Throwback Thursday: Legend Trip to Zion National Park

Odometer (Legend):  522,135

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Odometer (ILX):  37,640

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Red sandstone at dawn is one of my most favorite things ever.  This April 2007 picture of my Legend at Snow Canyon State Park in southwest Utah captures some of the beauty that can be observed during that peaceful time of day.

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Capitol Reef National Park, September 2006:

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Utah Highway 12, approaching Bryce Canyon National Park on Highway 12.  I had chrome 16″ OEM wheels on the Legend at the time.

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Just a 45 minute drive from my hometown in St. George, Utah lies the mouth of the stunning Zion National Park, established in 1909.

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Massive sandstone cliff walls border a narrow canyon with the Virgin River at the base.  This has always been one of my favorite road trip destinations.  The first time I remember taking my Legend there was on June 13, 2004. This was back when it had 18″ Mille Miglia chrome wheels on it.

Following is a picture I took at the time, when my car had just 140,000 miles on it:

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At the time it was completed in 1930, the Zion – Mt. Carmel Tunnel was the longest non-urban tunnel in the United States.  It’s a 1.1 mile tunnel with 5 “window” openings that were carved at various intervals through the sandstone rock.  This picture from a 1930 issue of Popular Mechanics shows the route taken by the tunnel, which took 3 years to complete.

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Stopped at one of the windows / “galleries.”  When the tunnel was originally built, cars were allowed to pull out at these openings and enjoy the view.

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On June 27, 2005, I took a 1,000-mile “Utah Tour” trip when I rolled through the tunnel at about 3:45 in the morning.  About halfway through the tunnel, I stopped the car, shut it off, and turned off my lights.  I have never felt such complete and utter darkness and silence as I did at that moment in time.  That memory has stuck with me as one of my fondest road trip memories.

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Angel’s Landing is not the best hike selection for those afraid of heights.  At only 5 miles in distance round-trip, it’s not the distance that’s daunting – it’s the elevation gain of 1,500 feet and treacherous terrain.

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During ascent, a series of 21 tight switchbacks are soon followed by a trail that requires chain hand-holds to maintain balance and direction.  Huge, sheer drop-offs on either side can give a sense of dizziness.  Reaching the final peak at 5,785 feet in elevation requires a great deal of bravery.

View from the top, June 2004.  Look at that mop of hair I had (at left in the picture):

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I’ve hiked Angel’s Landing three times and it’s felt like a different experience each time.  These are pictures from one time I hiked it in October 2010.

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The little red ribbon at left in the below picture is the two-lane road at the valley floor, thousands of feet below.

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Here’s the last ascent before reaching the summit.  No turning back now!

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For any looking for an unbelievable national park experience, I highly recommend a trip to Zion!

This week I drove past Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale.  This place was home to a bit of a social media disaster this week.  If you recognize the name, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

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And I also saw the Frank Lloyd Wright spire.  This was originally designed to be on the grounds at the Arizona state capitol, but it instead ended up being placed in a shopping center.  The spire was designed by Wright in 1957 but wasn’t constructed until 2004.  It’s made up of 1,700 individual pieces of steel and it weighs 75 tons!

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The spire lights up blue at night so I’ll have to stop back by for another picture sometime soon.

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Best part of my commute:

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ILX Updates

The 2014 ILX is now on sale as of two days ago.  The new model now comes with 8 additional standard features for the base model including the 17″ alloy wheels and an active noise cancellation system.  Further refinements to the interior include upgraded leather seating surfaces, door panel trim, and other features.  It’s hard to believe it’s already been almost a year since I got my ILX.  I’m still loving it!

Some of you have already found me on Instagram.  If not, look me up under @tysonhugie.

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If I had $200 burning a hole in my pocket, I’d buy this 1:18 scale ILX Hybrid die-cast model car on Ebay.

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A guy can never have too many toys, right?  🙂

4 Responses to “Throwback Thursday: Legend Trip to Zion National Park”

  1. Put that extra $200.00 into the Legend’s pocket! (if you had it!)

    I’m not sure you can beat red sandstone at dawn. Especially with the DMM color of your Legends.

    • Dave, you’re right – if I’m gonna spend that kind of money on “car stuff,” it should be for my full size cars and not the 1:18 scale ones. Though, I think if someone made a die-cast Legend I’d have a tough time not grabbing it. Happy Friday to you – hope you’ve got some fun weekend plans in store!

  2. Awww….. ZNP! I am ready to go again and again! There is no finer scenery in the world. Soon you’ll have many new sites and facts to post here in your blog. A spectacular summer awaits The Legend and ILX!

    • Oh yes, many more adventures await us. Glad you will be a part of some of them over the next couple of months. Zion is my fave. How many of Utah’s 5 national parks have you been to?

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