Zion National Park

May 7, 2009 – 5:01 pm

We recently went for a five day trip to Zion National Park in southern Utah.  If you ever get the chance, I highly reccommend visiting this spectacular area.   This was our second trip, and we had a little more time to leisurely explore the park and surrounding area.  



Lodging

The hotel we stayed in was the Canyon Ranch Motel, located at the north end of Springdale, UT.  The rates are reasonable, the rooms are clean, the site is relaxing, the WiFi is free, the Coffee is organic, and the hosts are great.  Even better is the location - right at one of the FREE town shuttle stops.  This was a welcome amenity at the end of a long day of hiking.  The only down side was that the hot tub and pool were closed during our stay.   I was a little disappointed, as it would have been very nice after the six hour flight and two and a half hour drive to get there.  Overall, it was a great place to stay.

Food

If you are the type of person who must eat at a different place each day, then I suggest you visit these two resteraunts last:  Cafe Soleil and Whiptail Grill.  We did eat at a few other locations during our stay, but we ate almost every breakfast at Cafe Soleil and almost every dinner at Whiptail Grill.  They are both just that good.

The Breakfast Burrito at Cafe Soleil is hearty, delicious, and fairly priced.  I usually eat a lot when hiking, but one of these burritos in the morning held me over until dinner without a problem.  The food at the Whiptail Grill is hard to describe - unique combinations and interpretations of common dishes that really knocked our socks off.  My favorite was the Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas - but the Spagetti Squash and Goat Cheese enchiladas were fantastic as well.

The Park

The National Park Service has a great website for Zion National Park.   The park service has also done some great things to make the park accessible while still preserving the natural beauty.  They provide a free, continuous loop shuttle service throughout the canyon.   The park shuttle combined with the Springdale shuttle made it so we never had to drive the car anywhere after parking at the hotel.  

One of the most famous trails in the park is Angel’s Landing.  You can’t go to the park without hearing other people talk about, the tour guides point it out in detail, and when you see it, you may not be able to take your eyes off of it.  



 As the rangers will tell you, this hike not for the faint of heart or for those who fear heights. At it’s most dramatic, you cling to a slice of sandstone about 3 feet wide with an 800 ft. drop on one side and a 1,200 ft. drop on the other.



There are many other wonderful hikes in the park - some on level ground, some with gentle ascents, and a few other dramatic canyon wall walks.  Or, you may be content to eat ice cream on the lawn of The Lodge while gazing at the cliffs. It may sound cliche, but there really is something spectacular for everyone.

Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C.

March 31, 2009 – 1:00 pm

After several years of trying, we finally timed a spring visit to D.C. when the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom. Previous attempts were either too early, too late, or involved torrential downpours.







It was well worth the visit (and the preceding failed attempts).

Kona Coffee Tasting

February 5, 2009 – 8:24 am

Several friends who normally add cream and sugar were content to drink it black.

A short time ago, I invited several friends over to join me in a little experiment.  The goal of the experiment was to taste the difference when a a high quality coffee is brewed in several different ways.  With the help of my friends, we were able to compare side by side a Drip Brew, the Technivorm Drip Brew, the Aeropress, and a French Press.  The coffee to be used was 100% Kona medium roast from a single farm, hand carried from Hawaii. 

Kona Cherry

The scientific method would have us change only a single variable between each brew method.  However, our plans were immediately disrupted upon realizing that each brew method also indicates a different grind coarseness.  Drat! How could we possibly evaluate, in a scientific way, the subjective reaction to a multivariate production process?  We’d wing it.
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