This morning, Tom and Maggie, balloonists from Gallup, New Mexico, asked me to serve as a crew member on their balloon. I assisted with assembling the gondola and unfurling and inflating their balloon. Apparently, their crew failed to show. I followed them into the cold desert, helped them out and then left after his lift-off. The sky is filled with colorful balloons.
Later we drive to Zion National Park three hours northwest of Lake Powell. The shuttle service is closed down for the winter season and they opened the scenic roads to private vehicles so we take the motorbike up to the scenic road to the head of Zion Canyon.
It's a spectacular park, formed from Navaho sandstone. The fall foliage makes it even more wonderful. This is a good time to visit the Southwest. The elevation in the park runs from 3,600 to 8,700 feet. One mountain has a pine tree growing on its shoulder.
Night sky viewing conditions are excellent. Venus is up in the evening. It comes around every six years. By spring it will be a morning star again. A huge shooting star leaves a 4 AM fiery trail.
Zion Canyon was named by the Mormon settlers. It means place of safety or refuge. We hear on the radio in the evening that a Mormon judge is in danger of being disbarred for polygamy. The commentator is upset that he is being prosecuted for practicing his religion. There is a municipal tennis court just outside the park. Mrs. Phred won again, 6-2, 6-0. The cold weather is making my shoulder act up again.