As we left RT 89 and turned on to RT 9 the splendor of Zion began to unfold. The road lead us through red cliffs and white peaks through the stained and colorful limestone left from millions of year of erosion.
Before you enter the one mile tunnel, there is a Scenic Overlook trail, which we decided to climb. It lead up about 165 feet, looking down over a narrow canyon, through an echoing overhang and out to a marvelous vista where the high peaks spread before us.
We drove through the tunnel and down the switchbacks to the canyon floor. We stopped once to see an arch in the cliff and realized that we had stood above it just a few minutes before. With our binoculars we could see other climbers on the spot where we had just been.
We made our way to the visitor center where we parked and found the bathrooms. There was a picnic table in the most scenic lunch spot so far. After a really late lunch we packed up and took the shuttle to the trailhead for the Emerald pool.
That hike was along the Virgin River which has a green tint due to algae in the water. We climbed until we came to the high waterfall.
Our hotel was close. We checked in, had a dinner of meatloaf made of elk, venison and beef, and ended the evening in the hot tub under the stars. Did I mention, he weather was perfect? We slept well.