Life Verse:

"...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." -- JESUS in John 10:10

Monday, June 22, 2009

GWE - Day 13, 14, & 15 (Pictures from Zion NP)

Saturday, June 20, 2009 (Day 13)

It is hard to believe that the Great Western Expedition is half over. As hard as it may be to believe, in many ways it feels like we have just started. Some great adventures still await at Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Yellowstone National Parks. We also hope to see Devil’s Tower National Monument and the Badlands of South Dakota on the way home.

If you were curious, Las Vegas never sleeps. The RV park is a quarter of a mile off I-15 and the traffic noise could be heard all night. Even so, I slept well with the air conditioner going and the high-desert winds rustling the canvas.

Reading this morning is from John 2. “…for He knew what was in man.” (v. 25) Is it not comforting to know that GOD knows us even better than we know ourselves and HE chooses to love us? That is indeed Good News!

Today was a “work” and travel day. We stopped by Camping World and got the breakaway break control wired correctly and then went by Jiffy Lube to get the Explorer serviced (first time it has ever been necessary to have the oil/filter changed while on vacation!). After a chicken snack lunch from Dairy Queen we started north on I-15 toward the canyon country of Utah.

Camping tonight at a nice small RV park in Leeds, UT, Zion West RV park. We are in a valley surrounded by the red cliffs of canyon country. It is an impressive site. This may be the best view from any of the RV parks thus far.

Kathy cooked country fried steak and mashed potatoes on the camp stove. We had watermelon for dessert!

Sunday, June 21, 2009 (Day 14)

Reading this morning from John 3. This entire chapter is such a hitch-pin of our faith. It is appropriate that this passage was my devotional reading on Father’s Day. Our Heavenly FATHER loves us and provides for us beyond our greatest expectations. I know HE has blessed us to the utmost during this expedition. What we have seen and experienced is still being processed. Above all things though, HE is there, always loving, guiding, and protecting. Thank YOU, FATHER.

I believe our plans are appropriate for Father’s Day. We are visiting Zion National Park. We will be surrounded by the wonder of GOD’s Creation in a place with so many Biblical names. (Now if I can just get Kathy up!)

Zion National Park is a wondrous place. As we rode the shuttle up the canyon such places as The Great White Throne, The Patriarchs, Angels’ Landing, and The Altar greeted our eyes and thoughts. A Methodist minister many years ago travelled through this canyon giving Biblical names to many of the sandstone monoliths that stand guard over the canyon carved out by the Virgin River.

As you enter the canyon you discover a very different, almost magical quality to Zion National Park. The canyon gets narrower the farther north you go. If you hike into the Narrows the slot canyon is 20’ or less wide with unbelievable high sandstone cliff walls on either side. The Virgin River flows quickly through some of these portions and you need a stout pole to help keep your balance as you negotiate footing between the river-polished stones.

Kathy and I hiked the Lower Emerald Pool trail near Zion Lodge to a tranquil spot where two small waterfalls cascade over a sandstone ledge into an emerald reflecting pool below. The drop is close to 100’ so the wind whips the water around and may shower anyone, anywhere near the falls. We got showered a few times – the water was refreshing!

The Canyon Shuttle is a great way to see the park (in fact, private vehicles are not allowed inside the canyon during the Spring/Summer season). We rode the shuttle up to the Temple of Senewava (uppermost terminus of the park) to hike the River Walk. Kathy was tough today. She hiked the Emerald Pool Trail and then the River Walk all the way to its end at The Narrows. I hiked on upstream in The Narrows to get a better view and photos of this slot canyon. Even though I have seen pictures, being inside a slot canyon with water rushing under you and sheer, high cliffs on either side is impressive.

The squirrels have no fear in this park. They will walk up close to you to see if you happen to drop any morsels. (For your info: They are wild – do not touch them and do not feed them. They will bite.) We encountered several show-offs during the River Walk.

The Hanging Gardens along the cliff face of the River Walk were especially appealing to me. The soft moss, ferns, and delicate desert flowers clinging to the gray, white, and red sandstone cliffs engendered pictures of an exotic paradise, hidden in the midst of a desert somewhere. I could see why the Methodist minister thought of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon when he first looked at these gardens planted by GOD.

I was again astounded when I saw swamps in the desert! As water seeps through the sandstone cliffs and down to the Virgin River, it collects in pools and low areas. In these swamps cattails and other swamp vegetation grows hardily. There are water insects, frogs can be heard, and moss grows on the water and the rocks. It seems out of place when you look at the desert landscape all around. It is real – a testimony to the creativity and style of GOD.

On the way out of the park our shuttle had to stop for a minute or so for a mother mule deer and her newborn fawn. The fawn could not have been over a day old since he was still wobbly on his legs. He followed his mother casually across the road and into a grassy area below us. They paused several times to look at us and pose for pictures. Of course there were many oohs and ahhs from the shuttle bus riders.

We capped the day off with a meal at the Spotted Dog Café (a very nice restaurant in Springdale). Got back to camp just a little after dark, tired but having thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Monday, June 22, 2009 (Day 15)

Reading from John 4. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24 (NKJV)

Playing church is deceiving ourselves. GOD is not impressed with our possessions or our words. Without faith it is impossible to please HIM. True faith is believing (trusting) faith that is exemplified in our actions. True worship flows our of real love for GOD and will occur in all places and at all times.

Packing up from Zion this morning and setting our sights on Arches National Park near Moab, UT.

It felt like a long drive from Leeds, UT to Green River, UT. It was actually about 369 miles, but I-70 is a long drive. Sights were impressive though. Utah does a good job of providing some view-points with ample parking at certain particularly picturesque areas. We stopped at about three of these viewpoints and took quite a few pictures. One of the areas was a salt-marsh – a unique landscape to be sure.

We pulled in to Shady Acres RV Campground in Green River, UT about 5pm MDT. The park is large and nicely landscaped for the high desert. There actually are shade trees in the park.

Our plan is to pack up early in the morning and see Arches National Park (it is less than 50 miles away). We will then turn north toward Yellowstone. Our agenda calls for us to be at the Henry Lakes ID State Park on 6/24, so we can take our time as we travel to Yellowstone.

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