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September 18, 2014

The Emerald Pools

A lazy start to what should have been a moderate hike to the 3 Emerald Pools near Zion Lodge.  Took the time to follow the Archaeology Trail to a viewpoint above the campgrounds then on the shuttle.
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The trail to the 1st pool is paved and shaded an easy 1 mile stroll, with views of the cottonwood groves in the valley. The algae in the pools give them a green color.  Last time here in the pouring rain the pool was very green.  Need a bit of imagination now.  This pool is fed by a waterfall from the middle pool.
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Another quarter mile and 100’ up the stairs carved into the sandstone is the middle pool.  Fed by the runoff from the top pool it sits right on the cliff edge creating the waterfall.
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Another mile and many more steps carved into the sandstone finally arrive at the last pool.  A pleasant oasis in the shade after a hot climb up.  This pool is fed from the ground waters released by the different densities of the rock layers.  A hanging garden clings to the rock walls where water is available.
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Go back the same way? or extend the hike an additional 1.5 miles to include The Grotto?  Silly of course The Grotto!  Great views of the Virgin River below, but no shade and 100*+ with no breeze.  Altho not fatal, a poor choice!  HOT!  I used the last of my water to pour over my head, trying to control my body temperature.
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Despite all the beauty around the footbridge making The Grotto was a fabulous sight!  The Grotto has a shuttle stop with the Lodge the next stop only a half-mile away.  Still took the shuttle!
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Starting home tomorrow.
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