The Zion Northwoods Stroll - June 2012
One of the many charms of Zion National Park is the wide range of ecosystems within its boundaries. Cliffs, canyons, rivers, alcoves, hanging gardens, upland mesas, dry ponderosa forests, etc. -- but few think of tall trees with lush undergrowth when they think of Zion. This is one reason I like the "North Woods" hike up near Lava Point, and I thought it might be shady and cool... well, "reasonable" on a hot June day. Felicia was around and up for a hike, so we headed up there to check it out and see how well it beat the heat when it was 100F in Springdale. The answer - still hot up there, even at 7000 feet. But it is a lovely hike, and it is the home in Zion of the elusive Blue Columbine (pictures from a different trip). As elsewhere in Zion this year, there were very few flowers out. Felicia espied a nice Yucca near the head of Boundary, with a Butterfly Weed nearby, but otherwise the blooms were (mostly) not out this year. There were some all-white Blue Columbines, but they were looking dried-up and not so photogenic... so I tossed in some Columbine pics from prior-year trips to the head of Boundary.
Unfortunately, that hike back to the car, 900 feet uphill, in the heat of the afternoon (well, after an hour siesta at the Pipe Spring) was plenty hot. Felicia got a good pic of the Twinpod in fruit, a plant I have seen a lot but usually am too hot and tired to photograph. After a bit of a trudge, finally made it back up to the West Rim Trailhead.