The scenery along the way out of the park is wonderful.
Despite the traffic sharing the road with us, I make Lane pull off between switchbacks. I quickly see that the spot I have chosen is near the very top of the series of switchbacks that climb up and out of the valley. I hurry across the busy road to an overlook to enjoy the scenery.
The view is spectacular.
Back in the car I catch a glimpse of an odd, man-made opening in the mountainside – like a pair of windows looking out over the valley. No road leads to them, so it can’t be the tunnel entrance. . . how strange.
Traffic is backed up at the tunnel, as they are allowing movement only in one direction at a time. (The tunnel is too narrow for larger vehicles to get through unless they drive in the middle of the road, so we all must wait our turn to drive in the middle of the road. It seems unfair that those of us in sensibly sized cars have to wait just as long as the behemoth vehicles, but that’s the way it is.) I am eager to be moving again. The wait isn’t very long and soon we are off.
Once inside this very long tunnel, I realize that the odd openings I saw were windows. They provide the only light inside this otherwise unlit tunnel. Cool. I wish I could stop and look out one of them. Would I have any sense of what it must have been like to build this tunnel?
Outside another surprise awaits: A fantastic, surreal landscape of twisted stone.
Mom? Brian? What were you thinking?!? How could you NOT tell me that the best part of Zion is the section east of the tunnel!?! It is incredible! I wish I could spend the day hiking amid these odd rocky formations, instead of hurrying on to reach the Grand Canyon before nightfall. All those ridges and twists and turns to explore and photograph. WOW!
The Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway is otherworldly, strange, and oddly beautiful.
If only I had known.