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When I was a kid, I would get so excited about going out of town that I would pack my bag weeks in advance. As I grow up, weeks dwindled into days, with more thought being put into what I should and shouldn’t bring. This is especially true when coming to visit Zion National Park and Bumbleberry Inn.

Of course, that never really stopped me from over-packing. All the what-if question runs through my head, prompting me to bring one more extra shirt, and extra pair of jeans and maybe a couple more underwear. My toiletry bag takes up as much space as my pair of trainers. And don’t get me started on my little plastic containers.

Travel Kit
Photo Credit: Richard Moross

It amuses me when they show people on TV just throwing their closet into their luggage and sitting on it, in a vain attempt to zip it close. Though I find it silly and impractical to just throw your clothes into your luggage, deep down I realize it hits a nerve. They’re over-packing, and so do I. What makes it worse in over-packing is that I sometimes don’t have enough room for the things I should be taking along, and end up with things I never get to use.

And so I’ll share with you some tips that I found useful when packing for a trip:

Roll, not fold. This advice is pretty much a staple in every article about packing. It really is effective in decreasing creases in your clothes. Also, it leaves you with more space for all your clothes (a double-edged sword, actually, since more space tempts you to fill in said space).

Don’t pack new things. Whether it’s a year-long trip or a weekend getaway (or an overnight field trip), there’s always an urge to buy new things that we believe would make this trip better. Like a new pair of hiking shoes for when you go trekking, a pair of goggles for swimming, or those top of the line travel pants the every travel article said you absolutely must have. There’s nothing wrong with buying those things, but if you plan on taking those with you, make sure to break them in before putting it inside your luggage. There’s nothing worse than wearing uncomfortable clothes and shoes while traveling.

Make a packing list. Whenever you go shopping, it’s essential to make a shopping list so you’d know what to buy, and not end up buying the same things that are already in your pantry and neglecting to buy what you really need. It’s the same with packing. You need to come up with a list of the things you need to bring. Once you’ve drawn up your packing list, check each item if you really need to bring it along. Last year, before I went on my Zion National Park trip, I came up with my own packing list. I used this to check and double check the contents of my backpack before I left. When I got back, I reviewed each item, and made a note on how often I used it, if I used it at all. It’s enlightening to see how much stuff I could’ve done without. The great thing about making your own packing list is that it is tailored to your needs and preferences. In evaluating each item after a trip, you get ideas on how to make your list better.

Put your “must haves” in your carry-on. Except if it’s liquid and more than 100ml. We’ve all heard of horror stories of missing luggage. I’ve never had the misfortune to experience that but I always try to prepare myself for the worst. I make sure my travel insurance covers lost luggage. Also, I make sure I only put the stuff I wouldn’t mind losing in my check-in luggage. Of course I don’t want to lose anything, but taking a proactive step in avoiding a major loss is necessary.

Often the hikes of Zion get all the attention, primarily due to their ease of access, you don’t need any real special skills or equipment to go hiking. But there are some amazing canyons in Zion that are accessed only by rappelling, and one of our favorite is Pine Creek.

In comparison this is a fairly easy canyon, but it offers some great rappels down some amazing canyons. It does have some swimming parts though (usually) so be prepared to get wet. Pine Creek is a fantastic canyon to do in Zion, so if you get the chance to do it, make certain you take it.

There is nothing better than going for a camping or hiking outside with a blue sky and the sun shining very brightly at you, especially in a place like Zion National Park. However, in some instances, the weather may sometimes be unpleasant and force us to change our schedule or hiking location. Or worse, the weather may change into a bad situation while you are already on the trail or in the camp site. In this article, we will teach you some tips that you can use in order to be safe while being troubled by a storm on your hiking or camping trip, and more importantly, we will teach you how to determine whether a storm will be coming on your way. Hopefully if you’re ever hiking in Zion and encounter some of these things you’ll be better equipped as to know what to do.


Photo Credit: Michael Carlson

How to Predict a storm in Zion and Elsewhere:

If you are a camper or engaged in any outdoor activity, you should take time to consider the weather that you may encounter. Before the day of your planned camping, make sure that you observe the sky. See if the sky is darkening or if there are flashes of lights or if the wind is unusually strong. Also, listen for any rumbles in the sky. If you can hear rumbles in the sky, that only means that you are close enough to the storm and that there is a chance that you can be struck by lightning. In that case, quickly go to a safe place where you will be protected.

There is actually a simple criterion on how you can estimate the distance of the lightning: a light travels at a speed of 300,000 km/s while the sound travels at 330 meters per second. In short, to measure the distance, count the seconds of intervals between the flash and the thunder and multiply it by 330. For example, there is a three (3) second interval between the lightning and the thunder then, 3 sec x 330 meters/sec = 990 meters.

If you are determined to reach the top of the mountain or to finish a route then you should take note of the following:

  •  Be aware of the weather forecast in your place and in your destination especially in the mountains and forests where storms can be very dangerous.
  • Sometimes people can, without them being aware of it, sense danger through their bodies. Sometimes we feel a strange tingling under our skin, or sometimes our hair stands when we get in contact with metal objects which end up in a buzz and give us a little shock. This happens because we are moving in an area with a high static energy brought by the storm. In this situation we are conductive. This is why sometimes when two campers are close to each other and they touch each other they get a shock.

What to do During a Zion Canyon Storm:

  • Keep your cool and analyze your situation. Move rationally.
  • Stay away from high places and go to low areas which are not prone to flooding.
  • Never run during the storm especially when your clothes are wet. This is very dangerous as you can attract lightning.
  • Gather all materials made of metal (ice axes, trekking pole, frame backpacks, rods, sticks, pans, grills, fishing rods, etc.) and place them 30 meters away from you. Allow them to attract the lightning.
  • Never hide under a tree or a rock which is standing alone. A tree which stands alone with no other trees nearby can easily attract a lightning. However, a forest or any group of trees can be used as a shelter during a storm.
  • Keep a distance from metallic objects and other electrical facilities like fences, barbed wires, pipes, telephone wire, railroad, bicycle and other machineries. Being close with these objects is dangerous even when not into direct contact because these can have shock waves created by thunder heats in the air which can be a cause of lung diseases.
  • Keep away from an open and plain area. Standing alone in the middle of an open field can make you a lightning rod because you are probably the tallest object in that area.
  • Stay away from wetlands or puddles. Quickly move to another place if you found yourself near a river, a lake or the sea as the water in these areas can quickly rise.
  • Don’t hide in small shelters such as barns, shacks, and tents. They are not safe.
  • Turn off cellphones, tablets or other electronic gadgets as electromagnetic radiation may attract lightning.
  • The best place to hide under a storm is inside a car. However, inside, you must turn off your engine and lower your radio antenna. You should also close the windows. Even if your car gets struck by a lightning, you will still be perfectly safe inside.
  • Be a small target by being in a squatting position. Your hands should be around your knees and your head between it. Try to be as small a target as possible.
  • Do not walk barefoot.

The Subway hike in Zion National Park is one of our favorite hikes (we may say that a lot, but we really really like this one too). It is not for those unprepared (you need a permit too) as it is a quite grueling hike. The beauty offered is very close next to none.

From the descent, to the slot canyon, to the cascading waterfalls, to the pot holes, it’s just a beautiful hike and canyon.

I had the chance to go mountain biking in Zion National Park the other day and didn’t realize how much fun I was in for.

I began my journey just outside of the park in Springdale where they have a new bike lane on the side of the road. I rode past many of the restaurants and bed and breakfasts that are along the road in Springdale including Bumbleberry, and then got on the Pa’rus trail.

biking in zion

The Pa’rus Biking Trail in Zion

The Pa’rus trail begins right past the pay station in Zion and weaves its way up through the campgrounds. It also follows the Virgin River for the majority of the way. In fact there are a handful of bridges that take you to the other side of the river several times, which only add to the beauty of the trail.

If you have time you’re going to want to stop and go down to the river, as it offers some great places to go swimming and playing in the water. Some places along the river are as picturesque as you can find anywhere in Zion.

If you continue on the trail you’ll soon reach (after crossing several bridges) the end of the Pa’rus trail, and there you have to make a choice, continue heading up towards the Narrows, or head up towards the tunnels. I chose to head towards the Narrows.

virgin river

I debated hitching a ride with one of the buses that go that way but decided against it, and I have to admit that was a wise decision. Because you see going up and coming down gives you two different angles of the canyon, it gives you two canyons of sorts. As well since I rode my bike up I also found an offshoot waterfall with a little deck on it that I would have not noticed had I taken the easy way up.

Soon I found myself nearing the lodge and the trees grew taller and provided a lot of shade, which made for just a cozy feeling as I rode. I continued up and kept finding myself straining my neck to look up at the canyon walls that were before (and above) me.

I reached the top (the Narrows trail head) drank some Gatorade and then began the most fun part of the trip, the ride down! It was so much fun flying down those Zion Canyon roads with only the occasional bus to distract me from the road. It really was a different canyon than the one I’d seen riding up.

All in all it was a great trip and one you should take if you get the chance. As the sun was beginning to finalize its retreat I was back on the Pa’rus trail, and found that the fading light made the trail a pleasant and beautiful end to a great day.

bike trails in zion

With springtime comes the new batch of chickens. We have quite the assortment we are raising this year. We have Rhode Island reds to Polish hens. Hopefully we can keep the raccoons out this year. We will be picking up new ducklings this year to replace the old ducks that retired last year. We hope you will stop by and see this chicks and ducklings as they grow. New life on the farm is pretty awesome to watch. Only problem is like all new things they grow up way too fast.

It is almost here again. Time to meet in the back lawn at Bumbleberry and search for those “elusive” Easter eggs. The fun begins at 9:30 am in Saturday April 19th. Everyone is invited to come join in the fun. Make sure you BYOB (that means bring your own basket). Oh and don’t forget the camera! You’ll want to take pictures of the hunters.

Zion’s seasonal shuttle stops right in front of our property

With Labor Day weekend over Zion National Park enters its next season.  The weather is cooling but yet still warm enough to be comfortable.  Kids are back in school and the trails are perfect for the seasoned hikers or those who want a quiet getaway.  September is a busy time of the year in Springdale so it is always best to call ahead and book your reservations.  Repairs and upgrades are being made on Angels Landing trail to make it an even better experience.  This the perfect time of the year to do my favorite trail, East Rim Trail to Observation Point.  It is a bit of a climb but you don’t have to rush the hike and the vistas from the top on the mountains is more than worth the effort to get there.  There are portable potties up top for your comfort.  Make sure you bring a camera, one that can do panoramic photos would be even better.  Make sure you have your Bumbleberry Pie during your adventures here in Springdale and Zion National Park.

Another “Free Park Day” has come and gone – don’t miss the last 2 of the year!  September 25th and November 11th the park entrance fee is waved which makes it the perfect time to visit Zion.  Get reservations now before they fill up!

I don’t know what it is about July.  As business owners we all talk and it isn’t just here in Springdale.  Seems July is a slow month for visitation to the national parks.  I guess that is a good thing for a visitor because you have all the amenities of a busy season without the crowd of people.  Some say that July is too hot and that is the reason.  July isn’t the hottest month so I don’t really know if that is the real reason.  The reason isn’t important though.  What is important is you can enjoy Zion National Park without a crowd.  You can get into restaurants and gift shops without waiting.  Basically you can enjoy the wonders without the hassles.  With the steep cliffs of Zion you can even do the hikes that are shady all day long and not be in the sun.  Those hikes that are more exposed to the open can be done early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.  As always there are the refreshing swimming pools.  Here is another wonderment I have had.  Why would you go into  a hot tub that is 100+ degrees when the outside temperature is 100?  Isn’t the idea of water to cool you down?  What are your thoughts on the reason July is a slow month?  If you have thoughts on either of these questions I would love to hear from you.