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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Neither Rain nor Snow nor Darkness of Skies

It takes more than a cold, foreboding day to stymie hardy hikers. After an all night rain, we feared the clay gumbo around these parts might be too slick or sticky. But the soil was apparently thirsty enough to assimilate the moisture and was only lightly dampened, which aided traction, something we were going to need where we were headed.

Boonie and I harbored a goal for this hike, one not shared out of fear nobody would have showed up to hike it on such a nasty day. For years we have studied from afar a near vertical scar on the side of Gooseberry Mesa, possibly an old fire road. Our curiosity was long overdue to be sated. 

With the aid of Google Earth, Boonie figured out which of the maze of BLM roads that hill and dale behind Zion River RV Resort would get us to the scar that led up to the top of Gooseberry Mesa... the very place that took us nearly two hours to get to by car just a few days ago via Rockville's Bridge and washed out back roads. 

I held little hope that we could achieve this lofty (some 1600 feet of elevation gain) goal; it looked to be 10 miles away from our starting point. And it was cold, which meant it would be even colder up there at 5000 feet. I was surprised anyone showed up for this hike to begin with. We were pushing our luck with the group as conditions were not exactly favorable.

But you don't know if you don't try, and "Can't" never "could;" it's the least one can do… just layer up, expect the worst, and settle for what happens. As my Dear Lovely preaches, "Never stay home on account of the weather." So we braved onward…band of solders that we are…Bobbie bearing the flag, Jim on fife, and Boonie on drum. Ignorance is bliss.

It's astonishing what happens when one gets lost in conversation while putting one foot in front of the other. BAM! Before we knew it we were at the bottom of the almighty Mighty Goose—staring up an ugly scar of a road that pushed a near 45 degree angle. The top was clearly visible—dotted with cedar and a funky little antenna of some sort—it taunted us like a playground bully, well, some of us, anyway. We were so close. After fueling up with snacks, Bobbie and Boonie continue on. What were we to do but follow?   

Jim and Suzanne…resolving the world's problems

Another break to regroup and overlook the unnatural charm of layer cake geology. Even Coffee Girl and Libby were ready for a break. Look who's head out tho...

Finally on top, where it was cold and windy and spitting rain…not a place to hang out very long. Victory was short and sweet.

The next day involved Walmart and shopping and leg recovery…tho skies had cleared, it was still cold and windy. After shopping we took a drive through Zion's magnificent corridor to watch "Art in the Park," an artist's paint out going on all week.


  1. Despite the weather, that was a very satisfying and challenging hike up to Gooseberry! Good exercise, good company, fantastic vistas, and frozen fingers. Look forward to much the same today in the Narrows!

  2. What an exciting hike! Don't you just love the feeling of getting to the summit! We have often, recently, looked back at where we just came from to marvel at what we just did...we were up there!? Looking forward to trying this one day.

    Driving through Zion never gets old. The rich colors and gorgeous rock designs are breath taking!

    Loved joining your journey:)

  3. Im very much looking forward to your narrows hike when I was there the water level was waist high so NO one was allowed to go in...Im going to enjoy seeing it..so lots of postcard shots please.

  4. As a retro-grouch, and being proud of it, I assure you that I didn't need no stinkin' Google Earth to find the right road. I did it the old-fashioned way: following the road back to the Virgin River, while on top of Gooseberry Mesa.

  5. Boonie's tenacity really paid off on this one. Wish my dogs and I were there too.

  6. Yet another gorgeous place that I never would have seen were I not following "the gang's" boot-heels. That spectacular view was worth all the steep parts and more!


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