Zion Waterfalls

I went to Zion today to take care of some business, and it was raining like crazy! After I got everything done, i drove up to the Temple of Sinawava to check out the waterfalls. I saw waterfalls where I haven’t seen them for a very long time, and others that I’ve not seen before. At one point, the water was just pouring over the side of the cliffs. Enjoy!

Employee Falls

Refrigerator Canyon (Angel’s Landing on right)

Above Weeping Rock

From Hidden Canyon I have not seen this waterfall at the Temple of Sinewava like this in a very long time.


Teton Dam Disaster

IMG_6444 copyLast weekend, I went to Teton Idaho for the funeral of my uncle.  It was good to see family that I haven’t seen for a very long time.  

While there, I took a side trip to the site of the Teton Dam Disaster.  

I remember vaguely from my youth watching this event unfold on TV and seeing the devastation it caused.  Well, I did a little research into this incident and found some very interesting information.

It turns out that the Bureau of Reclamation was in charge of building the dam.  Construction began in 1975 to build an earthen dam, and it was completed in November 1976.  During construction, many caves and holes were discovered in the strata surrounding the dam site, which was primarily basalt and rhyolite.  The solution was to fill these holes with grout and move on with the project. 

After the dam was completed, at a cost of roughly $34 million dollars, filling began at the standard rate of a foot a day.  Soon after, the winter run-offs began so the filling increased to four feet per day.  It took until June 4th, 1976, to fill the dam. 

The morning of June 5, 1976 at approximately 7:00am, a new spring was discovered not far downstream from the dam.  Not long after, water was seen coming out of the left side of the dam.  A construction worker in a DC-5 excavator was pushing dirt over the hole, but soon it was too much for it to handle.  By 11:00am, the order was given to evacuate all residents downstream in the nearby towns of Sugar City, Teton, Rexburg, and many others. 

Approximately 2,000,000,000 cubic feet of water was flowing out of the dam that was 240 feet deep and several miles long.  This destroyed the ecosystems in the Teton River valley, thousands of homes and farms, and killed 14 people and many more injured.

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The remains of the dam.  The point in the middle is the only part of the dam intact.  The breach is on the left where all the water came out.  On the right was additional flooding.

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This is the Teton River Valley.  In the distance is the flood plain where all the damage to the towns occurred.  The flood was stopped at the American Falls Reservoir, which barely survived breaching itself.

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This is the spillway that was never used.  It turns out the dam burst the first day the dam was filled.

Zion Floods!

All week long, the National Weather Service has been predicting a major storm for Southern Utah.  Well, this storm finally arrived!  And one daddy of a storm it is!  Check out the radar image as of 9:00pm MST!  (Courtesy of WeatherBug)


Anyway, it’s usual to go into Springdale to get hiking food for days off, and needless to say, it was raining the entire time. (It’s going to rain for sometime, actually.)  On the way back, we were stopped at Canyon Junction by a Park Ranger that told us the road was closed because of flash flooding across the road.  So we had to pull up and wait for some time to get the all clear.  While parked, we decided to go look at the river.  Well, if you’ve never seen a flash flood, here you go:


This was awesome!  However, as rivers do, they tend to increase in size, especially when countless waterfalls are pouring into the river.  The image above?  that was the beginning!  About 10 to 15 minutes later, we decided to go back to the river, and guess what?

CRW_1251That’s right!  The river flow increased dramatically!  At least 10 fold!  It was a sight to behold!  Standing there on the river’s edge watching trees (and possibly boulders) flow down the river.  I was enjoying the view, when I turned around and saw this:

CRW_1257This changed my attitude very quickly of WOW! to UH OH!  Maybe this isn’t such a good idea to be standing here.  I looked closer to the trees where I was standing and…..

CRW_1258… sure enough, the river was rising!

CRW_1262Time to get to high ground!  As the National Weather Service always says, “Turn around, don’t drown.”  So we high tailed it out of there.

By this time, we had yet to hear from the Park Ranger, so we decided it was time to go up the road and try to get home to Zion Lodge.  A short time later, we were stopped again by a shuttle in the road.  I decided to take advantage of the situation and get more photos of the river and waterfalls.

CRW_1265This was at the curve which was flooded out in 1995 by a flood, below the Sentinel.  These trees are about 8 to 10 feet tall, or were that tall.

Here’s a cool look at the Sentinel:

CRW_1274The mountain in front is the infamous Sentinel Slide that created a lake in Zion Canyon about 10,000 years ago or so.

Here are some cool waterfalls coming off the Twins.  The water of course is what’s flooding the road.


After much tribulation and driving through mud and debris, we made it back to the lodge.  It’s always a treat to see Employee Falls flowing.  However, it’s unusual to see three waterfalls at the same time.  It’s either only one or two.  It’s also unusual to see clouds below the rim like this, so, enjoy!


Hope you enjoyed the adventure as much as I did.  You of course stayed dry the entire time.  By the time I got home, I was soaked to the bone from the rain.



This past weekend was absolutely crazy!  The hardest part was saying goodbye to a friend who lost his life in a bad fall from a cliff.  His memory will live on in us who knew him.  He will be greatly missed.

Then on Saturday last, I was having dinner with some friends in Springdale, Utah at the Pizza Noodle.  Just as we left the restaurant, it started to rain.  I looked over at the cliffs of Zion, and it was raining so hard, I couldn’t see the cliffs (only a half mile away).  I then got in my car to drive away, when I noticed several people gathered on the sidewalk looking to the east, and I’m thinking: “What are they looking at?”  Then I saw it!  I had to get some pictures of this, because I haven’t seen one in a LONG time!  Well, you’re probably wondering what I’m referring to.  Well, take a look!


Do you see it?  No?  Well, take a look at this one:


See it yet?  Of course you do!  Try this one?


Aren’t these amazing?  It’s not very often you see a rainbow over the Watchman Mountain, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rainbow over this mountain like this.  I had to stop taking pictures because the rain started to really come down.  I decided it was time to get for the canyon to see if I could find any waterfalls.  Boy, did I ever!  Not only was there waterfalls from the cliffs, but there were waterfalls across the road!  I think they are called flash floods!  Take a look:


I came around the corner and saw this coming towards me.  Here’s a closeup:

CRW_0908Not a pretty sight, especially if you have to go through it!  Technically, you’re not supposed to drive through a flash flood, but . . .

CRW_0912I must confess, I also drove through the flash flood.  There were tree limbs and debris of all sorts in the road and it was kind of scary to drive through!  I only did it to get home!  (I know, excuses sometimes justify stupidity.)  But I had to see the waterfalls! Like this one off the Twin Brothers right above the flooded road:

CRW_0911All this water was coming down to the road.  Crazy, huh?!

I also had to see Employee Falls flowing!  When it really comes down, watch out!

CRW_0924This is right behind the area where I live.  It’s been a little over a year since I’ve seen a waterfall come down this canyon.  When it does, it’s quite impressive!  Here’s a closeup of the waterfall:


I hope you enjoy these images as much as i had fun taking them!

Remember, life is precious and every day is a gift, that’s why it’s called the Present!


Wild Weekly’s Photo Contest: Clouds

I’m participating in the online adventure travel and outdoor photography magazine Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggersThis week’s Challenge is: Clouds!

Do you remember as a kid looking at clouds to imagine the shapes and objects you could find there?

Here is a dragon!CRW_0034

Clouds also means lighting storms.


You normally see clouds in the sky, but sometimes clouds do strange things. For example, have you ever seen clouds below the rim of the Grand Canyon? At sunset, during the winter? Doesn’t happen very often.


Sometimes storms can build very quickly, especially here in the desert. Here is West Temple in Zion National Park.


Now, here is the same mountain ten minutes later:

A couple of minutes later it gets even thicker:


Within ten to fifteen minutes, it looks like this:


Finally it cleared up about twenty minutes later.


Looking at this storm was an awesome experience, since it has been a long time since I’ve seen a storm like this. What I found out later is that the town of Virgin, Utah was flooded out and some friends lost their homes from this flood.