Linnie Aikens Arts and Letters • HeART Haven Studios

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Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel out of Zion National Park near Mt. Carmel Junction, Utah

I awoke a little tender from too much time in the sun, and truth be told, my hips and knees needed a little break!  It’s so humbling to grow older!  18 year olds were SKIPPING down that steep incline yesterday....skipping, I tell you!  All that to say, I decided this was the best day to take a day trip to Bryce Canyon to see the hoo doos.  (That song with the line, “hoo doo you think you’re foolin’?” has been rerunning through my mind unbidden today!!)


Going Northeast out of Zion Canyon is much like Walter’s Wiggles for vehicles, the same red rock low wall at the cliff’s edge of the steep switchbacks.  Eventually I arrived at the 1.1 mile long Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel that runs right through the solid rock.  It is the longest tunnel of its kind in the USA.  There are several air ducts or “galleries” (see half-circle hole in middle of cliff below) which were created to let light in, air and fumes out, as well as an opening for the construction crews to dispose of rock as they were adrillin’ and ablastin’ back in 1927 to 1930.  The tunnel opened on July 4th, 1930.



Below are some shots of the galleries taken inside the tunnel (and no, Dad, I didn’t stop in the middle of the tunnel, but no one was behind me, so I went very very slow!)  I love the bigger photo below, which I had no idea would even come out since I wasn’t even looking through the camera.  Notice the striations in the rock above and around.  This isn’t one of your regular concrete encased tunnels!




Some views of the countryside on the other side of the tunnel.... Checkerboard Mountain and other beautiful rock formations.

I have to tell you...I have a certain love affair with these old gnarled pines and slickrock--love at first sight 11 years ago in Moab on my Mountain Bike.  Isn’t it just beautiful!  All those layers and sculptural qualities!  It’s like a hands-on topographical map. These little rock formations on the slickrock make me think of little groundhog popping their heads up!



Now for the Duct Tape part of the story....


I’m driving slowly, enjoying the scenery, no rush, when I see two old Chevys pulled off to the side of the road, with their winged hoods up.  Oh dear, way up here and cars like that broken down?  Yikes!  I don’t know what I was thinking, stopping to help?!  Like I knew anything about cars!!!  (I didn’t even know they were Chevys, much less a 1920 and 1928 Chevy!!)  I could at least offer them something to drink as I had my ice chest with me, right?  As I get out and stretch my legs, I see the gray haired gentlemen stooped over the engine of the 1920 convertible, shaking their heads.  “What we need here is some duct tape and a pop can, and I can maybe jimmy this up.”  They head back to and rummage through the “trunk” of the 1928 Chevy, a little metal box sitting behind the car.  More head shaking.  No duct tape.  No pop can. 


More cars stopped to help and their male drivers came over to help.  More head shaking.  No duct tape.  No pop can. 


I frown to myself a moment...hmmm...I wonder....  I rummage around my 1999 Toyota 4-Runner.  My friends laugh at me that I have this big plastic tub in the back with “Truck Essentials, labeled on the outside with each of its contents).  AHA!!  Duct tape.  I grab a 4 oz Trader Joes version of V-8, gulp it down and rinse it out with melted ice from the chest, then make my way over to the Chevy owners.  “Ummmm, did you say duct tape and a pop can?”  They looked up in surprise and big grins.    “Well, waadayer know!!  Mighty grateful young lady!”  I provided my swiss army knife, which I’d grabbed off my daypack as an after thought.  



Don’t ask me what they were fixing, but they fixed it!  Soon we were all on our way, and I was feeling pretty dang cool!  Who would’ve thought?!  Maybe I was no McGiver, but I certainly was Mary Poppins with a bag filled with everything but the kitchen sink!  Candidly, I was even pleased with being called a young lady!!



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