June 1, 2020
Out of bed, get some coffee from our favorite coffee place in Kanab, Jakey Leigh’s Coffee Shop and Bakery. Ready to get out on the road and head to Zion National Park via the Mount Carmel Junction traveling east to west. The toll booth has no workers since Zion is technically closed but roads are open. It is always disappointing when I don’t get to use my lifetime senior parks pass. I like to show it off but not today as entrance is free no matter where you enter. This route is quite impressive and beautiful. Traffic isn’t too bad and our trip into Springdale only takes a little over an hour. As we approach the road to Angel’s Landing, cars are parked everywhere due to closures. The visitor parking lots are, for the most part, vacant. The COVID 19 closures in someways has been helpful for us. Most trails are closed but you could do the Narrows with a guide. No buses are running due to social distancing requirements. What a difference then last summer.
The Watchman Trail from the Visitor’s Center is open and off we go. This trail is heavy trafficked but still less traffic then a normal summer day. Fairly strenuous with a healthy elevation gain of 650 feet over the 1.5 miles (3 mile RT) to the end of the trail. We have gotten a late start and it is hot. The views are magnificent and it is fairly easy to be social distanced the further we go since most people are done for the day due to the heat.
I’m less spry to day after the hiking workouts from yesterday so our time is about 1:20. We took our time enjoying the scenery. This trail is overlooked by the adventurers but I liked it. You are over Springdale and have great views out towards the Angel’s Landing areas. There is little shade so sunscreen is essential. Once again we see some that have no water, hiking in their flip flops. It is always amazes me that many do not understand the rigors of hiking in the heat and footwear is often overlooked.
The end of the hike leads us back into the parking lot out the entrance and into one of my favorite breweries, Zion Brewery. Probably one of the most scenic locations for a brewery in the US. We split the Elevated Elk Burger and some fries. Good stuff. If it had been dinner time, there is no doubt I would have eaten the Buffalo Meatloaf that I enjoyed last summer on several occasions. No lunch would be complete with out us having a brew. Their Juicy, a New England Style Hazy IPA, is delicious. We were social distanced on the patio.
Next stop is St. George. The road to St. George from Springdale is very scenic and you travel through Hurricane, a nice small town. Many scenic places on the road so our travel is enjoyable. Once arriving in St. George, we check into the Hilton Garden Inn, shower up, and head to St. George’s first brewery, Silver Reef Brewing Company. They are located in a warehouse area and unbeknownst to us, they didn’t have a tap room and only sell beer by the can. The owner was there, so we got an impromptu tour of the facility and all the plans he had to turn it into a full service brewery and tap room with a restaurant. COVID 19 had done a number on his business since many of his kegs get delivered to Las Vegas casinos. Very interesting gentleman and we were happy to enjoy his stories and some of his rootbeer that they brew as well. They also do wine and liquor. He was proud of being the only place in Utah that has a winery, distillery, and a brewery. He gave us some suggestions on St. George, we bought a variety six pack and back to the hotel.
We take a Lyft from the hotel to Historic Downtown St. George. Very well kept, and we arrive and get dropped off in front of a protest that has probably 40 individuals with signs of all types referencing Black Lives Matter. They were very peaceful and stayed on the corner in front of a Zion’s Bank.
Our first stop is the Station II Bar, but they weren’t currently serving food so he sends us across the street to George’s Corner Restaurant. He raves about the lamb burger and that sounds right up my alley. They have just opened and seating is limited but we get social distanced seating at the bar and had a great meal and our server/bartender was fantastic. Lots of history in this old building that has maintained its character but renovated to have a good experience. The lamb burger is fantastic. I still have dreams of eating that burger. It really connects with the senses.
Upon finishing our meal, we note that the protestors are no longer around and we head back to the Station II Bar. This is really new and was opened by the Zion Brewery. A former fire station converted into a taproom that has some game room areas and some awesome places to hangout. We decide to sit at the upstairs outdoor patio and sip on a cold one. Great concept and should be a winner once this COVID-19 fades.
It’s after 9:00, and Carolyn believes that we should just walk back to the hotel since it is only 2.3 miles, comfortable outside, and we are in St. George so it should be ok and uneventful. We walk by some old homes on Main St and it’s nice, quiet, and a nice time to reflect on life. We are about halfway into our walk when we cross at a stoplight and as we reach the other corner, a passenger in a pickup truck stick their head out the window and yells, “Dr. Pepper is for pussies, bitch!”
I’m shaking my head thinking did I really hear that? Carolyn is as stunned as me and can only go “oh, I see, it’s the shirt“. Yup, I was wearing my free Dr. Pepper shirt this evening in my casual mode not realizing that it would set some local guy off. Welcome to St. George–not. In some ways it was funny, but it sure was a strange welcome to St. George. I suppose not all people like Dr. Pepper, but I own the shirt because it was free from a promotion. I’ve been socially shamed for being a “pepper”. Continuing on, we were more cautious as we finally arrived at the Garden Inn around 10:00 ready to go to sleep and prepare for another hiking adventure on Tuesday.
So I guess I’m a pepper, are you a pepper too?