Saturday, November 12, 2011

Three Days in Zion

The wind was howling along I 15 for my drive from Valley of Fire to Zion so I was happy to find Zion warm with only light winds.  Driving around Loop B to my site I was abit surprised to see so many Roadtreks, umm,  that was cool;  even more surprising was two friendly faces coming over to ask if I was with the 'Roadtrek' owners.  Well, no,  but 'now you are!'.   My new friends were a group of Roadtrek International owners in the middle of a 'Walk About' of the South West.  They invited me to join them for dinner,  we hiked together and even shared a pot luck the next night.  Too much fun!

The campground was busy,  but I got a great site with this wonderful view of the mountains.

It's been several years since my last visit to Zion when I did the lower elevation trails in the valley and The Narrows up the Virgin River.  This time I intended to do two of the higher elevation hikes.  My first day was the Angles Landing Trail.  It's actually two distinct sections.  First is the 1000 foot climb up to Scout's Landing.  The second and hardest pull is the 500 elevation gain up the narrow ridge to Angel's Landing.  Several signs warn about the second section with a this view from Scout's Landing.

The trail leaves the valley with long sweeping switchbacks that get narrower and steeper as it climbs up the side of the cliff.

The elegant rock work blends perfectly with the natural rock.

The trail follows a narrow canyon filled with maples for a few hundred yards then begins the climb up Walter's Wiggles, really narrow and steep.

Many people were hanging out at Scout's Landing;  there was an almost party like atmosphere as we all tried to keep the chipmunks out of our packs and from crawling up our legs!   The last push up the ridge to Angels Landing started here and climbed the cliff with a chain for handholds.  This was my turn around for the day.  Maybe I'll try the ridge in the future,  but doubtful,  just too many people for me.

One of the amazing views up the Zion Canyon.

The next day I set out on the Hidden Canyon trail.  Again, the trail was paved but didn't required the extensive retaining walls of the Angles Landing trail.  And again,  there were many people.   But here's an idea,  next time, and needing two cars,  start at the East Entrance and hike 'down' to the valley.

Near the top of the Hidden Canyon trail is a great set of stairs up the side of the cliff through a small drainage.

Also near the top is the best view of Weeping Rock.  Yes, those are tiny people down there!

Pretty soon the trail makes it's way around the sandstone mountain with a chain again as a sturdy handhold that is very much appreciated. Unfortunately, on my down through this section I met a young man literally dragging his 4 year old son who was sobbing in terror up the trail.  It was disturbing and colored the rest of my hike but was a good reminder why I don't do these kinds of hikes with crowds of dumb people.

Up near the Canyon the sun created lovely shadows with the ferns.

More kids were running and climbing around the rocks near the entrance to the canyon.  I kept my eye out for parents, but never did see them.  And that's when I turned back.  Maybe I'll see the arch on another visit, but kinda doubt it.  Instead I'll do the Observation Point trail or maybe even the hike down from the East Entrance.

I had originally planned to go to Bryce after Zion,  but it had snowed up there and turned cold, besides I had my Roadtrek friends at Zion.  It was sad to leave!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic Diana. Wish I could keep up with you on the trails. Really scary hauling a traumatized child up there. The rangers probably got called out to help get him down. Big difference between a childhood adventure and scaring him to death. So glad you got to meet up with the Roadtrekers.


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