Oompa-Loompas Float (in Zion, at least).



My family and I are tagging along this week with friends who rented a fabulous home outside Zion National Park. Three days in, and we are officially smitten with Zion.

Once the largest wind-swept collection of sand dunes on the planet (think Lawrence of Arabia), Zion Canyon’s present features have been slowly carved, squeezed and watered down over the course of something like 150 million years.  We arrived on the scene only 8,000 years ago.  By “we” I mean humans.

More recently, a handful of particularly influential humans have played a key role–directly or indirectly–in preserving this remarkable region.  People like Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, and Barack Obama.

Thanks, guys.

There is an especially intriguing feature of Zion known as “The Narrows.”  First shared with Mormons by Paiute guides more than 150 years ago, National Geographic ranks this hike today in its top-5 “best adventures” in the United States.  For good reason, from my point of view.

We all “hiked” The Narrows yesterday, and it took us about five chilly hours.  I say “hiked” because 80% of the trip involves sloshing, wading, or swimming through 46 degree river water moving at 55 cubic feet per second. That kind of trek requires special gear, apparently.

So all of the kids were properly geared up in full dry suits.  While watching them splash and stumble on one or another slippery rock, I spent the next several hours trying to put my finger on what or whom their bloated and colorful outfits reminded me of. 

Maybe the Monsters, Inc. Child Detection Agency officials?



Or the Despicable Me minions?



Or perhaps the much-maligned Teletubbies?




In the end, I settled on the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Ooompa-Loompas.  These guys —


Screen shot 2014-04-16 at 9.08.57 AM


I haven’t had sufficient time to digest fully our five hour adventure in The Narrows.  That particular adventure was yesterday, you see, and we have all been on the move since then, when not sleeping. Plenty of grist for the blog mill downstream.  In the meantime, one key observation I can share is this: Oompa-Loompas float.  How can I claim this with such certainty? I have some incredibly rare video footage to prove it —


Thanks for reading.

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