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  1. Default Day 6 - Zion

    We had 2 full days available to us so spent the first one familiarising ourselves with the area, the main canyon and the shuttle. The crowds we had been warned about were there and there was a long queue for the shuttle but once we started moving around and walking trails it was no problem and didn’t feel that busy. The Shuttle service really is amazing, continuous shuttles to all the key points and all free!

    We did a couple of the shorter walks and worked out what the plan was for tomorrow.

    First up was the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, it’s a short walk that should be manageable for pretty much anyone. The views at the end are of the pool, the small waterfall and the overhanging cliffs (I don’t know what they are called!). The sun on the waterfall creates some great rainbows and as a result of all this water, it is a very lush area with plenty of plants and vegetation.

    Normally you can extend the walk to the middle or upper Emerald Pools and the Kayenta Trail which leads to the next stop on the shuttle avoiding this being an in and out walk. Unfortunately, all three of those trails were closed so we had to turn around and go back. Still worth it though.

    As you can see from this second photo, there were quite a few people but I think that is because there is nowhere else for them to go. The path is blocked so everyone has to turn around. It really wasn't too bad,

    Stop for packed lunch on the green by the Zion Lodge and had an ice cream to cool down, the Mr. Whippy (Soft Serve to the Americans on here) was massive and very welcome!

    We then moved on to Weeping Rock. This is a very short but still reasonable steep trail and the views at the end are very similar to the Emerald Pools walk but the concave nature of the cliffs is probably even more pronounced here and there is a good view through the valley.

    So a gentle start to our visit to Zion was followed by a well-earned beer or glass of wine, a Chicken Caesar salad using the excellent BBQ facilities and some home made garlic bread!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Another learning for us, RV manufacturers ‘lie’ about how much headroom you need and Bridge or Tunnel operators ‘lie’ about how much there is! Good to know though as it ensures plenty of margin.
    Don't ever count on that, though. You were right to ask first. A number of commercial truckers have found out the hard way that counting on that idea was a great way to destroy either the tractor or the trailer of their rig on an underpass.


  3. Default Day 7a – Zion: Angels Landing

    So over our wine last night we decided that we would get up early and head off to the Narrows. Plan sorted when we went to bed, but the next morning I’d had second thoughts. Angels Landing would definitely be better when it’s not quite as hot or busy, and so it proved.

    It’s a good climb up a decent path and we were definitely glad it was before the sun was on us. To be honest, I think the first part of the climb to the initial top was easier than we had been led to believe and it took less time than we had allowed, which was good! Even on that first part of the hike, the views are amazing.

    Of course, this is only half the story, ahead of us was the main scary climb. I had watched the YouTube videos and know that I struggle with those sort of heights, I bottled at this point, this was high enough for me. Liv and Ben went on pulling themselves up on the chain and out of site. Shortly beyond that, it became too much for Liv as well and she returned. Ben, being a fearless 17 year old went on to the top and he didn’t stop telling us for days! It really looked amazing!

    This really is a spectacular walk even if you do stop at the first top point, the views are amazing and everyone up there was great either encouraging each other or sharing stories of individual success or failure.

    This is the video Ben took while walking the last part of Angels Landing. I've edited it down but it's still 15 mins. Worth a flick through at speed though just to see how scary some of it was. I'm glad I couldn't see him doing it at the time!

  4. Default Day 7b – Zion: The Narrows

    We all headed back to the RV for lunch and a cool down in the Virgin River, right by the RV!

    Over lunch we decided that we still had time and energy to take on the other iconic walk in Zion, the Narrows.

    Now being the afternoon, it was much busier and we weren’t really sure we were going to enjoy it but after the mile walk from the shuttle stop to the point you enter the water it came alive for us. Initially paddling but then wading in the often fast flowing water of the Virgin river with steep canyon walls either side of you was exhilarating and well worth getting wet for.

    You can see from the video that the footing was difficult at times, but that's all part of the challenge. The water was pretty cold which felt fantastic at the time!

    So that was the end of our time in Zion and completing the 2 most famous hikes in one day felt pretty good. A couple of beers and we slept like babies!

  5. Default Day 8 – Road trip to June Lake

    We had decided that we wanted to get as far as possible on this day towards Yosemite to maximise the time we had available there, so we set off on a 10 hour drive to June Lake.

    Despite enjoying the driving so far, we did all expect today to be a long boring drive but it really wasn’t. Once again, the breath taking scenery was all around. We stopped for lunch at a Sinclair gas station in Alamo on US93. What a find that was! First thing to note, there is only one more gas station before you turn onto the Extra-Terrestrial Highway and the next is in Tonopah, on which more to come.

    We were pleasantly surprised to find that there was a fast food as well as sandwiches and somewhere to sit and eat them. But the highlight (at least for 13 year old Dan) was bumping into one of his favourite YouTubers, not sure I knew what they were before, but they happened to be shooting a video on Area 51 and he had also stopped for lunch. He didn’t take the smile off his face for hours.

    Just in case you’re interested, apparently his name is Chandler from MrBeast.

    Excitement over, we set off down the ET Highway, pausing for the obligatory photo, and yes, that is rain on the window. I thought we were in a desert!

    We were pretty good with staying close to the speed limit and to be honest, I’m not sure the RV would have managed much more than 65! But along the ET Highway, another El Monte RV cane past us and disappeared into the distance. A while later, we reached a T junction with US6 at Warm Springs, we turned left and pulled in so I could stretch my legs and further ahead in the lay by was the other RV. The lady walked back and told us that they had only about 3 gallons of fuel left and had hoped they could fill up at Warm Springs but there really is nothing there.

    So we said we’d follow them and help them somehow when they ran out. Tonopah was a further 50 miles down the road but fortunately, their estimate of the remaining fuel was wrong and they made it slowly into Tonopah. They waved their appreciation as they pulled in but it certainly made me glad that I had filled up when I did…….and I filled up again in Tonopah to be sure!

    The drive toward June Lake and Yosemite was full of yet more incredible views, we certainly didn’t expect to see snow on the mountains at this time of year.

    Golden Pine RV Park is pretty small and there are some fairly permanent residents who are there for the fishing but it was nice, friendly and very handy. June Lake is a pretty little town, reminiscent of an alpine ski resort with a small number of places to eat and drink. We weren't actually on June Lake but a small lake next to it called Gull Lake.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default This is good !

    Great report ! That was one heck of a climb and one heck of a video !


  7. Default

    Certainly was, I’m just glad I didn’t do it, I’d still be up there!

  8. Default Day 9 – Into Yosemite

    The prize for spending all day on the road yesterday was having a full day to cross the Tioga Pass into Yosemite……..and we needed it.

    To us this was day 9 of our trip but to everyone else in Northern California it was the weekend, and of course being close to some of more populous areas it is more accessible than some of the other National Parks. So what should have been another spectacular drive (nothing could top the entrance to Zion though) it was a little spoiled by the number of cars and people.

    The view of snow on the mountains was beautiful but still seemed really strange especially when, at our highest point, we were slightly above it and yet it was still hot.

    Our first stop was some meadows by the Dana Fork Tuolumne River.

    Next was Tenaya Lake, it looked very tempting but a quick check revealed that it was freezing!

    We were looking forward to Tuolumne Meadows but we simply couldn’t park anywhere near it, so we kept going.

    We did find a quieter place just past Yosemite Creek for a picnic.

    And we were definitely having a better day that this chap who seems to have forgotten that he is in an RV and not a big 4x4!

    Somewhere along El Portal Road, we joined a traffic jam and around 2 hours later we made it into Upper Pines, a journey that should have taken less than 30 minutes. The campsite was fine but bigger and appeared busier than any other which can’t have been true as every site we’ve been in was full.

    We walked down to the Merced River, it really is beautiful here.

  9. Default Day 10 - Yosemite

    We had decided to do the John Muir Trail and Mist Trail to Vernel Falls. Unfortunately, so had everyone else. However the fact that the hike was so busy didn’t detract from our enjoyment seeing the biggest falls we had ever seen.

    We relaxed for the afternoon, cooling down in the Merced River again.

    So overall, I can’t say I enjoyed the experience of Yosemite as much as I had expected, but we had undoubtedly been spoilt by Zion. It wasn’t just the crowds, the Rangers weren’t as friendly or helpful, there’s traffic everywhere as there are no restricted areas like Zion and the toilets in Upper Pines were probably the worst we saw in any campsite.

    Anyway, this was our last night in the RV so we had a nice meal and started looking forward to the next part of our adventure, San Francisco and Pajaro Dunes just north of Monterey. We were definitely ready for a few home comforts but we had loved this part of our trip so much more than we had imagined and as it turned out, more than we realised at the time!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

    Wonderful photos. I am sorry you found Yosemite a bit worse for the wear. Rangers there do have a never-ending list of tasks and emergencies that seem to wear them down a bit. Over the years, I have visited Yosemite dozens of times, in every season, and have always found the staff friendly and helpful.

    I just looked back over your Zion NP report -- wonderful photos from the Narrows hike! Excellent.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.


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