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Taking up where I left off on April 8: ZION.

We’re home (Chelan, WA) now. Been here about three or four days and we’re already missing the warm Arizona sunshine. Weather Service says there’s a 30% chance of snow here at the 3500-ft level (our level.)

Mary was pedaling her way to fitness on the stationary bicycle this morning and reading an old issue of Backpacker magazine when she saw the above Eddie Bauer ad. That’s the exact cliff those climbers I photographed in my last posting were on! Had I been courageous and skilled enough to dangle from a rope as this photographer did I could have sent you this more awesome view. Fuhgeddaboudit!

My last excursion at Zion was up the East Rim Trail which that same issue of Backpacker just happened to name as the most outstanding view in the nation. The view was great as I recall but the trail itself is what made the most lasting impression for me. Near the top the trail was bordered by…………nothing! A perfectly vertical cliff extended 2000 ft to the valley floor. When I met other hiker’s going the opposite direction it was all I could do to take the outside lane. Even though the trail was six to eight feet wide there is something about getting near a 2000-ft drop-off that sets one’s heart to racing. And then there was that sign at the trailhead that warned: “Exercise caution. There have been fatalities on this trail.” Gulp.

The drive home was fairly uneventful. Our new Dodge Ram diesel towed the fifth wheel effortlessly and transported us in luxurious comfort. For variety, we decided to take I-15 into Montana and then I-90 into Washington but when I checked the forecast on the morning of the second day just north of Pocatello, I was alarmed to see that snow was forecasted at Butte so we turned around and headed west on I-84 through Boise – our usual route.

The house looked great when we arrived. Our big fear was that a pack rat would take up residence on our couch and chew up a bunch of our furniture. I am happy to report not even a single mouse turd!

We did have a pipe freeze in the downstairs bathroom but no damage since the main inlet valve to the house was shut off. We were expecting a couple of nice warm baths on our first night home which had to be postponed until the next day when I could get the necessary pipe fittings to make repairs.

Our preoccupation for the next month will be getting in shape for our upcoming Sierra-Cascade ride (1500 miles.) We’re looking into getting some lower gears for the tandem as this route is nothing but hills. Meanwhile, we should get all the hill-climbing practice we need riding to town and back on the dusty Union Valley Road – a 2500-ft climb over six miles.

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