Adventures in Utah: Winter 2022

Status
Not open for further replies.

swalker

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 11, 2014
Messages
1,454
Reason
DX MND
Diagnosis
07/2014
Country
US
State
CO
City
Vail
As I have mentioned in previous posts, we were able to go to Zion National park several times during our trip to Utah. It is a beautiful park and in the distant past I have explored parts of the park that most people don't visit. I had never really considered how wheelchair accessible the park is until we started seriously discussing spending a month in southwest Utah.

My research before our trip revealed that it is not very wheelchair accessible. It is not. When we went through the entrance station for the first time, I inquired about any wheelchair accessible trails and asked if they had a guide for folks in wheelchairs. The attendant looked at me in utter confusion, as she did not seen to know what "accessible" meant. She then said that there was no accessible guide (most national parks I have been to in the US have such a guide, which can be a great help).

But, she did kindly offer that the parking lot in the lodge was paved and I should be able to ride my wheelchair in that parking lot. Wow!

We accepted the typical tourist literature she offered and headed into the park. My wife went to the visitor's center (a significant distance from the handicap parking) and was greeted with a similar response. So, we figured we were on our own to explore the park and see where I could get in my wheelchair.

Our research revealed that there are two short accessible trails. The first is near the visitor's center and was partially closed for construction to repair damage caused by flash floods that happened last year.

The second was all the way at the end of the main spur road that leads into the heart of Zion Canyon. That is the trail we decided to check out.

Zion is absolutely beautiful and the drive to the end of the spur road was wonderful. There are a couple of small parking lots along the way and a large parking lot at the lodge. We passed all those and continued to the end, where there is a small parking lot with a few handicap parking spots.

Zion was very crowded and the parking lots were filled beyond capacity. However, we were fortunate and found a van accessible spot. We got me unloaded from the van and started to make our way down the trail, which is the Riverside trail. The Riverside trail leads to the Narrows which is a world famous hike through a very narrow canyon.

The trail was pretty good for the first half mile. At that point, we encountered a sign saying the trail was not accessible by wheelchairs beyond that point. It looked accessible to me, so we kept going! We did make it all the way to the end of the trail, which is about 2 miles long. It was very beautiful and I don't remember doing it before. I was very glad to be able to do it and was excited to try a few side trails on the way back to the car.

Zion is full of sandstone and the bottom of Zion Canyon is mostly composed of wind-deposited sand. Wind-deposited sand is very fine and it is very easy to become stuck in it.

On the first side trail I tried, I came close to getting stuck, but managed to get back to the main trail. Unfortunately, things did not go so well on the second side trail I tried. I only went about 75 feet on it before becoming hopelessly stuck. I managed to get the wheelchair buried up to its frame in very fine sand. My wife could not get me out, at all. Fortunately, several folks came buy who offered to help and were able to get me unstuck several times as I made my way back to the main trail. It was a bit of excitement and I was quite embarrassed at getting stuck, but it all worked out in the end.

During our trips to Zion, we wound up doing that trail 3 times. As far as I could tell, it was the only wheelchair accessible trail open during our visit.

We managed to see a variety of wildlife during our trips to Zion, including mule deer (blacktail deer) and bighorn sheep along with many different kinds of birds.

My wife did the famous Angle's Landing hike, which is quite spectacular. If you are not familiar with it, I encourage you to google it. There are a few hazards along the way and a surprising number of people have perished due to missteps in dangerous places.

Zion really is a great national park, but is probably better suited to those who do not need a wheelchair.

I don't have too many pictures of our hikes there and have posted most of what I have. Here is one I have not yet posted.

Steve


20220214_152823.jpg
 

swalker

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 11, 2014
Messages
1,454
Reason
DX MND
Diagnosis
07/2014
Country
US
State
CO
City
Vail
I am glad that folks have been able to enjoy some of the stories of our trip to Southwest Utah. It is a pretty unique place with many beautiful areas.

One of the fantastic trips we did while we were there was to mostly circumnavigate Zion National Park. The trip was a little under 200 miles and took the entire day.

We had had some unseasonably late snow, so some of the places we visited still had snow. One part had a substantial amount of snow (enough that many snowmobiles were out recreating in the new snow).

We headed up I15 toward Cedar City, Utah, skirting the western edge of the park. We stopped at the Kolob Canyon part of Zion, which sees few visitors. This is an area where I had done some rock climbing a bit more than 40 years ago. It is absolutely spectacular and too bad that more folks are not aware of it. We drove all the way to the top of the spur roads that leads into it and admired the amazing view from the top.

We returned to I15 and continued on to Cedar City, where we turned east to go across the north edge of the park. We took highway 14 across to where it joined up with US 89. That drive took us over a high pass, reaching an elevation of about 10,000 ft. It was beautiful scenery and we enjoyed the drive very much.

We turned south on US 89 travelling along the eastern edge of the park through the towns of Glendale and Orderville to Mt Carmel Junction. That is a wonderful drive with beautiful scenery. It was along this stretch that I saw the California Condor (America's largest bird with a 9 foot wingspan) a couple of weeks earlier.

We turned west at Mt Carmel Junction, taking highway 9, which goes through the southern part of the park. That took us through the towns of Springdale, La Verkin, and Hurricane. It was so beautiful. This is the main road that folks usually take to enter the park and visit Zion Canyon.

We then headed back to our motorhome at the RV park. I was truly exhausted at the end of the day, but it had been a wonderful day.

I did not take any pictures that day, so you will just have to trust me that there was so much amazing scenery. I hope to be able to do that trip again some day.

Steve
 

Hal

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2022
Messages
5
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
09/2021
Country
US
State
MA
City
SOUTH HAMILTON
Thanks Steve.... appreciate the feedback and the inspiration you generate for all of us.
 

Hal

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2022
Messages
5
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
09/2021
Country
US
State
MA
City
SOUTH HAMILTON
If you are ever in southeast AZ you'll need to check out Chiricahua National Park .... the rock formations are unbelievable... and the road up the side of the mountain provides multiple different viewing stations providing great vistas without having to hike the trails
 

swalker

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 11, 2014
Messages
1,454
Reason
DX MND
Diagnosis
07/2014
Country
US
State
CO
City
Vail
I will wrap up this thread with this post and then start a new thread about our trip to the Grand Canyon.

Our trip to Southwest Utah was really wonderful. Despite all the uncertainty about how the motorhome would behave, we wound up having a great time. We look forward to being able to go back and spend more time there some day.

As we finished out our trip, the weather once again turned unseasonably cold. We (my wife, really) packed up the motorhome and wheelchair van and prepared for our departure. We felt good about some of the repairs that were able to be made to the motorhome by a mobile mechanic that was recommended to us.

We had discovered a few issues with the work that had been done on the motorhome as part of the engine rebuild. Those kind of issues are to be expected with a complex job like that. We found a leak in a hydraulic line, a leak in the air system, and various other minor things.

So, instead of putting the motorhome into storage, we dropped it off at the RV repair place on our way home. Of course, we needed to have it winterized before doing that because it was still very much winter in Colorado. We found a mobile mechanic in Grand Junction that was able to do the job for us. After it was winterized, we dropped it off at the RV shop and drove the 150 miles back to our house.

Overall, it was a great trip.

Steve
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top