Leaving the deserts of Las Vegas, after never stepping foot in even one casino for the first time in 30 years, we began working our way up to the most splendid scenic views in the country. Leading my list of most awesome are Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.
Along the way, signs warning us of falling rock. Gigantic boulders perched precariously at the edge of plateaus on the brink of tumbling down mountains with the slightest encouragement from melting snows or a good old gulley washer.
Kanab, known as the Greatest Earth on Show has a majestic 360 degree view like no other. Our home for the next 10 days is one of two sites available on Best Friends Animal Sanctuary grounds. Their sites include level cement RV pads, each with full hook-ups, incredible views of the sandstone canyon, picnic table on brick patio and are located just up the road from where we volunteer. If you look real close, you can see the square back of LilyPad’s hinny in the narrow dark green strip of spruce trees.
We passed on the tour this year but all newbie’s should invest in the hour van ride around the Sanctuary. You will be amazed at the reach this Sanctuary has on our country’s rescue organizations and homeless animals. The tour is a great first step in learning what is being done to “save them all”. An enticing benefit for volunteers is Angel Canyon café with its $5.00 all-you-care-to-eat vegan lunch and an awe inspiring view to enjoy while chatting with staff and other volunteers.
On our first evening, we drove up to the plateau to catch the sunset.
This year we planned to be with the piggy’s in the morning and dogs in the afternoon. Volunteering between Old Friends, senior dogs and their quirky personalities and Marshall’s Piggy Paradise, full up with recently rescued piglets from a closed down local breeder and Dog Town where John walks dogs and scoops poop.
John and I love volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. They provide homes to approximately 1,700 animals including puppies, dogs, elder dogs, kitties, cats, piggy’s, goats, sheep, horses, parrots and other birds, rabbits and small rodents, and small specialty animals. No matter what you love to hug, you will find it waiting here just for you to love on!
The Sanctuary also has a memorial grounds where you can bring your pets remains to be buried in Angel Canyon. It’s a beautiful peaceful spot with dozens of benches to stop and reflect while gazing out over the sandstone canyon. Wind chimes are scattered throughout the grounds and with the sound and the view, they create a comforting atmosphere.
First day we registered, watched the required movie then drove to the piggy’s. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to interact with them all! We prepared the food and fed the elder pigs first. Very grumpy until they got their food, becoming distant afterwards and wanting to plop down and rest immediately after pigging down breakfast. Prepared food for the general population next. Sizes ranging from 300 pound PJ, who required a guard so the other piggy’s didn’t take his food, down to the 100 pound recently rescued piglets.
We stood outside and dropped the food into dozens of trays while they all stampeded from one tray to the next.
Last came breakfast for Nick and Holly, two wild boar mixes. They were fed by the horse caregiver, also named Holly, and she stands about 5’6” tall which gives you an idea of their size.
They had just broken their care giver’s leg, getting in an unexpected bite after being frightened, so no one was allowed into their feed and play area. Both seemed friendly enough while we were on opposite sides of the enclosure. After chow down, they wandered to the fence and grunted at us but they were not domesticated and wild boars are normally not approachable so we kept clear of both the piggy’s and their electrified fence.
After washing dishes it was piggy loving time. Pigtoid: Petting piggy bristle massages your palms and is calming to humans and pigs. Sat on the ground, snouts checking us out between playing tug-o-war games with the heavy duty feed bags and head butting each other.
The mini-piglets weren’t interested in socializing with us humans but did pause long enough for a quick pat. The older pigs walked cautiously up, snout running along the pant legs of our jeans then immediately plopped over on their side as soon as you began belly rubbing.
The prize pig of the group was a handsome boy named Rupert. Favorite of the head honcho, he was allowed to roam around greeting volunteers as was his buddy Jack. Rupert’s talented nose is the hit of fund raisers, offering his “face paintings” for sale each year.
A smarty pants as well, he was taught to sit, which is not a natural stance for pigs.
Our afternoon was spent at Old Friends walking dogs but the constant dust clouds from cars zooming down the dirt road next to the kennels wiped out my lungs and I had to withdraw from the next two days of volunteering. Stayed indoors, on meds, gazing out at the canyon and relaxing.
Grocery shopping in Kanab is slim pickens with only two choices but we love Honey’s with their funny talking truck outside the front door and the interesting people we run into in the store. This year we parked next to a parrot waiting patiently on a steering wheel for it’s person.
Kanab is an old Western movie making town and most of the sightseeing happened for us last year. The former history of filming Westerns is kept alive by the citizens with several great museums, diners like the Rocking V that serves authentic Southwestern foods with exciting twists, the Parry Hotel standing in much the same condition as it did in the 30’s with dozens of Western stars and their autographs covering the walls and a renovated 30’s structure that houses the Herb Basket, a health products store, Jake’s Chaparral Restaurant and an event hall. Jake’s makes the first fried avocado strips with Ranch dipping sauce that we had ever tasted. Excellent appetizer.
Some of Kanab’s citizens lived in fabulous Victorian homes that eventually began to deteriorate. In 1974 Dr. George R. Aiken was instrumental in gathered townspeople together to restore the Heritage House. Build in 1894 for Henry Eyring Bowman by master builder John Rider, this property was returned to its original splendor and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The carved wooden details on this Victorian home are amazing.
Wednesday, John joined me for a day off from volunteering. Being less than a two hour drive to both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, we chose Zion as our first day trip and begun our journey on a magnificent clear cool morning.
The drive into Zion takes you through the plateaus up the mountain, into a tunnel that runs through the mountain and down to the valley below. That cutout in the mountain above the tree line is one of the air inlets for the tunnel.
Along the winding road that hair pinned down into the valley were the sandstone mountains with burnt umber and chocolate dripping down their sides.
One of the popular stops before reaching the entrance to the park is the Checkerboard Rocks.
After reaching the Visitor Center, the gratis shuttle takes hikers back into the park along the road that is not open to public cars and drops them off at which ever trail they chose. There are dozens of varying lengths and difficulties but we chose The Narrows which is the furthest into the park. Along the way, we passed the mountains known as the Three Profits.
When we reached the Narrows, most of the visitors departed and meandered around the Virgin River before beginning the hike.
Our hike was paved with easy rises and people of all ages were our hiking partners. Deer milled around on the other side of the river, KatieBug backed away from an aggressive squirrel and when the trail led across the water, we declined to follow.
On our way back to the visitor center, our shuttle guide pointed out a few rock climbers. I zoomed in on them so you can see how gigantic these mountain faces are in relation to the miniscule climbers One of the bus riders jokingly named them, “dope on a rope”.
Early morning and early evening brings out the wildlife. As we drove through the valley on our way back up the mountain, a herd of Big Horned Sheep paused to dine.
Sunset closed out the day on our way back to LilyPad after a relaxing day of sightseeing and hiking.
Thursday morning I gave volunteering another try with the piggy’s and goats but the dust prevailed once again so we cancelled Friday and added another day of recuperation.