Short View of a Long Hike

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I didn’t know the exact mileage, but I had a hunch it was going to be an all day hike. At 9 AM, I started at the Chinle Trailhead and at 6 PM, ended at Coalpits Wash Trailhead, crossing from one trail to the other on Old Scoggins Stock Trail.  Here’s a map of the hike from one of my favorites sites, Joe’s Guide to Zion National Park.

I brought about a half gallon of water, a lunch, my walking stick and camera, and took my time.  I think I probably stopped to look around about every 40 steps. That made it a longer walk that it might be for some folks. It was beautiful every step of the way, and so peaceful. I met only four people during the whole day.

Anyway, I took a lot of pictures of wild flowers and interesting rocks. I also took a lot of grand views, but I’ve shared so many of those I thought it was time to zoom in again to stay balanced.

It took me several hours today to identify all the flowers.  If you’re interested, here they are, clockwise from the upper left corner: desert paintbrush, Shivwits milk-vetch, claret cup cactus, cliffrose, dwarf lupine, desert larkspur, sego lily, beavertail cactus, Mojave desert star, desert primrose, sneezeweed, bells of Ireland, skyrocket, yucca baccata, and purple sage (in the center).

If you read the list, you may have noticed one flower that is not a wild species at all, but a flower typically found in a florist shop. Can you guess which one? See the end of the blog for the name of this invasive non-native not-wildflower.

Here are the rocks. I can’t begin to identify all of them, but most are probably forms of sandstone.  There’s a plant with the sandstone in the upper right corner, maybe some gypsum layers on its left, and there are also some mysteries for you to ponder. Can you find the cryptobiotic soil? (Hint: it looks like a mini 3D map of Zion.) How about the petrified wood? (Answers at the end of the blog.)

The final question still lingering from this trip is, who made this track?
It’s about 3″ long and 2.5″ wide. It was made in a damp sandy stream bed so it was depressed quite a bit. I don’t see any claw …