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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Zion East Tunnel and Kolb Terrace Road

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Today was a travel and minor hiking day. So we headed out on the infamous Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. This is a view looking eastward as you climb towards the tunnel.

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This the eastern entrance to the 1.1 mile long tunnel. The temperature drops at least 10 degrees inside.

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There are about three eyebrow windows cut into the side of the mountain for ventilation and light in the tunnel. You are looking on edge of an adjacent mountain wall, otherwise its straight down.

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Once outside the tunnel you enter a landscape of convoluted drainage and slot canyons, and sandstone monoliths. In this case, Checkerboard Mesa. Yes, that is essentially a solidified sand dune.

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Near the eastern tunnel entrance there is a hike to the Canyon Overlook. This is a boardwalk around a small corner which opens onto a large overhang.

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This is the view from the overlook, looking west. Zion Canyon continues north around that corner on the right.

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The overlook is above the desert varnish in the middle of the arch. That is a much bigger opening than you realize. It is also the edge view out of the eyebrow image above.

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Not nearly as many people see the western interior of Zion as the main canyon. Yes, the views in the canyon are majestic, but I like long distant views, trees,and less verticality. Too much an Iowan I guess. There is a large plateau to the west of those large cliffs in Zion and this is what is on the other side. The Upper and Lower Kolob Plateau with a nice view of the Hurricane Mountains, the true edge of the huge Colorado Plateau.

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But, that plateau is bisected by several large canyons as well.

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A closer view of one canyon on the back side of the Zion cliffs in the distance. The flat top mountain left of center is the Top of the West Temple. With some hiking and some rappelling skills you can reach The Subway from this area.

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We traveled as far up the road as we could go before meeting snow. The Jeep could have gotten through most of it, except for the three foot deep stuff about a 100 yards long. Probably, but nobody around to pull you out.

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A cool toy to push snow…I want one!

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A closer view of the West Temple from the backside and some of the intervening canyon as we had back to camp.

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