Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Winter at Zion Ponderosa

Friday, January 11th, 2013
Zion Winter Vacation Rental Homes

Vacations homes at Zion Ponderosa blanket by snow.

Zion Winter Vacation Rental Homes

It’s mid-January and now is the time to visit  for those who want a serene experience at ZionNational Park.  Zion Ponderosa sits at 6,500 feet and on top of the eastern plateau at Zion National Park.   We get some snow up here around our vacation homes which are open from December through February while the rest of the resort is quiet.

Vacation homes are open year-round and you can bring your own groceries, stay with us, and then venture into the park in a couple of different ways.  Our Zion winter vacation rental homes are large and luxurious cabins in a gated community at Zion Ponderosa.

Zion Park Winter

Zion National Park in Winter – Snow on peaks but clear in the canyon.

1- Walk across the plateau to the rim to gaze down.  You can do this any time of year, but in winter you can often snowshoe or cross country ski to the rim, depending on snow levels.

2- Drive to the east gate of the park (seven miles) and spend time on the east part of the park, or descend into the main canyon (through the tunnel) and enjoy the hikes and scenery at the 4,000 foot level.

Wild Turkeys Zion

Wild Turkeys traverse an open meadow on the plateau above Zion National Park

Wildlife viewing, is particularly good during the winter months at Zion National Park.  Eagles, wild turkeys, deer, bighorn sheep, and other large birds and animals are very prevalent at this time of year.   However you experience Zion National Park, you’ll enjoy winter’s quiet serenity among the Ponderosa pines at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Learn more here

Oasis on the Plateau

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Here east of Zion, we don’t usually see the lush greens that fill the canyon below. Zion Ponderosa is much more of a desert, with shrubby bushes and short trees filling most of the space. But this doesn’t deter our gardener. Zac has taken the responsibility of creating an organic garden here on site to provide herbs, vegetables, flowers, and more to our kitchen staff for cooking and decorating. By the end of the summer, it will form a small oasis here in the desert.

Situated just north of our mini ATV track on a little plot of land, the garden is beginning to look beautiful. It is part of a sustainability project designed by one of the resort’s intern, Thiago. Along with the garden, this new project will include a recycling initiative, Green Team, and more ways to lower the resort’s carbon footprint.

Our Oasis

Zac at our Organic Garden

The garden is still in its early stages because of the late winter we had here on the plateau. Surrounded by a log fence, the garden is divided into several sections. In the little plots, a wide range of produce has been planted. An herb spiral supports golden sage, lemon thyme, cilantro, Italian parsley, and more. Many of these herbs are almost ready to be clipped daily for our kitchen. Nearby is a row of carrots and onions – planted together to reduce pests. Carrot flies don’t like onions and vice-versa. In the next plot are six kinds of tomatoes. “My favorite is Mr. Stripey. It’s one of the heirlooms and it’s really called that,” Zac told me. Seven kinds of peppers also grow here now. Although it will be three years until they produce, we even have asparagus in our garden. Further back are beans, corn, sunflowers, and a wide range of gourds, including pumpkins. Zac has filled an old trash bin with soil to grow potatoes in.

After giving me the tour, Zac explained several of his organic methods of gardening. He was happily surprised to find that the soil here is quite good quality already and that has made this venture much easier. To further enrich the garden he uses natural fertilizers. Using kitchen scraps and horse manure from our horses he makes compost. It’s been breaking down quickly and will be ready for use in the garden in about two weeks. Until then, he is using a basic, all-purpose organic fertilizer from a local store. Some of the top-growth plants are also given blood meal to encourage more growth. The garden is watered using what Zac calls “Rabbit Poop Soup,” a mixture of rabbit poop from our petting zoo, molasses, and water.

The entire garden has been designed to use supplies already here on site. Old straw from the barn and wood chips from our wood pile are being used to hold moisture in the ground and protect produce from sitting on the ground – which can result in disease. The trellis for beans, sunflowers, and corn was found behind the recreation barn. Each little plot is lined in discarded wood. It makes for a mismatched, relaxed look that is really quite charming. Even the fence was built using old logs that an employee had at his furniture shop and was planning on discarding.

In addition to all it offers by way of produce, the garden will be a beautiful sight up on the dry plateau. Zac wants to put a bench or two up along the edge of the garden for guests to sit at and enjoy. We even have an entry arch with a sign. Be sure to stop by during your stay! Say hi to Zac and see how our garden is coming along.

Summer in Zion

Monday, May 30th, 2011
Zion Park Cactus - Flora

Cactus in the Zion Park area

The rain has finally rolled away and left a freshly cleaned plateau behind. Here, above Zion National Park, the grass is bright green and the Ponderosa Pines brace against the wind that pushed the clouds away. Even that wind, warm and rich with the smell of summer, is now calming to a gentle breeze as it settles in for the hot, dry months ahead.

Summer in Zion reveals a world of beauty and adventure. Driving through the park, I saw blooming cacti and grazing bighorn sheep. Even as the streams dry up, the local wildlife is easily visible. Just yesterday I saw a big wild turkey strutting coolly across the road up near our vacation homes. These moments of connection with nature are a cherished memory anyone can make here at Zion Ponderosa. Even the least adventurous guests will feel closer to nature as they wander the paths of the ranch and soak up the summer.

The ranch is perfectly positioned to get the very best of Zion’s summer. From our high elevation, guests can walk into the park through several backcountry trails. Right now, the path from Jolly’s Gulch down to Canyon Overlook is marked by a stream. At one point, you can look out from the top of a waterfall. Later in the summer, the water dries up and leaves a stunning cliff-top view for hikers into the park.

Views of the Zion National Park region

Views from Zion Ponderosa

Another joy that summer in Zion brings is the clear night sky. This week, on a warm evening, I walked out to our paintball field, less than five minutes from the lodge. Even that near the lodge and cabins, the sky was clear and the stars were bright. Visible with the naked eye were the bears Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, Draco the Dragon, and Cassiopia. I even saw a shooting star.

Everywhere you turn here at Zion Ponderosa there is a new wonder to be found. A new smell on the air or a new view to gaze upon can surprise you even after days of walking the property. Take a moment each day you spend with us to look around you. Breathe deeply and slow down. In this place of beauty, find the sight, smell, or sound that most touches you. That memory can be cherished for years to come. Keep it and hold it.

Welcome to summer in Zion.