An Option-Suit Day

We woke up to thick cloudy skies and weather predictions of rain. Time to consider options. This made us think of our son, Ben, who made up his own superhero when he was a kid. “Option-Suit Man” was someone who could come up with all the options whenever there was something that required a change of plans, a change of directions, or a change of weapons to compete with a threatening villain. We needed Option-Suit Man today.

2016-09-21-10-50-48What was going to be a full day at Zion National Park, turned into something different. We did start out for Zion, and made our first stop at Kolob Canyon, a beautiful and mostly ignored part of the park. Even though the clouds hung low over the mountain peaks, we elected to drive up to the view area. What we saw at the top looked strangely like home. I often walk past our scenic overlook at home and see visitors trying to determine what is actually hidden behind that thick layer of Seattle mist and fog. Well, today in Kolob Canyon, that’s what we saw. And, it looked just like home.

We decided to go on up to the main entrance of Zion anyway, since it wasn’t quite raining YET, and maybe it wouldn’t. (Or, so we told ourselves.) The ranger at Kolob advised us to take the shuttle bus from Springdale as the park would certainly be full of visitors and there would be limited parking available. Yes, we thought, let’s just take the shuttle through the whole park and just leave the car in town. That way we can see everything! And no one has to drive but the bus driver. That was option number 2 for the day.

As we approached Springdale it was pouring and cars were streaming toward us coming out of the park. Option number 3: Why not just drive into the Visitor Center? We didn’t have an umbrella or a raincoat, and waiting for the shuttle would have been similar to standing under the shower head. So, we drove on.

2016-09-21-12-24-18As predicted, the Visitor Center parking was full, but people were moving all the time. So, (option number 3:) Randy suggested I jump out and get a map and stamp and he would wait for a spot to open up and meet me inside. Sounds like a good option! I jumped out and first found the comfort station, then the visitor center. The place was packed with wet bodies and people milling around trying to figure out their options in this unfortunate weather.

About the time I figured I needed to return to the drop-off point because I wasn’t seeing anyone coming to join me, most likely because he was just driving in circles around the parking lot, I saw him approach through the rain.

2016-09-21-12-06-01We thought since we did find a parking spot, (option number 4:) we might as well take the shuttle and see the park, even in the rain! So, we hopped on as the bus pulled up right in front of us. Once on the bus we realized this was no real option! We couldn’t see a thing! The large vista windows were fogged over with the heated breath of a packed bus and we knew we needed to change plans again. (Option number 5:) So, we got off at the museum stop and went inside to view the museum and view the film about the history of the park.

2016-09-21-12-46-42Standing outside in the rain and looking up we could just make out the tops of the mountains, or the canyon’s edge. But it looked like it was covered with cotton candy. Beautiful in it’s own way; it just wasn’t what we were expecting. I did take several pictures and even managed to see a couple of deer in the grassy area behind the museum. But I was worried about my camera in the rain, and so felt reserved next to how much I would have taken had it been a bright and sunny day.

2016-09-21-13-48-14The interesting difference about Zion, as opposed to the last three parks we have visited, is Zion is mostly on the canyon floor and the sides rise up about 3,000 feet higher! The perspective is entirely different and I could actually see myself spending many hours exploring through the canyon floor along the river – as opposed to walking, panic stricken, along the rim, like yesterday.

2016-09-21-14-11-28-5Option 6: We decided to plan to return someday and got back on the shuttle bus and made our way back to the car. Along the way I had to stop several times to capture the beautiful mini mountain sun flowers that captured my delight.

A late lunch was calling to us and the options were limited along the road away from the park. We noticed a sign for a Thai restaurant and promptly pulled in. Nothing like Thai food in the middle of the mountains. We shared a bowel of won ton soup and a dish of red curry chicken. They were hot and savory and filled us up. That’s just about what we wanted.

An hour and a half drive back to the hotel and we spent the early evening planning for the remainder of the days on our way home. Today felt like a Seattle day and it made us a little homesick. I guess that means it’s about time we should be heading home.

2016-09-21-19-55-33Having fully considered all the options for our return trip, we had one more option to consider: What shall we do for a little dinner?

A small pizza from The Pizza Cart hit the spot. And, we splurged and had to try their desert cinnamon roll pizza. Of course, we could hardly eat it, but it will make a wonderful breakfast in the morning.

2016-09-21-13-26-14It was an unexpected day. But one that challenged our ability to make audibles and find other options. Sometimes that’s all we can do. Zion will be a part of another trip at another time. But, we are not sorry we did see a tiny portion of it today wrapped in delicate, rainy, gauze!