(Bryce Canyon City, April 22, 2012) A look back at our week in Zion and Bryce Canyons, in pictures.

The Virgin River and Zion Canyon from Angel’s Landing, April 18, 2012

Valerie Bassett, hiking in Snow Canyon, April 17, 2012

“If it’s red, chances are it’s Navajo Sandstone. If it’s black, it’s always lava. And if it’s white, that’s because the sand that blew into here had a low iron content.

Snow Canyon, April 17, 2012

Gayle King and Joan Jennings, Angel’s Landing Trail, April 18, 2012

Nini Sherwood hiking Angel’s Landing Trail, Zion, April 18, 2012

Morning in Zion National Park, April 19, 2012

Bob and Sue Trower, Snow Canyon, April 17, 2012

Jane Roe enjoying Snow Canyon, April 17, 2012

Claron rock in hoodoos and coarse sand, Bryce Canyon, April 20, 2012

Bill and Linda Provencal, Snow Canyon, April 17, 2012

Cross bedding on the rocks of Echo Canyon, Zion, April 19, 2012

Jen Conners hiking out of Angel’s Landing, Zion, April 18, 2012

Sharon and Roy Michaels in Echo Canyon, Zion, April 18, 2012

Linda Burns on the banks of the Virgin River, Zion, April 19, 2012

The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon glowing at dawn, April 21, 2012

Steve Mach enjoying the sunrise at Bryce Canyon, April 21, 2012

A window in the limestone cliffs of Bryce Canyon, April 20, 2012

Sun and shadows on the hoodoos of Bryce at dawn, April 21, 2012

Thank you, Marcia and Keith, for a great adventure in Zion and Bryce

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The Trail into Echo Canyon, April 19, 2012

(Zion National Park, April 19, 2012) Our second day in Zion takes us up into the canyons we saw yesterday from on high. The hike is the same – we still need to climb 1,200 feet or so to get there, but instead of views downward toward the Virgin River, we walk into a canyon that towers above us on both sides. So much for us hiking nearly to the top of Zion; that’s an option for those of us who want to see the canyon from Observation Point, 700 feet higher than Angel’s Landing.

Our immediate destination is Echo Canyon, a place where wind and water have carved intricate patterns into the sandstone walls beside us. They’re beautiful, and looking up at them is a different kind of inspiration.

Mary Ellen and Doug Bates

Today is also about choices. Marcia has given us an open schedule, and if we want to choose any of three different trails, they lie before us, each promising its own reward. I chose Echo Canyon.

Donna Clark at the base of Hidden Canyon Trail

When I arrived, a half-dozen other participants were already there, enjoying the views and more insights from Keith about how our little world had formed.

Road Scholars along the Virgin River

 

Our afternoon hike led us up the canyon along the Virgin River, named, as legend has it, because “it runs just fast enough.” The rapids are still too fast to attempt The Narrows, a trail that eventually requires hikers to walk in the water as they climb. We’re fine with the views, and with another spectacular day in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

At dinner, we bid Zion a fond farewell as we contemplate what Bryce Canyon will bring, with its floor equal to the ceiling of Observation Point, a place that towers 2,200 feet over the Virgin River.

Zion Canyon at Sunset