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Utah Again, Day 3: The Emerald Pools

sunny 103 °F

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Today we went to Zion National Park with Nick and Crystalynne, Joe and Mary, Ryan, and Justin. Above you can see another picture of the Ringtail Cat sculptured that reminded Catherine of Flora so much last year. For comparison, we have included a picture of Flora. They do have somewhat similar tails.
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The rest of the group wanted to hike The Narrows, which follows the Virgin River back past the paved trail. You walk in the river, and most people rent equipment to do it. We decided to do the Kayenta Trail, which starts at a place called The Grotto and ascends to the three Emerald Pools: Upper, Middle, and Lower.
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There weren't very many people on the trail as we were hiking up. We encountered a few people on their way down, but the information they gave us about the top of the trail was somewhat vague. Our hope was to reach the pools and then hike down the other way, on the Emerald Pools Trail back to Zion Lodge.
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We kept going towards the pools.
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Eventually we reached the Middle Pool. There was a short secondary trail to the Upper Pool, but we wanted to figure out our path to make sure we were on track to get to the Lodge and to meet up with the group on time, so we headed down to the lower pool. The lower pool is, understandably, below the upper pool. There is a waterfall that you walk behind, and there is the interesting phenomenon of small plants growing on the well-watered ledge behind the waterfall.
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The path from the lower pool to the Lodge was much easier than the Kayenta Trail from the Grotto. We were able to finish it much more quickly than the trail up. It also provided some beautiful views, but the way up was unmatched for quiet serenity.
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We arrived at the Lodge, where we were able to see deer and wild turkeys. Most of it had been closed last year, but this year the gift shop in the lodge was open so we looked around there a bit before taking the shuttle back to the visitors' center.
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At the visitors' center we were able to get some nice pictures of the moon as it came up over the rocks. We waited there for the rest of our group: phone service wasn't good, so we waited for some time and got a text that the rest of our group was getting on the shuttle at about the same time they arrived. They had had fun on the Narrows trail, but we still felt happy with our choice of hiking Kayenta Trail.
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We went to a cafe in Springdale called Oscar's, which mostly serves Mexican food but also has burgers and other sandwiches. Catherine got chili verde tamales and Daniel got enchiladas. It was a very good meal (note, the building in the picture is not Oscar's, but a building across the street. The picture was taken from Oscar's and shows the moon over the rocks).

Posted by danielcatherine 06:25 Archived in USA Tagged lodge hike quiet flora grotto zion narrows emerald_pool ringtail oscar's kayenta Comments (1)

Utah Again, Day 1: Venezuela

sunny 120 °F

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Flora was, as always, very helpful in our packing process.

This year, we are going to Brian Head, Utah again with more of Catherine's family: her parents, her brother Nick and his wife Crystalynne and their kids, and her Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary's family. Her brother Fr. Michael will also be joining us for part of the trip. It is exciting to be back with a larger group!

We picked up some pastries in Tehachapi at a German bakery, and also got some bierocks to have as our group dinner.

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In Las Vegas it was extremely hot and extremely crowded. We tried for some time to find parking, which was difficult. We wanted to go to Cornish Pasty Co., but there was no parking to be found anywhere nearby. Instead, we found a place called Viva Las Arepas, which is Venezuelan food. They had empanadas (which are of course very similar to pasties) and arepas, which seem more like a sandwich. It was very good, and we will probably go back another time when we are on our way through Las Vegas.

By the time we finished dinner it was dark, and we journeyed through Nevada, the northwestern-most tip of Arizona, and southern Utah in the darkness, reaching our destination at 12:30. We had to check in with the security guard, and we were exhausted. We're very excited about the upcoming trip!

Posted by danielcatherine 19:33 Archived in USA Tagged las_vegas arizona cat utah flora venezuela nevada empanadas selma arepas pasties bierocks tehachapi Comments (1)

Utah Day 1: Mountain Meadows

sunny 113 °F

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Flora was a lot of help with our packing!
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We stopped in Las Vegas at Cornish Pasty Co.. We have gone there before, to the location in Flagstaff, but this was our first time visiting the Las Vegas location. Usually we go to Flagstaff in the winter, when the weather is between 0 and 15 Fahrenheit. In Las Vegas today it was 113, so not usual "pasty weather" for us. The pasties were wonderful as they always are in Flagstaff. We will stop by on our way back to pick up some half-baked pasties to freeze and have at home.
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We diverged from the path to visit the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. It was a very sad event in history and it was amazing to see where it actually happened. It was a beautiful location and it's sad to think that such awful things happened in such a peaceful seeming location.
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The memorial, sadly, seemed a bit sanitized and doesn't go into much detail about what happened. The original memorial had a cross, which reflected the Christian faith of the victims of the massacre, and the current memorial does not. We both thought that the cross should be replaced. Nevertheless, it is good that there is a memorial there at all. The flags are the United States and the flag of Arkansas, which was the point of origin for the people killed in the massacre.
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This is supposed to be the old wagon road, and the ruts are still visible in how the grass grows. It makes it easy to imagine wagon trains coming through this location.

We arrived in Brian Head, where we are staying, late. Our room is very nice, and we are staying at a very high elevation which will help us get acclimated for our hikes.

Posted by danielcatherine 14:59 Archived in USA Tagged las_vegas utah flora arkansas massacre pasties mountain_meadows Comments (0)

Maui and Kaua’i Day 1: The Cat’s Meow

sunny 104 °F

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One thing has changed since our last travel post: this June when Daniel was taking out the trash, he encountered a tiny kitten abandoned by her mother. We have named her Flora because she was hiding under a flower pot. In order to be able to go on our trip, we had to find proper accommodations for her. Thankfully, Catherine’s parents agreed to watch her. We set up these two tents as a home for her while she is there, and they also let her out for play time with supervision.

Catherine’s aunts and uncles were hosting a retirement party for her parents, so we went to the party and then went back to the house to get Flora settled. She seemed happily snuggled with her toys and ready for her “stay-cation” in Fresno. Then we drove to San Jose to begin our journey, and had dinner with a delicious dessert of pineapple pie, and a night of playing 500 with Daniel’s parents.

Posted by danielcatherine 15:41 Archived in USA Tagged cat party flora retirement 500 pineapple fresno stay-cation pineapple_pie Comments (1)

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