Tag Archives: Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Ripples and Waves

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By the time I got to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, my excitement at seeing these amazing dunes by the Utah-Arizona border were only overshadowed by my excitement to take a shower. After I got that out of the way, I did the nature walk and knew immediately that I made the right decision in coming here! It was beautiful, intimate and quiet. It was the exact opposite type of environment as the hustle and bustle of Zion.

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There is beautiful life in the desert!

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“One researcher summed up years of research by stating ripples are ‘mathematically mysterious’.”

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So mysterious.

The air was the perfect temperature and climbing around the dunes, feeling the silky orange sand on my bare feet was heavenly. I really fell in love with Coral Pink Sand Dunes (which weren’t even pink, but orange) sitting on the observation deck watching the sunset spread out over from the west to the east, burning the sky with fire and smoke.

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My campsite, only $14 including the hot shower and entry into the park, had the perfect tree arrangement to set up my hammock. Needless to say, that night I had the most comfortable night’s sleep since I left my wonderful bed at home. The next morning, I time for had another jaunt out on the dunes to climb the biggest one before heading out.

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While I tried to visit Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for a promising hike along a creek and through slot canyons, a gut feeling made me turn around halfway down the dirt road leading to the trailhead and skip it. It’s a good thing I listened to my gut feeling too, because minutes after I turned around a massive storm rolled in out of nowhere and pelted down heavy rain and hail. I almost didn’t make it off the dirt road, fishtailing often the last couple miles and fearing for the worst before finding solid road again. My little borrowed sedan was not meant for those treacherous waters. Instead, I decided to take it easy and head up to the Red Canyon in the Dixie Forest on my way to Bryce Canyon National Park.

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Insane storm approaching from behind.

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The main town in the area, Kanab, has this huge “K” attached to the side of a mountain overlooking the town. 

Coral Pink Sand Dunes Nature Walk

0.5 miles, no elevation change, 30 mins

In the Shadow of the Great White Throne

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The morning, I intended to wake up early to catch the sunrise. I didn’t realize how tired I was from all the hiking I did the day before until I slept through my alarm and woke to dawn breaking. I hurried over to Kolob Canyon and made the quick walk down the Timber Creek Trail to a great overlook where I could watch the rest of the sun peaking out over distant horizons.  From this overlooks, not only could I see the main body of the Kolob Canyons but the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was also right out there.

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After some relaxation I headed back to Zion in full light to tackle the one thing everyone recommended to me, Angel’s Landing. After Observation Point, where you can actually look down on Angel’s Landing, I wondering if it would be worth it. But then I just did it because it’s not just the destination, but the hike itself it supposed to be great.

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I found an ostrich farm!

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The Court of the Patriarchs.

And it was. Great and brutal. Insane switchbacks to start, literally crawling up the side of a canyon wall, then level ground for less than a mile before another crazy set of switchbacks called “Walter’s wiggles.” Those were tough; I could finally feel the elevation change getting to me, having come here to hike above 5,000 feet when only two days before I was breathing so much more oxygen at sea level. My tired muscles from the day before were crying and my heart was pumping, but I finally made it to the last half mile, the infamous sandstone ridge where mere feet, sometimes inches, of rock lie on either side of the trail before a thousand foot drop. I loved this part!  Though a chain was installed for the whole half mile, I only used it a couple times to hold onto while letting people pass in the opposite direction. I just scrambled the whole way. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much easier it is if you use your hands and feet! You have to get close to the ground, lower your center of gravity, and climb along and it is so much more fun! There were a lot of people who seemed very scared or stressed and were only continuing along because their friends or family wanted to continue. There were also just a lot of people in general, so many more than I saw on the Observation Point Trail. This is where all the tourists must go! I must have passed by or seen around one or two hundred people in only a few hours. There was no such thing as privacy.

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Angel’s Landing rock seen from the beginning of the trail.

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After the first set of switchbacks.

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Walter’s wiggles. AKA death. 

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But the end destination was worth it! Unlike the day before, Wednesday was sunny and bright! The canyon below was lit up in beautiful hues and you could look up and truly feel like you’re in the shadow of the Great White Throne, the canyon formation that contributed to Angel’s Landing’s name. A minister who came up to this rock imagined this is the place where angels visiting from heaven would come to land on Earth, in this shadow.

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Made it to the top!

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And the other side!

When I finally descended back to level ground, I was beyond exhausted. I decided to walk down the Riverside Walk just to stretch my legs out on level ground before jumping back into the car to head over to my next stop, Coral Pink Sand Dunes. On my way out of Zion, I stopped by the biggest of many rock and mineral shops on the main road in Springdale. They had some awesome stuff! I got a couple gifts for people, agate slices and geodes you can break open yourself, and then a little stone dinosaur for myself. Such a success! The drive out of Zion too, through the Mt. Carmel/Route 9 tunnel, was great. The other side of the tunnel, while still part of Zion National Park, has such a different landscape. It was all beautiful.

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Timer Creek Overlook Trail

0.8 miles, slight elevation gain, 1 hour

Angel’s Landing

5 miles, 1,488 feet elevation gain, 3 hours

Riverside Walk

2 miles, very slight elevation change, 1 hour