Zion National Park: Scout Lookout

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Zion Posts:

Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 11, 2017

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Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Steam Vents

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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)

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Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019

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Haleakalā National Park

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Location: 30000 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790

Designation: National Park 

Date established/designated: July 1, 1961

Date of my visit: April 14, 2019

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Zion National Park: Hidden Canyon

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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.

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After a morning of canyoneering, we were tired, but wanted to see more of the park. We asked our canyoneering guide, Chad, to suggest a good afternoon activity in the park that wasn’t too crowded. He suggested we hike the Hidden Canyon Trail.

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This hike starts at the Weeping Rock trail-head, which is also the start of the more ambitious Observation Point hike. The two trails share the same uphill path but then we took the turnoff to the right for Hidden Canyon.

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With a 940 ft elevation gain, it is fairly strenuous going up. We took the switchbacks slowly, pausing to take pictures frequently. The view of the main canyon was spectacular as we ascended.

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Then the path turned away from the main canyon and into a shaded valley. Here there were chains bolted into the wall for hikers to hold onto.

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My daughter and I opted not take this part of the trail, so we sat on a ledge and rested while we waited for my husband to continue.

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He said this section is not as daunting as it seems because the walk is banked in towards the cliff wall and the chains.

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Other Zion Posts:

IMG_8256Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 10, 2017IMG_8212

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Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Volcano House

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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.

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Volcano House is a historic lodge in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the rim of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u crater. The hotel began as a simple shelter in 1846, 30 years after the park was established.

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In 1866, the shelter was replaced with a four bedroom hotel and hosted famous guests, including Mark Twain. Twain wrote about it in his autobiographical travelogue of some of his ealry adventures.

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The hotel burned down in 1940 and was rebuilt as a 24-room lodge a year later.

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When our cruise ship docked in Hilo, we took an excursion with Robert’s Hawaii to the National Park. Our fist stop was to the visitor center. After looking at the displays there, we walked across the street to Volcano House.

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From the veranda in back of the hotel, we had our first glimpse of the massive crater. Native Hawaiians believe the volcano to be the home of Pelehonuamea, the fire goddess. Legend has it that Pele fled to Kilauea from her home after angering her sister, the goddess of the sea.

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Visitors are prohibited from taking the lava rocks, lest they anger Pele. When I visited here in the 80’s, before the 2018 eruption closed the Jaggar Museum, I’d seen a display of letters to Pele from around the world, apologizing for taking her rocks after experiencing a string of bad luck. This rule is enforced more seriously today..a man in front of us in dock security was stopped from boarding the ship because he was caught with rocks in his pockets.

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In 2018, Kilauea erupted explosively, destroyed over 700 homes and extended the island a mile further into the sea as the lava lake in Halema’uma’u crater drained and flowed to the ocean.This was the culmination of a 35-year-long eruption that began in 1983. There is currently no molten lava to be seen here, but there is steam rising from the volcano which is still considered active.

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Hilo Posts:

  • Volcano House
  • Steam Vents (Coming Soon)
  •  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)

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Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019

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Happy 103rd Birthday, NPS!

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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.

 

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On August 25th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act, establishing the National Park Service as an agency of the Department of Interior. Though President Wilson is known more for his foreign policy (WWI took place during his administration,) he left an enduring conservation legacy. Aside from The NPS, Wilson also established several national parks including Hawaii Volcanoes, Rocky Mountain and the Grand Canyon.

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Happy birthday to the National Park Service!

Zion National Park: Lower Emerald Pool

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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.

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After we checked into the Zion Lodge, we had enough time for a short hike before dinner. We headed to the trail head for the Emerald Pools, right across the street from the hotel.

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We crossed the footbridge over the Virgin River and followed the paved path upriver. This is a very popular trail due to its accessibility. In the late afternoon, it was way too crowded for our taste.

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After about a half-mile of dodging obnoxious tourists, we arrived at Lower Emerald Pool. Waterfalls spill over an overhang here and the path continues behind the falls to Middle and Upper Emerald Pools. We took a few photos at this point and decided to turn back because of the crowds.

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Zion Park Posts:

  • Kolob Canyons Section
  • Zion National Park
  • Kolob Canyon 5-mile Drive
  • Timber Creek Overlook Trail (Coming Soon)
  • Emerald Pools (Coming Soon)
  • Canyoneering (Coming Soon)
  • Hidden Canyon (Coming Soon)
  • Scout Lookout (Coming Soon)
  • Angel’s Landing (Coming Soon)
  • Pa’Rus Trail (Coming Soon)

Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 9, 2017

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