After hiking up at least four different canyons over the past three weeks looking for the elusive Shelf Canyon, this morning we drove to the east side of Zion NP, confident that today would be the day we would find our target. After failing to locate this hike, yesterday we consulted with a park ranger, only to be informed that it was the same canyon we hiked on our first attempt to find Shelf Canyon, so apparently we didn’t go far enough up the canyon on that hike. Today we were determined that things would be different!
We parked in the lot just outside the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel and walked a bit to the east. At that point we climbed down an embankment into a wash, then headed north into the canyon.
After an easy climb up sliprock for the first part of the canyon, we soon encountered boulders in our path.
We then came to the spot where we turned around on our previous hike up this canyon. At the time we thought that we had gone farther than we needed to, so we turned around, believing we were in the wrong area. But this time a determined effort carried us over the large boulder in our path.
Some of the rocks in this area were very colorful.
After climbing over some more boulders, we entered a sandy, flat area.
Then the canyon narrowed to a point were we could just get between the walls.
Some more boulder climbing was in our future.
But at last, we came to the elusive Shelf Canyon!
Shelf Canyon ends abruptly at this point, but the canyon ending was a really cool area, with many “shelves” along one side and soaring walls above us.
After a few brief moments to enjoy our triumph, we began the return hike down the canyon.
At times we scampered down the rocks . . .
. . . or slid down on our butts.
But in the end, persistence triumphed!
OK, so our triumphant hike was only about a half mile up a canyon, but it was now lunchtime and we needed to find some high ground. We drove east about three miles to a spot high on the rocks that we had seen during an earlier trip through the park.
After parking the Jeep along the road, we headed up the rocks.
Some cool hoodoos would provide the proper scene for our mid-day meal.
After lunch, we crossed the road to check out some pools in the rocks.
Above us was one of the most recognized formations in the park, Checkerboard Mesa. One nimble hiker eagerly began the climb up the rocks.
Just kidding, the climb up Checkerboard Mesa was just a bit out of our league, so we headed back to the Jeep. As we drove out of the area, one of the local residents bid us goodbye!
That concluded another great day in Zion National Park.
Only a few more days until our visit to Zion is over and we move on. But now the hiking planner is busily punching keys while cruising web sites looking for one more hike, so who knows what will happen to us in the next few days. Stay tuned . . .