Zion National Park: Pa’Rus Trail

IMG_8500

Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

IMG_8515

On our last day in Zion, we spent the morning hiking the strenuous trail to Angel’s Landing (you can see my post about that hike here and here.) We were exhausted from that hike, but still wanted to see more of this beautiful park. After lunch, we rode the shuttle to the Visitor Center and spoke to a ranger about our options.

IMG_8505

He suggested the easy and level Pa’Rus trail. It is 1.8 miles from the Visitor Center and is mostly paved or hard-pack. It was designed to ease congestion during the busy months…it provides a way for hikers and bicyclists to get from the Visitor Center to the car-free section of the park road.

IMG_8484

It winds through campgrounds at first and then by the Virgin River. There are several river access points along the way if you want to get right down by the river.

IMG_8520

Pa’Rus is a Paiute word that means tumbling water. The water was really high and fast during our visit, so high the National Park Service had to shut down The Narrows, a hike further upstream. Part of that hike must be hiked in the river.

IMG_8509

The trail crosses back and forth across the river as you travel north via rustic bridges.

IMG_8536

As you near the end of this trail, you must look downstream for the iconic view of the Watchman towering over the river. The trail ends close to another shuttle stop, which we hopped on back to the lodge.

IMG_8553

For being an easy trail, I was surprised by how peaceful it was. We only encountered a few cyclists and pedestrians along the way.

IMG_8541

Location: Hurricane, UT 84737

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 2017

IMG_8557

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Chain of Craters

IMG_5004

Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

IMG_5006

Chain of Craters Road is a 19-mile road through the East Rift and coastal area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the big island of Hawaii.

IMG_4996

Our tour stopped at the Lua Manu crater on this drive. It is the first crater on the Chain of Craters Road and was formed when, about 200 years ago, the lava beneath it drained leaving an empty chamber. The surface collapsed into the chamber, forming a 125 foot deep pit.

IMG_5002

We walked around on the surrounding lava fields, marveling at the plants growing right up out of the rocks and taking photos by interesting formations.

IMG_4999

Hilo Posts:

  • Volcano House
  • Steam Vents
  •  Kīlauea Iki
  • Chain of Craters Road
  • Big Island Candies (Coming Soon)
  • Rainbow Falls (Coming Soon)
  • Richardson’s Black Sand Beach (Coming Soon)
  • Mokuola (Coming Soon)

IMG_5009

Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019

IMG_5019

Zion National Park: Angel’s Landing

IMG_8392

Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

IMG_8445

So in my previous post on Scout Lookout, we established that there was no way I was climbing the narrow ridge to Angel’s Landing. My husband however, was determined to do it and my teen was on the fence. So we began the two-mile ascent to Scout Lookout at 8 AM.

IMG_8399

While this section of the hike has a nice wide path that is paved for a good part of the way, the elevation gain makes it a tough climb. We\ had to take frequent breaks to catch our breath and enjoy the beautiful the view.

IMG_8450

By the time we reached Scout Lookout and the base of the Angel’s Landing stretch, it was almost 9:30 AM and it was getting pretty crowded. To get to Angel’s landing, you must climb up a pile of rocks to a narrow ridge. Then, holding onto chains bolted into the rocks, you cross the spine of rock, with sheer cliffs on either side, to the landing on the opposite peak. There are several signs at the base warning people of the hazards.

IMG_8448

My husband and teen got in line to ascend to the ridge. My teen quickly turned around and decided to wait at Scout Lookout with me once she’d seen the ridge and realized that everyone had to use the same chain…going up or down.

60453A28-

With so many people on the trail, it was more than a little chaotic and scary. It took my husband over an hour to come back because of having to wait for people to come up before going down. But he made it to the top and snapped a couple of pics along the way.

DSC01241

Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 11, 2017

IMG_8455

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Kīlauea Iki

IMG_5024Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

Kīlauea Iki is a crater next to the main summit caldera of Kīlauea in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the big island of Hawaii. This crater was a lava lake in 1959 with fountains spewing molten lava up to 1900 feet in the air. This activity lasted for several months until the fountains fizzled out in November of 1959.
IMG_5023
Today, visitors can view the crater from the Kīlauea Iki Overlook. There is no longer molten lava here and the crater is vast (though compared to the main crater, it’s small or ‘Iki’.) It’s a mile long and 400 feet deep.
IMG_5021
The 2018 eruption and its accompanying earthquakes damaged the Kīlauea Iki Trail. It was still closed when we visited, but partially re-opened the week after we were there. Hikers can now descend to the crater floor, parts of which are still warm to the touch.
IMG_5022

Hilo Posts:

  • Volcano House
  • Steam Vents
  •  Kīlauea Iki
  • Chain of Craters Road (Coming Soon)
  • Big Island Candies (Coming Soon)
  • Rainbow Falls (Coming Soon)
  • Richardson’s Black Sand Beach (Coming Soon)
  • Mokuola (Coming Soon)

Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019

IMG_5025

Zion National Park: Scout Lookout

IMG_8413

Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

IMG_8462

Being that Angel’s Landing is one of North America’s iconic hikes, my husband insisted on including it in our itinerary when visiting Zion National Park. Now while I have no fear of going to the rooftop of the city’s tallest building or gazing down on the countryside from an airplane or even a tall Ferris wheel,  put me on a ledge with a yawning abyss on either side of me and I will be completely paralyzed. So I knew going in that Angel’s Landing was not for me.

IMG_8480

Thankfully, I did my research and realized that I could enjoy most of the journey without the mind-numbing, cliff-terror part. I could hike up the first two miles to Scout Lookout and then chill.

IMG_8351

We started the hike at 8 AM on our third day in the park. After a brief pleasant flat stretch along the river, we began to ascend.

IMG_8360

We had to take frequent breaks to catch our breath and take pictures. The higher up we got, the more beautiful the view.

IMG_8366

After some long switchbacks that took us along the Western Rim of the main canyon, the trail turned in to a more shaded canyon. It was amazing to see the trees growing out of seemingly bare rock.

IMG_8383

Then we arrived at the base of the tight switchbacks called Walters Wiggles, named for the first superintendent of Zion. These 21 curves, carved into a nearly vertical cliff, are the last hurdle before reaching Scout Lookout.

IMG_8384

Scout Lookout is a large open area with gorgeous views and plenty of places to rest. My daughter and I relaxed, had snacks and took some photos while we waited.

IMG_8419

Zion Posts:

Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 11, 2017

IMG_8468

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Steam Vents

IMG_4970

Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

IMG_4980

After visiting Volcano House and the park’s visitor center in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, our tour continued on to the Steam Vents parking lot. We walked through a grassy meadow to the caldera’s edge.

IMG_4973

From this paved path, we could see steam billowing out of the earth in places.  A few feet down, the ground is so hot that trees can’t take root here, but the tall grasses thrive.

IMG_4971

The steam vents are caused by groundwater seeping through to the hot volcanic rock below. When it makes contact with the hot rocks, it is expelled back up through fractures in the earth as steam.

IMG_4966

At Steaming Bluff, a cliff overlooking the caldera, we paused for some photos of the crater. Then we walked a short way on the trail leading away from the overlook along the rim.

IMG_4981

You can’t go very far on the rim trail because the 2018 eruption destabilized parts of it. The Jaggar museum still sits on this trail, a little further down, but it is no longer structurally sound and so is closed to visitors.

IMG_4964

After we’d seen our fill of smoldering fields, we headed back to the bus for our next destination in the park.

IMG_4963

Hilo Posts:

  • Volcano House
  • Steam Vents
  •  Kīlauea Iki (Coming Soon)
  • Chain of Craters Road (Coming Soon)
  • Big Island Candies (Coming Soon)
  • Rainbow Falls (Coming Soon)
  • Richardson’s Black Sand Beach (Coming Soon)
  • Mokuola (Coming Soon)

IMG_4958

Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019

IMG_4957

Haleakalā National Park

IMG_4686

Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

IMG_4647

Haleakalā is Hawaiian for ‘House of the Sun.’ The demigod Maui is said to have imprisoned the sun here to lengthen the day. And so we took an afternoon excursion to the summit to watch the sun set from above the clouds.

IMG_4675

Haleakalā was originally part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, along with the two volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii, designated in 1916. In 1961, Haleakalā was broken out into a separate National Park.

IMG_4616

First we stopped at the Park Headquarters at 7000 feet. Our guide pointed out some ʻāhinahina (a type of Silversword plant found only on Haleakalā.) There was also a Nēnē crossing sign in front of the center…these Hawaiian geese had died out in the park, but were reintroduced by Boy Scouts in 1946.

IMG_4625

Our next stop was the Haleakalā Visitor Center at 9700 feet. This was a far as the tour bus could go and we would watch the sunset from here. The visitor center itself was closed as it is opens at dawn for the bigger sunrise crowd.

IMG_4634

We could see the observatory at the 10k ft summit. We walked towards it a bit while waiting for sunset and saw some birds running around in the lava fields.

IMG_4644

At first we thought they were the Nēnē we’d heard so much about, but upon closer inspection, they turned out to be Chukar. This is a type of pheasant, originally introduced into Hawaii for hunting. It has adapted well to the cold climate of the volcano’s summit.

IMG_4687

Before the sun set, there was mist rolling through the Haleakalā Crater. The crater is seven miles across and 2600 feet deep. We could only see part of it.

IMG_4654

Finally the sun began to set and paint the sky in rapidly changing hues. The fog rolled in and obscured it one moment and rolled out the next to reveal a diffused alien-looking sky.

IMG_4680

Maui Posts:
  • Kahului Harbor
  • Haleakalā National Park
  • ʻĪao Valley State Monument
  • Maui Tropical Plantation
  • Maui Ocean Center

IMG_4648

Location: 30000 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790

Designation: National Park 

Date established/designated: July 1, 1961

Date of my visit: April 14, 2019

IMG_4674