Zion National Park – Random Sightseeing – Day #5

The last morning I was in Zion, H- and B- had to go back to work, so we had breakfast and H- helped me pack up my car again. While she headed off to work, I knew I had some extra time before I needed to hit the road, so I caught the free shuttle bus and did some last-minute sightseeing of some of Zion’s iconic sites I hadn’t gotten a chance to check out yet.

First up was the Court of the Patriarchs.  The three large white-ish mountains are named after the Old Testament patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Unlike most of the sights in Zion, you can’t actually see all of the Court from the road because Jacob is partially blocked by a large red mountain, Mt. Moroni.  In order to get a better view of the whole Court,  I hiked a super short trail next to the bus stop that ended in a small clearing with a couple of benches and a much better view.

(Abraham on the left, Isaac on the right)

(Mt. Moroni red mountain in front, Jacob white mountain in back)

Next up was another shuttle ride back to the Visitor’s Center to buy a Narrows t-shirt to remember our amazing hike and take some photos of the Watchman.  According to H-, the Watchman is the most photographed and recognizable thing in Zion, which is easy to believe.  I know I’ve read that a lot of rock climbers camp out beneath the Watchman year round and climb their way up.  I personally have no desire to ever rock climb, but there is a Watchman Overlook trail I didn’t have time to do during my trip that I would love to do if/when I get to come back.

After the Visitor’s Center I decided it was probably about time to head out in my car, but on the way out I decided to stop at the Checkerboard Mesa near the east entrance of the park.  According to the little informational stand, what makes this formation so unique are the vertical lines.  The horizontal lines are caused by erosion, which is pretty common, apparently, but the vertical lines are caused by stress fractures in the rock after freeze/thaw cycles.  Not as impressive as some of the other parts of Zion, but still pretty cool.


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