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07/18/2007 Hop Valley Trail
Before hiking this trail, on the drive to the trailhead, I saw smoke on the horizon. It looked to be far enough away that it was not a concern. This trail is very easy going for the first two miles before it actually drops down into Hop Valley itself at which point it becomes steeper and knowing that you have to climb back out makes forward progress less and less desirable. I did get into the narrow valley where the trail levels out again. I met individual and small groups of cattle on the range lands I crossed. They were no problem whatsoever. The trail connects to the LaVerkin Trail which I walked from the Kolob Canyons via the Timber Creek Trail. There is a section in the middle that I have not seen and probably never will. When I got back to the car I noticed a large smoke plum so I drove up to a vantage point some miles away and saw that there were three individual fires burning in another part of Zion National Park. I included photos of the fires and some of the smoky scenes I saw on the way back out of this section of the park.