Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Road More Traveled

"Two roads lead into the northwestern corner of Zion National Park, where streams have carved spectacular canyons at the edge of the Kolob Terrace."

This was the national park's introduction to Kolob Canyons, the little known portion of Zion National Park. One road to the park runs from I-17 into the park. It's paved and an easy drive as the road climbs 1100 feet in five miles to the Kolob Canyons Overlook.

The other is a winding, gravel road that runs from UT 9 to the Kolob Reservoir. Anyone taking this road is advised:
"Start out with a full gasoline tank, extra water and a good spare tire."

We took the road more traveled to the park less visited.

Mormon pioneers settled the Kolob area in 1852. According to Mormon scripture,
"Kolob" means "the star nearest to the residence of God."

We had wanted to see the red Navajo sandstone cliffs at sunset, but on the two occasions we visited the overlook, the clouds moved in and disrupted our plans.

The scenes shown here were dramatic, but 15 trails lead hikers to even more striking scenes. Two such trails are Kolob Arch Trail, leading to the second longest arch in the world, and Icebox Canyon Trail, ending in a slot canyon.

Only one of the trails is described as "easy." Reaching the Arch requires a 14-mile roundtrip hike, and the hike to Icebox is steep and narrow--a technical route, requiring rappelling equipment.

This photo shows Beatty Point on the left and Nagunt Mesa on the right. While waiting for some of the clouds to move along, I took a few photos with the black-and-white setting.

It's not Ansel Adams, but the effect is interesting.

I think it's harder to take an excellent black-and-white photograph than one in color.

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