Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More for Us In Zion National Park


We can’t seem to pull ourselves away from Zion NP.  Our one-week stay has turned into two and we are still going full speed.  Zion is captivating from the moment you drive into the canyon.  What strikes you first is the soaring red rock landscape and looking up at the towering cliffs certainly makes you feel “small” - Betsy’s favorite word to describe how the western landscape makes her feel. 
Zion offers lots to do.  We are making the most of it and will see if we can conquer our “smallness.”  One of the great features of Zion is the myriad of hiking trails that immerse you in the landscape.  Whether you are wading through the watery Narrows, perched on a cliff at Angels Landing or wandering around the cool emerald pools, everyone will find something that appeals to them.

My Dad and sister even found time to carve pumpkins.
Betsy and I were thrilled that we got to spend last week with my family exploring this natural wonderland.  After spending our days hiking and exploring the park, we readily retired to the RV for an adult beverage, some chow, and a warm campfire for toasting marshmallows.  This cushy camping is a far cry from the camping experiences that eventually led my mother to veto all family camping trips when we were kids.  It seems years of leaky tents, unruly kids, rising river waters, tipping over canoes, rushing rapids and cold nights turned her off of tent camping.  Fortunately Betsy and I were able to lure her to our campground with the promise of gin and tonics and s’mores.  

Zion NP is famous for two trails – the Narrows and Angels Landing.  One leads you through a deep slot canyon where you are wading through water about 60% of the time and the other takes you high up to a rocky outcropping where you cling to the rock hanging on the embedded chains.
The Narrows

Mom, Lora, and I dawned the dry pants and canyoneering shoes and braved the 50 degree water in the Narrows.  The entrance to the canyon is inviting and beckons you to get your feet wet and enter the watery river to see what is around the bend.  The cold water chills your legs and sinks to your toes but the excitement of hiking through the canyon propels you inward.  The hike is spectacular and it is hard to remember to stop and look around at the wondrous spectacle that hugs you.  You are surrounded by rising walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs, and lush hanging gardens of hardy plants.  Once again we felt "small"!  While the hike is not particularly strenuous, rocky boulders and swift currents present challenges.  We were all glad we made the journey and equally glad that Lora brought along a bag of yummy trail mix. 

My sister in the Narrows

My sister and mom taking a break














While Angels Landing is on many visitors “must do” list of Zion hikes, Betsy and I were apprehensive as our fear of heights was beginning to show its ugly head.  However, we decided to hike up to Scouts Lookout (2.5 miles) – the launching point for the trail Angels Landing – and see if we were brave enough to look over sheer drop-offs.  The trail to Scouts Lookout is paved but the long steady climb up numerous switchbacks reminds you of how high you are climbing.  Those who make the journey to Scouts Lookout are rewarded with incredible expansive views (and a firmer backside).  But one look at Angels Landing and Betsy and I were headed back down with our sights on a beer at the Zion Lodge.  After all people have actually died climbing Angels Landing.

Switchbacks help you climb the 1400+ feet in elevation.
Hikers on their way up to Scouts Lookout and Angels Landing.
Look closely on the jagged rock and you can see hikers on the Angels Landing trail.  We were sitting on a rock with the chipmunks.
"Walters Wiggles" a serious of short switchbacks.
Awesome view from Scouts Lookout.
With only two days left at Zion, we still have a trail or two left to try.  The weather has been great and the cool morning air is perfect for hiking.  Spirit has spent many days hanging out down the road at Doggy Dude Ranch and had more fun romping with dogs in the dirt than trailing behind us on paved trails.  Everybody is happy.  "Spectacular" is the new word we have been saying!



4 comments:

  1. what an amazing place - you make it come alive again. i can still remember those switchbacks and how sore my hamstrings were the next day. so glad we were able to spend a little time there with you but we definitely could have spent more. you all have done so much!

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  2. These pics are beautiful! We must put this place on our bucket list. I hope I can walk up to Angels Landing. I, too, am afraid of heights. we'll see. lol

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  3. Gorgeous photos! The two ladies I hiked in Zion with are very competitive. We were going to hike Angel's Landing. We did the hike which starts at the same trail head as the weeping wall. That hike involved hanging off the side of a trail on chains, extreme heights. I decided Angel's Landing was not going to happen for me, I have a real fear of heights. One of the other ladies decided to go with my decision so Angel's Landing was out! We wanted to hike to the Narrows but the river was too high when we were there, maybe next time. Glad you introduced your Mom to our kind of camping!

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  4. Camping has always been a fun activity for people who love the outdoors.

    Zion National Park Camping

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