Saturday, May 24, 2014

East side of Zion National Park

We took a scenic road trip to Zion's East Side. To get there, you have to go through "The Tunnel." There are a series of switchbacks up to the tunnel.
The tunnel is a mile long through the mountain. Building it was quite a feat in the 1920s.
 To accomplish it, they drilled side tunnels/shafts which later became "windows" in the tunnel.

 You can see one of the windows from the road up.

 The windows allow a little bit of light inside the tunnel.
 An RV waiting to be escorted through the tunnel. Tall vehicles must travel down the center of the tunnel, so there is one-way traffic while they go through. It costs $15 for an escort through the tunnel. We were in a car for this trip.
 On the east side are more beautiful sandstone formations.
And another tunnel we weren't expecting.
This is a short one.
There are supposed to be Desert Bighorn Sheep on this side of the park, so we are scanning the mountaintops.
The sheep go up high during lambing season.

We were about to pull away from this viewpoint when I noticed movement beside the road.
And right there by the road was a big ram.
Two ewes and two lambs were foraging down below. 
Somehow they communicated to the lambs to run.

Two lambs
I guess they were big enough to bring them down to the lower elevations.
We watched them for awhile until other vehicles stopped and we were drawing a crowd.
Big daddy was still next to the road, eating nonchalantly. 
The lambs were some distance away but curious about all the onlookers.

Ewe and lamb
Good-bye lambs
More views of the rocks.

This is called "Checkerboard Mesa"

Colorful formations

One place where we walked there were hundreds of cactus blooming in different colors.

Back through the tunnel.
A view out one of the tunnel windows. You are not allowed to stop.

That was our day trip. We'll come back early one morning to hike the Canyon View Trail.

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