Zion National Park, Utah – Arminius and the tunnel measures

It is an exciting moment: Do the rangers let us pass through the tunnel or will we need an escort? After saying goodbye to Jaye we proceed to the south entrance of Zion National Park to leave it on hwy # 9 east. There are two tunnels in-between, the first one a kilometre long and somewhat narrow and low; the second one is shorter but larger. No commercial trucks are allowed to pass the park on hwy # 9, and vehicles wider than 7 ft 10 in / 2.4 m or 11 ft 4 in / 3.4 m can only pass between 8 am and 8 pm in a convoy in one-way traffic for a fee of 15 $ (valid for return within seven days). That can lead to waiting time in summer.

The ranger at the park entrance measures Arminius three, four times. He doesn’t believe it. The truck looks so big and still seems to fit through the tunnel. The ranger is very meticulous, but on the other hand really endeavours to let us pass without paying a fee. The height isn’t any problem, and the ranger advices us to fold up the side mirrors and to fix the position lights that have a rubber mounting with tape. Right before the tunnel there is a check point where rangers stop the traffic to let the bigger vehicle pass in one-way traffic. They recommend staying closer to the centre line than to the wall. A glance out of the window shows that this isn’t actually necessary. There’s more than a foot space between our cabin’s top edge and the tunnel curve.

Before returning to Kanab we take a short excursion from hwy # 89 to Coral Pink Sand Dunes. The state park is an Eldorado for off-road fans. But the trip is worth some photos and a walk as well. Red sandstone to be found everywhere in the area that’s eroded accumulated exactly here thanks to special geologic and wind constellations. The piled up dunes have a coral pink colour and offer selected plants and animals a home, among them the endemic insect with the pretty name coral pink tiger beetle.

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