June 4, 2015, :45 AM – Day 3 – Zion National Park, St George – UTAH

It was late afternoon by the time we entered the Zion National Park. The drive down Hwy 89 from Bryce Canyon seemed shorter than going up to it earlier in the day.

Before we got to Zion, however, there were three sightings that were worth photographing. We missed the first – a herd of deer – that Elizabeth had spotted first.  I did not have enough time to fire up the camera while driving.

Bison 6-04-15  IMG_4116

The second sighting, however, just as sudden, was even more Ruin Ordervillesurprising. I did catch that one on film.

A large herd of Bison was grazing in a field off Hwy 89. We had read the day before about the Bison at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon but had no idea that they were also here in Utah, on the doorstep of another important national park (Zion).

The second shot – that of a run-down house/barn – is something I had photographed in my mind on our way up to the Bryce Canyon. On our return drive, all had to do remember a few landmarks before we got to it, near the village of Orderville.

I pulled over so quickly that Elizabeth practically jumped out of her seat.

“What’s wrong?” she said.

“Nothing. I am just stopping to take a picture of that ruin for you.”

Elizabeth loves to paint rusted out barns and other dilapidated buildings. Don’t ask me why. She just does. So I tried to preserve this one in the camera’s memory. Maybe one day, it will morph into a painting…


IMG_4120Our jaws dropped when we saw the first of many massive mountain formations. The one on the right looked like a giant lump of “masa” (tortilla dow) had been pressed down by some enormous force, and left to bake in the sun and the wind of the canyon. It’s surface was cracked from top to bottom, like thousands of fish scales.

Its actual name is Checkerboard Mesa, we later learned from the map.

For these next panorama shots, I did pull over to take the pictures.

Zion panorama  IMG_4121

Another “checkerboard” rock story, just a wider angle of it.

And then we entered a very long tunnel (see the map).  At its other end, we took these shots…

IMG_4134 IMG_4131 Zion-Header

Of course, there are many other parts of the Zion National Park we did not get to see. Many of them are not accessible by road anyway. Some require 8- to 12-hour one-way hikes to reach them.

Here’s a selection of some of the Zion file photos which illustrate the majestic nature of this national park. They were evidently taken by the lucky and probably exhausted hikers who made it to such spots as the Subway or the Angels’ Landing.

Zion, Temples_and_Towers_of_the_Virgin_(10681212885) Zion - Angels_landing_view Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 12.17.19 PM

Subway - Zion National Park, Utah

I don’t want to even begin to interpret this last photo taken at the Subway (see the map). All I will say is that there is an optical illusion there.  Just what it is – I will leave to the imagination of all female readers of these travelogues to figure out. 🙂

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June 4, 2015, 8:45 AM – Day 4 – DRIVE HOME – St George, Utah to Scottsdale, Arizona via Las Vegas, Nevada


St. George Birthday trip 2015 mapOur last day of the trip was basically one long car drive. We left St George, UT around 8:45 AM, and arrived at our home in Scottsdale around 3:30 PM.

Along the way, we went in and out or Arizona between Utah and Nevada, drove through Las Vegas, NV after its rush hour was over, and then settled for a long an uneventful drive through the Arizona desert (see the map).

IMG_4135 IMG_4136 IMG_4137

Before we got home, though, after we passed Wickenburg, we drove through a regulation monsoon… rain, lightening, thunder, dark and ominous clouds.

“I can’t believe it,” I said to Elizabeth. “This is the earliest I ever remember seeing a monsoon around here.”

And I have lived in the Phoenix area of Arizona for over 32 years.

“Must be El Nino,” I added.

Indeed, the next morning, after a night of thunderstorms and occasional heavy rain, I got my confirmation.  It WAS actually the earliest monsoon EVER recorded in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix/Scottsdale). The earliest previous monsoon onset occurred on June 17, 2000. In the Phoenix area, the average start date is July 7.

Here’s also a post I made about El Nino about three weeks ago (May 16) which puts things in perspective globally as well as locally.


May 16, 2015

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS: There is an approximately 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere summer 2015, and a greater than 80% chance it will last through 2015.

Well, no surprise there. We had not experienced as much rain at the Rainbow Shower, Maui as in the first four months of this year since we moved there in early 2009.

And now that we are at the Eagle’s Nest, Scottsdale, Arizona, we are getting the other side of the weather stick. Since yesterday afternoon, it had been raining throughout the night until this morning.

And this morning’s temperature was in the low 50s (F) (12C). I was shocked when the heat went this morning even in our house.

Normal daily highs for Scottsdale are in the low 90s (33C) at this time of the year. Today, looks like we are not even going to touch 70F (22C).

So what’s going on? Take a look at these two maps. It is El Nino paying us a visit in both Hawaii and Arizona.

The universe is unfolding as it should.

unnamed 8.53.45 AMRead more…


Also see… http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/…/…/enso_advisory/ensodisc.html

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For more on this trip, click on…


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