Denise Goldberg's blog

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Zion curiosities

Zion National Park, hiking, looking, red rocks, wildlife, a feast for the eyes, beauty...

Beyond the natural appeal, there were some man-made features that raised my curiosity - especially Walter's Wiggles, and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Road tunnel. I went looking for information, and found the answers on the Park Service's web site.

From the National Park Service (Zion website) frequently asked questions:

About Zion's hiking trails:
Q. How did they get the concrete on the trails?
A. The East and West Rim Trails were constructed by the NPS in the early 1920s. The trails were paved with gallons of oil (East Rim = 760 gal., West Rim = 1240 gal.) mixed with natural sand and rock chips available along the trail. The oil, tools, other materials and equipment were hauled onto the various sites by packhorse.

In 1985 extensive repair was done on the West Rim Trail from 4900 ft. through Refrigerator Canyon to the top of Angel's Landing. The concrete for this job was hauled in by maintenance and mules from the Grotto. Walters Wiggles was resurfaced with 88 cubic yards of concrete, and the concrete for this job was hauled onto the site by helicopter. This took 258 flights. WHEW!

About the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel
Q. How long is the tunnel?
A. 1.1-miles. It was completed in 1930 by the Nevada Construction Co. The project took 3-years to complete and cost $1,896,000.
Ah, answers! My curiosity is satisfied for now...

The entrance to the tunnel, looking down from high above the eastern end. I wish I could have walked through this tunnel to spend some time staring through the windows cut in the wall. No pedestrians (or bikes) allowed; it's just too narrow.

A view of Walter's Wiggles from the top, hikers waltzing down much more quickly than their upwards jaunt.