September 4, 2006

The Grand Circle - Zion National Park

August 21, 2006
First stop: Zion National Park
Stayed at: Canyon Ranch Motel
They say that when you to Zion you look up, and in Bryce, you look down. True. The canyons and cliffs were so high, you feel like you are such a small speck in the scheme of things. Faced with such magnificence, it made me all too aware of a power far greater than I am who created such sights. I've read Zion as having "soaring towers and monoliths that suggest a quiet grandeur". I don't know how else to top that description.

We used the free shuttle to get around the park. The shuttle system is really a moneysaver. You just hop on and off different points in the park, while your car is peacefully waiting for you in the Visitors Center. Anyway, we hiked the Riverside Walk trail starting from the Temple of Sinawava for half-hour. Sunset was fast approaching and we didn't want to get lost in the dark in the park.

Panda Garden Chinese Restaurant. How can I forget them? We left the Zion park past 9 p.m. Most of the restaurants outside the park were closed or closing already. This Chinese restaurant allowed us to eat even if they were nearly closing. Their only condition was if we could kindly eat quickly. Now, beggars can't be choosers. We ordered food, which was promptly brought to our table. Their Mongolian beef was heavenly. I wish I took a picture of it, but I sadly left my camera where we stayed.

As for Canyon Ranch, it was better than I expected. Their website wasn't really that appealing. I even found one negative review in Tripadvisor, but when we got there, everything was good. The rate was reasonable. They offer coffee and some pastries in the morning. The views surrounding Canyon Ranch were just amazing.

By the way, always, ALWAYS check your rental car before driving off. My husband noticed the rear right tire needed air. He went to put some, didn't find any air thingies in the gas station, stumbled upon a car repair shop. Guess what? Our tire had a nail stuck in it. They replaced it. Annoyingly, the rental car company said they wouldn't reimburse us. It wasn't part of the contract. Take note of that. Next time you rent a car, make sure they cover that or at least you get 50% reimbursement. It was a pain putting a new tire in a car you don't even own. I tried to argue my way into at least 50% reimbursement, but you just have to suck it up and do what must be done.

After that headache, we ate breakfast at the Spotted Dog Cafe.