Sorry for the blogging hiatus...it seems I have no free time lately. Last week I was able to participate in the Zion Tunnel Walk with my papa, and I've been scrambling to get the photobook done before the 20% off sale ends. I finished it in the nick of time!
The text on the title page is hard to read, so here it is in case you're interested:
The Zion Tunnel is part of the Zion - Mount Carmel Highway. The tunnel is 1.1 miles long and follows the profile of the Pine Creek Canyon wall at a consistent distance of 21 feet from the outside face of the rock to the centerline of the tunnel. The west portal is framed by a masonry facade of cut sandstone, while the east portal is a naturalistically formed hole in the rock, entered directly from a bridge. Construction proceeded using mining techniques rather than traditional tunneling techniques, starting from a stope and working outward to the portals. The tunnel uses galleries to provide light and ventilation through the canyon wall to the outside air. The galleries also provided a place to dispose of rock generated during construction, which was dumped through the galleries into the canyon. Parking spaces were originally provided at the galleries, but were discontinued due to safety concerns. Some galleries have been repaired and partially closed with concrete due to damage from rockslides. The interior of the tunnel is rock-faced, with concrete reinforcement at selected locations. Work on the tunnel was started in 1927 by the Nevada Construction Company and was completed in 1930 at a cost of $503,000. At the time of its completion it was the longest road tunnel in the United States. (wikipedia.org)
As part of Zion National Park's centennial celebration, officials closed the highway for three hours and allowed 300 lucky fans to walk through the tunnel. Gary Johnson, who happens to be my father, was a park ranger in Zion forty years ago. Back then he was often tasked with the job of chasing other tunnel walkers away. The day the Zion Tunnel Walk tickets went on sale, Gary employed every phone within arm's reach to guarantee himself a ticket. He succeeded. One hundred and fifty callers were accepted, and each caller was allowed one guest. To everyone's surprise, the tickets sold out in three hours. To my surprise (and delight), my dad asked me to be his lucky guest.
Growing up in southern Utah, I've visited Zion National Park numerous times. As a result, I've driven through the tunnel on a number of occasions...each time wishing I could stop and gaze out the "windows" along the way. Today, August 26, 2009, I finally got the chance. It was a truly unforgettable experience.