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Utah Day 5: Zion

sunny 102 °F

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Zion National Park had been closed for a while, and now requires that guests register for a spot on a tram. It is relatively crowded compared to the other places we have visited, which is a bit scary with the virus still out there. However, it seemed that almost everyone was wearing masks (including us) and that the hikes took us to less populated areas.
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The danger of flash flooding in slot canyons was low, so we felt that it was safe to hike (we actually avoided the real slot canyon of The Narrows, and only went to the river walk).
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The tram (modified to carry fewer people and require social distancing, and with all windows open) carried us into the canyon. The park is not designed for a lot of cars, and there are few places to park within the canyon, so we had to do all of our hiking from the bus stops.
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The river walk was an easier hike, but it leads to the Narrows, which are as the name describes a narrow slot canyon. We walked along the easy section of the river. The canyon feels similar to Sedona: we felt like Sedona is what would happen if someone built a city in the middle of Zion National Park.
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There is actually a lot of swampy land alongside the river. Catherine hoped it wouldn't be porous like bogs and sinkholes tend to be.
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A couple pictures of us during the hike. There were a lot of very bold and interested squirrels who kept trying to get to our bags and showed great interest in any water bottles or food that we had out. Though they reminded Catherine of Flora, we successfully avoided them and got them to go away.
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We finished our hike and then took the tram to one of the stops, with the intention of hiking from that stop to the lodge along the grotto trail. Anthony was interested in hiking more than that, but Catherine and Katie were not. Daniel and Anthony went across the street to a trail that crossed a bridge, and then just followed the trail...
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...which began to climb.
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In fact, it climbed quite a bit until we were high above the canyon. The trail was beautiful and the view of the canyon below was amazing. There were only a few other groups along this trail.
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We referred to this canyon as Owl Canyon because of this sign, but looking online we found that it is actually called Refrigerator Canyon because of the cold winds that blow through it. We met a group of hikers coming down who explained that it was the hike to Angel's Landing, one of the most famous hikes in Zion National Park. Apparently it was formerly called the Temple of Aeolus, after the god who kept the winds in Greek mythology. They said we were about twenty minutes from the top, but we had promised Catherine and Katie that we would be down by 6:30, so we didn't have the time to continue up the mountain, so we turned around.
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The way down. We met with Catherine and Katie back at the bus stop and decided to continue the hike to the lodge.
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The "grotto hike" to the lodge mostly followed the road. It was easy and beautiful.
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This statue of a ringtail cat reminded us of Flora.
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There was one loop that was open to drive, and so we drove around the park to the degree we were allowed and saw a lot of interesting sights, including the famous tunnel.
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Right outside the park is a brewery called Zion Brewpub. We had a dinner there, which was delicious. We had a very full day at the park, and it was an amazing thing to see on this trip.

Posted by danielcatherine 16:04 Archived in USA Tagged river wind mask tram zion refrigerator owl angel's_landing ringtail aeolus social_distance Comments (1)

Ireland Day 14: Cork, Youghal, Cashel

overcast 64 °F

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The view from the kitchen of the house where we stayed. A beautiful north Co. Cork landscape.
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We drove through Bweeng again on our way to Cork. This is the pub.
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St. Peter and Paul's Church, Cork. This was an absolutely beautiful church. We went to a Traditional Latin Mass here. It was a low mass, and not very long, but it was beautiful and the building was so incredible. We also got an excellent parking space right in front of the church, and went to lunch right nearby. Cork City is a little bit crowded and hard to navigate, but it was pretty and we were glad to see it during our trip.
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The outside of the church.
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After leaving Cork we drove to the town of Youghal. Daniel's parents went there and highly recommended it to us. We went to the museum and drove around the town a little.
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So is the group called Batty and they're playing tonight? Or is it called Batty Tonight?
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More pictures of Youghal. It was once one of the most important harbors in Ireland. It reminded us a lot of New England, mostly because it had an intriguingly similar history involving puritans, witch trials, etc.
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More of Youghal.
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Some sights along the road to the Rock of Cashel.
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We arrived at the Rock of Cashel just before it closed. The staff seemed eager to lock the doors, so we were lucky to get in. We went to the museum first.
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Cashel was both an ecclesiastical and political site. It was the capital used by Brian Boru, and before him, by the Eoghanacht rulers. It was also the site of a cathedral (to is day the diocese is called The Diocese of Cashel and Emly, even though the cathedral is in Thurles.) There is thus a great variety of buildings and artifacts here.
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The saddest thing about these ruins is that they don't have to be ruins. If history had gone differently, this could still be a thriving cathedral, with masses being said and people traveling to see the historic church. It lasted for centuries being used that way, and churches just as old are still in use in other countries. These were part of a patrimony that was sadly stolen from the people.
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More pictures from the Rock.
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And some more. It's a beautiful place.
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Some pictures of us at the Rock of Cashel.
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It was extremely windy there that day. It was very difficult to walk around without being blown off-course, and it made Daniel's allergies really bad. Still, it was a nice day to see the ruins with no rain.
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This monument is visible for miles around. It is only when you walk behind it that you realize...
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...that it used to be a cross! It would have been incredibly huge as a cross. Unfortunately, without a guide we don't know if it was wind or human action that blew it down.
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In the gift shop, Catherine tried on this cloak. She said she wishes that cloaks were a more socially acceptable thing to wear. Unfortunately, the €500 price tag prevented her from doing her part to bring back the cloak. (Also, she wondered if daggers were a necessary accessory with cloaks.)

We went to dinner at a pub called Brian Boru's, where people were watching a darts competition, and the Italian waiter kept promising the owner that he would bring in Italians, then delivering on his promise (he must have brought in at least four Italians while we were eating there.) Only after we finished eating did we find out there was another side, which was a restaurant with live music. It was a nice dinner. We then set off on our drive to our next AirBnB, which was near Athlone and especially close to the ruins at Clonmacnoise, which we were very excited to see.
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Some pictures of the sunset along our way. We arrived at our AirBnB on the Pilgrims' Road, and met our hosts who also had large dogs, had a farm, and the husband was named Joseph. We had a nice conversation with them, then went to our room and went to sleep.

Posted by danielcatherine 12:53 Archived in Ireland Tagged history ruins church museum cathedral dogs farm cross latin wind athlone joseph cork mass cashel clonmacnoise rock_of_cashel bweeng dromohane youghal Comments (0)

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