Ted's Big Ride 2009---Day Forty

Mt. Carmel, UT to North Rim, Grand Canyon, AZ
July 26, 2009 Zion National Park leftArrowSmall.jpg rightArrowSmall.jpg home.gif

This was the toughest day of my trip, by far!
The day started out normally, I was going into Zion to spend time at the various scenic spots and take pictures. As I enter the park and showed my pass, I asked the Ranger for suggestions about the course of my day. She told me that it would be good to go to take the Canyon Overlook Trail and see it in the morning light, and then proceed to the shuttle bus at the South enterance for a ride thru the main Zion Canyon, available only from the shuttle so as to reduce the vehicle traffic in the dead end canyon. I say thanks and proceed into the park. Soon I each the Canyon Overlook trail. It is billed as about 1 mile round trip and of moderate difficulty. I park the bike, unload my camera gear and start the hike. Follow the pictures below.

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Riding time: 5 hours 58 minutes  (Not counting the hiking time)

Actual distance:
    Today = 142 miles,
    Total   = 8,458 miles
Average Miles/Gallon: 44.6
Average Price/Gallon: $3.08 (Premium Grade)

Gas Used to Date:  $766.41
View from the top of Canyon Overlook

I was taking pictures of the scenery at the edge of the cliff with my regular camera and decided that this scene might look cool in Infra-Red. So I removed my regular camera from the tripod and turned to get out my IR body camera. I don't remember hitting the tripod, but over it went---in front of two other witnesses. I said a few words, but was happy I did not try to grab it as it went over. So there goes my new Gitzo carbon fiber tripod with the Really Right Stuff ballhead. We all contemplated the fate of the objects after such a fall. I looked over at where the nearest road was and thought I might see how things looked from that angle. See below.
NOTE: This is a ZOOMED in look at the cliff
So my thinking goes, hey this would make a good story. I retrieve the probable trash and not soil the natural beauty of the park, and there might be a chance that it landed on/in a soft bush and all is OK. (Use of remote, extreme logic here). So I grab my quart water bottle and head off into the unknown. I can see where I need to go, more or less, but I didn't realize that these slopes have a rather steep pitch to them and that following a (presumable) path is not that easy. The natural tendency is to gradually go down hill because that is the easier path. Then you find that you are too low and need to find a way back up. There were many rocks, ravines, rain gullies, loose sand, loose rocks, and unfriendly foliage. But I hiked almost steadily for two hours to get to be somewhat under the upper ledge.
Walking away from civilization, toward the unknown.
Getting Closer
Another look back toward my parked bike
Almost there, looking up at a very acute angle...no tripod to be seen
My saving water source
Sitting in what little shade I cound find and using
the water to pour over my head to cool off.
The next two graphics depict the track data from my GPS device. I was wearing it when I dropped the tripod, and tried to use it to get to a close position at the bottom. Trouble is that you cannot traverse all of the terrain at the bottom, and just getting from one point to another is not easy. You can see that I wandered all over the place, but did indeed get to almost where I would have expected to find the remains. Oh well, it was a very hard trek and probably fool-hardy. I did not get to retrieve my gear, but I did get a story of sorts. Also, this episode has turned my off about venturing far from the road...I'm done walking!
The rest of the day was consumed by just getting to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where I had a very long standing reservation in a Frontier Cabin. I will post the other pics of Zion taken today with the ones that will be taken tomorrow.
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