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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Zion in winter, the good, the bad and the ugly!

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Payson

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Posted: 03/10/22 04:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We just returned a day early from our Zion in winter trip here is our report…

The good: To say that Zion is good is to **** with faint praise, Zion is awesome, my favorite place on the planet. The drive up to and through Flagstaff and Page was great. Light traffic, good weather and a fair amount of snow dusting all of the peaks. Our site was very nice and the Watchman CG was virtually full, we settled in Monday afternoon knowing we had a very cold night ahead. The low was 21 with daytime highs near 50 with no precipitation.

The park is open year round but during winter some amenities are unavailable. Sadly the museum is closed but should open soon. The shuttle currently is only running on weekends but will commence full operations on 3/19. Tuesday morning we decided to drive our 24’ Class C up to the Temple of Sinawava at the north end of the park. The hiking path there takes you up in to the narrows.

The bad: We were shocked to find the park jammed full of people and vehicles at 0930 and lucked out managing to secure one of the last parking spaces at Sinawawa. We headed up towards the narrows and made it about a mile, the trail was packed with fellow visitors. Suddenly my bride of 52 years tripped and pitched forward doing a full on face plant, I lunged for her but was half a second late. Her sunglasses shattered on impact and severely sliced her upper lip. Blood was gushing everywhere. We used the three cloth covid masks we happened to have on us and they were quickly saturated. A couple on the trail gave us a large handful of fast food napkins and her neckerchief.

I walked Jeanne back out to our coach by which time everything we had was completely soaked. The heavy bleeding continued but now having an unlimited supply of paper and cloth towels I loaded her into the coach and headed back down the park to seek emergency medical attention. At the junction of 89 near the center of the park Rangers were directing the heavy traffic. I flagged one down explaining our emergency and he immediately brought over Ranger/EMT Daniel Fagergren {who happens to be the head Ranger for Zion and yes a very nice letter is on its way to the Nation Park Service thanking Daniel for his incredible professionalism, skill and empathy.}

Daniel was amazing, he directed me to a nearby driveway where I could get our coach off of the road and then brought his large medical kit into the coach to treat Jeanne. He applied antibiotic cream and a butterfly bandage across her lip and managed to slow the bleeding. He offered transport but admitted it would take time and suggested I take her immediately to the ER at the St George Medical center…56 miles away. He gave me directions for the fastest route and backed his unit out across the road to allow me to safely depart. I made it to the ER in just under an hour but then the speed limit on I 15 is 80 and yes, a 24’ C with the V-10 will do 80 {+/-} when you really need to get somewhere in a hurry.

She was still bleeding all the way to the ER but hung in there, what a woman! After X-rays confirmed no broken bones {just badly bruised ribs} and labs confirmed her blood count was fine despite losing massive amounts we waited 4.5 hours for the plastic surgeon to arrive from another facility. He took an hour and 20 stitches to reconstruct her upper lip but his work was meticulous and her prognosis for a full recovery is good. The stitches will come out next Tuesday hopefully with minimal scarring.

We finally returned to our site at 6:15 and we both folded up like cheap card tables. We managed to get a good nights sleep and decided to just stay put and try to recover. The weather was decent and we spent most of Wednesday just sitting around our campfire enjoying the beauty that is Zion. I spoke to the Ranger on duty and gave up our site for Thursday so that someone else could enjoy it. In less than 10 minutes I had two e mails confirming the change and promising my $15 refund in 72 hours. These folks are good!

We left an 7 this morning and had a spectacular drive home arriving at 2:45. Snow was moving into southern Utah and northern Arizona. South of Page and again in Flagstaff we had near blizzard conditions with visibility reduced to a quarter of a mile but wow, it was beautiful. The banzai run to the ER was pedal to the metal and I held a heavy foot for the ride home setting the cruise control at 68 for most of the trip and still managed to get a respectable 9 mpg. Gas going north was $3.99 in Page, coming home $4.39 for regular… closer to $5 a gallon the nearer you got to Zion… sigh.

The ugly: Here are a couple of shots of my lovely wife having a VERY bad day:

[image]

[image]




[emoticon]





CA Traveler

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Posted: 03/10/22 04:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing. That certainly tops the list of family camping stories. Wishing her and you a very Speedy recovery.


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Posted: 03/10/22 05:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So glad to hear your wife is ok!!!


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PartyOf Five

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Posted: 03/10/22 08:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Days like these I'm glad to have a motorhome rather than a travel trailer. Glad she's healing and that your trip was positive overall. We were there this past summer, thanks for the memories!


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afidel

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Posted: 03/10/22 09:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Glad you had (relatively) quick access to medical care. When my son broke his arm in Kaibab national forest it was 3 hours to the ER in Kenab. That's why I now carry several first aid kits, a large one in the trailer, a medium one in the truck and a compact one for the kayaks.


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Scottiemom

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Posted: 03/11/22 06:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, what an adventure. Tell Jeanne I'm thinking of her, but she should heal fine. I was bitten in the face by a dog once and his "fang" went in my lip just under my nose and out the bottom, so my lip could be splayed out much like Jeanne's. I didn't have a plastic surgeon, the ER doc thought he could do it and he stitched it up much like Jeanne's. My repair looks just like hers. It healed beautifully and the scar is in the "dimple" of my upper lip, so the only time you can actually see it is when I stretch my lip to reveal the very faint line.

So sorry this happened, but be thankful it wasn't a head injury, like falling and hitting a rock, etc. She will heal. They ended up leaving my stitches in a few days longer and you cannot tell I was even injured. I had torn flesh on my nose, which they didn't stitch and punctures in my cheek, but it has all healed beautifully.

She will soon be ready for your next adventure!

Dale


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Scottiemom

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Posted: 03/11/22 06:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

afidel wrote:

Glad you had (relatively) quick access to medical care. When my son broke his arm in Kaibab national forest it was 3 hours to the ER in Kenab. That's why I now carry several first aid kits, a large one in the trailer, a medium one in the truck and a compact one for the kayaks.


Thanks for this note. I carry stuff in my motorhome, but don't have a "kit" to carry. I recently added an E-bike for adventures and I think a kit will find its way into the saddlebags! Good suggestion!

Dale

ksbowman

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Posted: 03/11/22 07:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow! What an adventure. Hope your wife heals quickly and all turns out good. Thank goodness the Ranger/EMT was there to help and get you headed in the right direction for medical care.

dedmiston

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Posted: 03/11/22 07:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your "ugly" wife is a very pretty woman. I hope she's doing better. I'm glad she got good care, and your coach sounds a lot more comfortable than an ambulance.

I'm glad they sent you to St. George and not to Kanab where their surgical skills aren't as good. My wife rolled a quad about 15 years ago and the pressure opened up a big gash in her leg (you could actually see her femur in there). It happened on a Sunday and "the doctor on call" (yes, singular doctor in that town) declined to come out of temple because the patient was female (I actually heard this over their radio). So they assigned it to the nurse practitioner intern to close up the wound. I don't blame the kid; he did the best he could. But my wife has a huge scar that looks like a shark bite with horrible bright spots from the sloppy sutures.

Note to women: Don't do anything risky in those parts on the Sabbath, because you might not get emergency care if something goes wrong.


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Desert Captain

Payson

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Posted: 03/11/22 08:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks to one and all for your concerns. We know it could have been much worse and now that we are back home the healing can continue. Ironically about 10 years ago we were at the Watchman CG and I fell and hit my head. My friend found me face down on the ground. I did not know where I was, who was president what day it was etc. so he called 911.

The ambulance ride to St George took 90 minutes and was billed to the VA at $2,684. Dehydration had caused the fall and I recovered after 4 hours in the ER. I have a serious medical kit {from my boating career} but there is no way I was capable of treating an injury this severe. Like a moron I had forgotten the kit at home on this trip which will never happen again. [emoticon]

I knew from prior training that an immediate med evac to a proper facility was our only option as confirmed by Daniel. I can't say enough good things about his professional assistance, had he not been able to slow the bleeding I'm not sure an hour in transit would have ended well.

[emoticon]

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