Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Zion National Park: Emerald Pools

Next on March 17 we hiked the Kayenta trail to make a loop with the Emerald Pools trails.  The pools are made by a creek that flows from the cliffs to the Virgin river, and the levels of the pools varies with the season and with the weather.  With it being spring, they were at a moderate level.

The Kayenta trail starts by crossing the Virgin river, then follows the base of the mountains towards a shallow canyon called the Grotto:

Those are cottonwood trees along the river just coming into leaf.  The photo doesn't do justice to the way the sun backlights them and makes them glow:

Me on a a teensy weensy rock outcropping.  I'm adventurous but still a bit wimpy, so this is all the danger I can handle (that will change ... Zion is chock-a-block full of risky trails, actually, genuine risk is pretty much mandatory, but today is just a warm-up.)

The base of the creek that flows into the Virgin river, seen from above:

A small part of one of the middle Emerald Pools.  (The trail was crawling with people, so I don't have too many wide angle photos, as those would give the impression of a bunch of tourists standing in a puddle).

A more strenuous side trail took us up to the upper Emerald Pool.  This fills up when it rains, when a waterfall will briefly run off a cliff.

Looking up at those cliffs - perfect weather, so no waterfall today.

This is part of another middle Emerald Pool, which was flowing off the cliff a bit into the lower Emerald Pool.  I know, nothing looks very emerald-esque today, more sandstoney.

I love slot canyons, and this trail had a short skinny one to walk through:

So this is at lower Emerald pool.  It's pretty cool, there is a shallow cave underneath the waterfall, which was steadily dripping water as we passed under it.

View of mountains to the east as we hiked back towards the river:

Looking north and then south as we crossed the Virgin River.

Coming up next, the West Rim trail towards Angels Landing ...

No comments:

Post a Comment