Day 22 – 10/15/14 Wednesday
Today was all about indecision. It began a bit differently in that I didn’t try to get anywhere for sunrise since I was staying in Cedar City and not really near somewhere I wanted to get to for sunrise. But when I left the hotel, I felt I might have missed a decent one because there were clouds around and they may have lit up a bit. I was still undecided on whether to go to Zion or directly to Valley of Fire in Nevada since all indications were that there were clouds in the forecast today and tomorrow and Valley of Fire was more about long views for good skies.
But, I opted for Zion, figuring I could do the Pine Creek Hike to the grotto and then hit Valley of Fire for sunset. Well, some how I missed the turn for Zion and had to double back, not really losing more than ten minutes and didn’t even get to the trail until almost 11am. Zion was mobbed as expected and was kind of unpleasant in that way, but I still wanted to do the hike. Only thing was, even though I talked to a ranger who said you just go into the drainage of Pine Creek and walk upstream, I ended up expending a lot of energy and not really being able to follow the trail. It was a lot of climbing over, around, and through rocks and other debris and I never could find a way into the canyon; every way lead to a dead end. So I finally stopped fighting my way in and decided to climb back out and head for Valley of Fire, maybe it would be better. I would have plenty of time to get a camp site and get some information about the Fire Wave, which I did. It turns out that the trail to it is a mile or mile and half, but if you park on the apron of Dip #5 and hike in the wash, in about 10-12 minutes turn left and you should be there or very close.
After getting the information, I decided I should eat, so I went to a picnic area and cooked one of the camp meals: fajita filling, which was a bit spicy, but otherwise good. But all of a sudden, I realized the afternoon is slipping away, and I needed to get to the Fire Wave soon since the light does not last completely to sunset, but is lost a bit before. So I drove to Dip #5 and hiked through the wash, some of it narrow enough to touch both sides at the same time, and in only about 10 minutes came up out of the wash and there it was. Since there were no clouds, there was good side lighting and I took images from both sides of the dip between the two halves. I ended up taking plenty of shots since it was such a pretty spot. It did not have very many people, which I found out later is generally not the case. Eventually some people did come around and three women were among them and we got to talking and they invited me over to their campsite for some Frangellico. I ended up taking their offer because they seemed to be a fun group and I did not cherish going to my lonely place since it was still early and they were in the larger, more “alive” campground. Found out later that their campground had a free shower! So we talked a while and found out one is a nurse anesthesiologist from Ohio and the other two were crime scene investigators for San Bernadino. The two met the one from Ohio on a photo workshop. Anyway, hung out with them for a while and helped finish the Frangellico until I left for my very dark campground without showers like they had. I may take one tomorrow before I leave, if I leave. More decisions to make.
As I’m writing this, mysteriously the radio continues to come on and go off by itself. Nothing is hooked up to it, the cell phone is off and I still get the radio coming on and off. I hope it stops when I turn off the iPad.