Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hanging Out in Virgin

DSC08689                                                               Virgin River near La Verkin, UT

We all wanted to hike on Saturday morning but away from the Zion crowds, so we decided on the Hurricane Rim trail in nearby Hurricane.  As we were getting ready to leave the wind picked up dramatically, along with blowing dust, which made it feel pretty cold.  Laurelee was driving and we all decided hiking up on a ridge was not a good place to be, but she remembered a trail along the Virgin River where she and Libby had walked once before. It turned out to be a good choice as we were fairly protected.

Laurelee, Jim and Chris on the Confluence Trail, which starts at Confluence Park in La Verkin.


Since Jim doesn’t swim there was no danger in him actually swinging off into the river.


We discovered this rusty old car that must have crashed down from the rim.


The trail runs along the river for two miles with nice scenery, then climbs up out of the canyon to the road right near River Rock Roasting Co, a popular coffee shop.


We thought about stopping for a cup, but the line was long and Jim and Chris had decided to go see the new Bladerunner movie that afternoon (Jim’s birthday present) so we turned around.


It was a pleasant hike even if we did eat a little blowing sand on the way back. There are other trails branching off that we would have done if not for the weather and time constraints.


By the way, Jim and Chris both thought Bladerunner 2049 was an excellent movie.


On Sunday we thought we would try the Hurricane Rim trail again, this time joined by Andre and Rose, who pulled in on Saturday afternoon just after we got back from our hike. Jim bailed on this one since we left too early.


The trail climbs quickly to Panorama Point. From left, Andre, Rose, Laurelee and Libby, and Chris.


Good views of Hurricane.




Looking down into the Virgin River Canyon we could see the Hurricane Canal below, a hand excavated irrigation canal completed in 1907 to divert water from the river.



Chris, Laurelee, Libby and I turned around here after three miles, while Andre and Rose continued on another mile up the rim until they had a view of our campsites.




We only saw a couple of hikers and bikers along the way, a good choice for a Sunday morning. Libby was ready for a nap on the way home.


That afternoon Jim and Chris took a look at the Lazy Daze to figure out what parts they might need to try and repair our vacuum leak. Chris had the same problem with air coming out the defrost and did a cheap fix, so he thought he could repair ours in the same way. It is nearly impossible to access the tubing or canister to determine if there is a hole in the line or the check valve has failed, and from what we read it’s about a $1,000 repair at a Ford dealer since they have to remove the A/C for access. Jim had already ordered and picked up the main part for the repair, a vacuum canister, but they needed new tubing and some other connectors to bypass the old one. On Monday they went to the auto parts store to get what was needed and spent a couple hours working on it. Jim turned on the engine and revved it some and the air was still blowing out the vents, but until we drive off to dump in a few days we won’t know for sure if the fix actually worked. Stay tuned.


That evening we had a little happy hour gathering for Jim’s birthday.


Tuesday was errand day for everyone. We had mail to pick up at the post office and UPS store, needed a new bathroom door latch at an RV place in St. George (which of course they didn’t have),  visited the state liquor store, worked out at the Washington Community Center, and picked up some things at Walmart. At the RV dealer we spent some time looking at Glacier Peak 5th wheels. We really liked one of the floor plans and it sure would be nice having a larger and more comfortable living space, but it’s hard to wrap our heads around also having to buy a big truck to tow it with, and having to drive it as our primary means of transportation. It’s still fun to look.

Everyone was ready for a hike on Wednesday and Andre had suggested a new-to-us trail up off Kolob Terrace Road, the Wildcat Canyon trail in Zion National Park. Jim decided to stay home and babysit Libby since dogs aren’t allowed on the Zion trails. We took two cars so we could make it a one-way 5 mile hike, with another couple mile detour to Northgate Peaks.


It was a cloudy day and surprisingly warm at 7,500’. Most of the leaves were already off the trees at this elevation.


After dropping down into the canyon and crossing a dry creek, we climbed up the ridge on the other side. It was a dreary day for photos.



Looking down into Wildcat Canyon.


Hazy views into Zion.


Our mile long detour to Northgate Peaks was the most scenic part of the hike.


We found a good rock outcropping with a view for lunch. Chris, Laurelee, Andre and Rose.




Coming back we took another short detour for some photo ops.


It was a pleasant hike of eight miles with only 500’ of climbing involved. Probably one of the easier hikes in Zion. Of course had we not left a car at the start it would have meant hiking back all that way, and I doubt any of us were up for that.


Jim had a good day taking Libby for walks on the BLM roads around our site, and letting her hang out with him in our Lazy Daze. She’s a sweet dog.

Looking forward to more hikes and company during our second week here. As many times as we’ve been here we have yet to grow tired of this beautiful area.


  1. Speaking of beauty, I love Wildcat Canyon. The colors in the rock are fantastic! Y'all have been hitting some beautiful places on this trip.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, I've reached that point where I'm trying my best to ignore them. Sadly, my body isn't taking the hint.

  3. That's quite a gang gathering up in UT. Looks like fun, as always.

    We like the Glacier Peaks too, but I can see why you would hesitate to change everything. We've now been driving our big truck for five years on the road and are used to is only rarely that it seems like a burden...tight or full parking lots for example.

  4. And now we will have to take 3 cars...

  5. Looks like a beautiful place to celebrate another birthday. Thanks for the ongoing tips when we finally make it to some of the Utah parks.

  6. Great pictures of your hikes. Nice variety to suit every weather situation. Well done. Happpy Birthday Jim!! Sweet that you have friends who can help you with a tricky repair. Hope it works.

  7. Such a beautiful place away from all the crowds - love those glorious long views. Libby is a cutie!