I awoke in the morning to find a family of four next to me; a mother, father, and two boys. The father said hello and good morning to me while one of the boys was still sleeping as well as the mother. I got my breakfast ready, and started to upload photos on the computer in my camp chair. The mother came out of the tent, and later the older boy came out of the pop-up van they had beside the tent. We got to talking and the family was very cool, and new age. The whole family wore beaded, and or colorful string bracelets, the younger of the two boys wore an evil eye necklace which reminded me of the one I newly picked up in Memphis, and the mother wore a straw cowboy hat. We got to talking and they asked about my road trip, and if I was still in school, and about my life. I told them about the trail and Leith, the mother was thoroughly impressed, she asked all about it and if I was ever scared being a woman alone on the trail. They were from Portland, Maine which explained why they were such a unique family. I have wanted to visit Portland for awhile now and they validate my reasoning why. I took a shower, and ended up going to the main office to charge my computer and download the Starstax program since there was better wifi connection. I sat in a room in the office that had a pool table, coffee, and some tables and chairs for at least an hour. Leith came in to upload her photos from her phone to dropbox and I continued on my journey of learning how to time lapse the photos together. The program works amazingly, and I was very pleased with the product of my first attempt. After finishing the composition, and headed to Cafe Soleil; a restaurant I wanted to try that was only open for breakfast and lunch. Todd and Leith were laying low today from traveling between places and were planning on going to the park tomorrow. They asked if I would be leaving tonight, and I reassured them I would be staying another night. The plan was to go to lunch, take the bus tour throughout the park, and then come back to the campground and hang out for the evening. At Cafe Soleil I ordered raspberry lemonade, a Greek chicken panini with feta, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, and banana peppers, and chips. I sat outside and waited for my sandwich while researching campgrounds near Arches National Park. My lunch was amazing, such a strong set of complimenting flavors; I love little local gems. From lunch, I headed back to the park where I parked in the Visitor Center parking lot. Luckily someone was pulling out as I pulled in, I gathered my camera and backpack and headed out for the day. I waited not even 5 minutes at the bus stop and hopped on a bus, they were conjoined trollies. The main bus drove, and the back one followed attached at the back. I took a seat in the first bus and decided to ride it all the way to the last stop which would take about 40 minutes. Temple of Sinawava is where I got off and I am glad that I did. I walked down a dirt path which followed the river. The sand was terra-cotta colored and very soft. The riverbed was gorgeous filled with smooth river rocks and turquoise water. Outside of a tropical island, I had never seen water that color before. The trail continued on until it reached the gateway of Narrows; this part of the trail was completely in the riverbed, you had to walk through he water to continue on. Luckily I was wearing my Crocs, but that didn't stop the water from being freezing. Many people had waders on, or special insulated water shoes, others were like me and making due with what they had. I walked for about 10 minutes or so just for the experience, and then turned around to head back to the bus stop. Next stop for me was Big Bend, to see Angel's Landing and The Great White Throne, Those were visible right from the bus stop so I photographed them and waited for the next shuttle. My last stop was The Grotto which I thought would give me access to Emerald Pools but I should have gotten off the next stop. I walked down by a nice bridge, met a couple in search of the pools as well, and then further up I asked a guy coming in the opposite direction. This is when I was told, it would be a little ways, but I would get there eventually. The walk along the river was still nice, and he was right, eventually I got to another bridge, crossed it, and was on the right track for the Emerald Pools. I was nearing 3 hours of exploration and my knees were growing tired, it was a long day and I saw so much in a small amount of time. Zion National Park is such an amazing place, I could easily spend a week there with so much to do. Unfortunately I was lucky enough to spend two half days there, and that only scratched the surface for me. I got to lower pool and was a little disappointed, the walk there was awesome but the pool itself was kind of an alge pond. The hike up to the middle pond was a little more strenuous and again, disappointment; I decided to not go to upper pond. I think my first stop was so breath taking with the water color that this just wasn't up to par. I exhaustedly hobbled onto the back shuttle and relaxed in the seat for the ride back to my car. Once at the car, I exited the park and headed back to the campground. On the shuttle the guide had mentioned that the canyon view would be the spot to watch the sunset, she said that it was a perfect view of it. I decided that I would go back to the campsite; eat, and then head back for sunset, even though I was exhausted. When I pulled in, I saw Todd hanging from some contraption in the tree, and Leith doing some mixture of yoga/p90x/workout session. I was intrigued by what Todd was doing and before I could ask, Leith commented on how ridiculous they must look in their matching shirts. She said they got them from their gym and the gym had asked for a photo of them in them, I told her that was the last thing I would have noticed. Not to mention at this point Todd had his legs tangled up in this strappy contraption and I was more interested in that sight. I ate a Mountain House meal, and then told Todd and Leith all about my adventures today and that they should check out Temple of Sinawava tomorrow while the boys played horseshoe. We talked for awhile and then they disappeared off to somewhere and I headed out for sunset. I drove again up the winding mountain road, entered the tunnel, and parked on the other side in a small lot. The hike up to the canyon viewpoint was strenuous and not what I was expecting with a camera in one hand and a tripod in another. For some strange reason I had pictured this not being a long walk, and hopefully just around the bend. It was not, I crossed a small suspended bridge, walked along an edge with no railing, and over many rocks. Finally about 15 minutes later I had reached the windy viewpoint. I set up the tripod and there were a few other people spectating and ready to photograph the sunset. It was a hazy evening and the sunset was not the spectacular ones you may find online if you were to Google it. Had I known the hike was going to be so elaborate, and the sunset not spectacular, I probably would have just relaxed at the campsite. Had I done that, I probably would have missed a gorgeous sunset, however at that point how would I have known? I hiked back with a couple who both had rather nice cameras in their hands as well and we made it just in time before it would have been rather tricky trying to hold a cell phone for light, with a camera, and tripod. I took my last drive down Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, and headed for the campground arriving around 9:00pm. The family next to me now had a fire going and were eating dinner, there was two more arrivals to the other side of me, but no one in the site directly next to me. I sat for awhile uploading photos and charging my computer and then crawled into my tent probably around 10:30pm to get some rest before my trek to Arches National Park tomorrow.
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