk. During the walk up there, we passed a ton of people heading back to the bus so that was a good sign it might not be too busy. It was interesting to see everyone pass because when we talked to Ranger Drew and various others some mentioned you should rent these river boots in town for a low cost of $25/person for boots, neoprene socks, and a walking stick. We asked many people over the last week and got the feeling we could get by without them so Jen wore her Chaco’s and Lila and I wore our running shoes. So as we were walking there, we noticed that less than 10-20% of the people had those boots. In fact, quite a few had sandals, flip flops, chaco-type shoe which most people said you should at least wear closed toes shoes.
Anyways, when we finally arrived and walked down the stairs to enter the river, Jen and Lila watched a guy at the top of the stairs dump out his shoes full of water over the side of the stone wall, only to land on a lady below. Eww! Well the hopes of being somewhat alone disappeared quickly, there was a lot of people on the river.
We made it up about 3/4 of a mile before we stopped on a big rock in the river for a snack break and to watch a group of people rappelling down the cliff into the river.
After the break, we made it another .5-.75 miles before everyone started getting tired and cold so we turned around. On the way back down, we got stuck behind a very large group of people and Jen said we should try and get around them by going down a deeper side of the river. So Lila and I got there first and I saw it was going to go over my short‘s pockets that held my cell phone so I asked Jen to hold onto my backpack while I threw my phone in a couple zip-loc bags and then into my backpack. While we were finishing this and I was turning back to the deep water, I told Jen ‘Geez, we could probably just turn around and go in the shallow area now that it took this long.’ as a joke. Then Lila and I went into the deep water and were getting pretty soaked when we looked back to see how Jen (her idea to do this) was doing and she turned back around and went through the shallow area and stayed nice and dry. WTH??!!! Not cool, Jen! 👎
40 minutes later, we were back in the bus heading home and Lila and I were still wet from Jen’s detour while Jen was bone dry.
Back at home, Jen cooked up some fresh tomatoes, pesto, and mozzarella cheese for dinner.
Good night and good bye, Zion!
Tomorrow, we head out towards Bryce Canyon for a couple days.