Let's get hiking
Zion National Park Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
Awoke to sunlight and camp sounds: someone chopping wood to start a fire, the opening and closing of car doors, the zzzzzip of a tent flap. I glance over at Adam and he's already looking at me with one eye, smiling that mischevious grin of his since he's knows I'm cranky in the mornings when I haven't had my coffee. Yup, it's time to get up off the hard ground and get the day started.
Camp mornings are my favorite. You're usually up and outside sooner than you would be in everyday life. Being outdoors early in the morning is unique. The light is softer, the air still cold, and you get the sense of things slowly awakening. Unfortunately this peaceful reverie was quickly dashed as I opened up our cooler only to discover that the one thing Adam forgot to pack was my coffee creamer.
Hiking the famous Angel's Landing was our primary goal for today. Just a little ways beyond the lush green grass in front of historic Zion Lodge is the trailhead. Unfortunately the lot was already full by the time we got there around 10:15, so we had to backtrack to a little pull-off on the side of the road. We parked and walked along a sandy trail following the Virgin River back to the trailhead.
The trail starts steep and then is just up, up, up for almost 2 miles on a roughly paved trail. The morning sun glinted around cliff walls and eventually up over the plateau. We went from cold to hot in just a few switchbacks. Periodically Adam would stop and shoot scenes with his HD camera. He lugged that baby all the way up. When he stopped and set it up on the tripod, we got stopped by all assortment of people. Some wanted to discuss the type of camera Adam had, some wanted to know what we were doing. I secretly thought that we should have made up a cool story about why we were filming, like that we were with the Discovery Channel or something, but I figured Adam would think that was silly.
Scouts Lookout--the last moment of safety before deciding to take the dangerous last 1/2 mile out to the Landing itself. Families and old ladies sat on the rocks at Scouts, content to take in the majestic views from there. But not us--no, we wanted to make it all the way to the Landing. Adam packed up his camera and took a nervous look at the narrow ledge we were about to attack. Being a little fearful of heights I wasn't sure if he was up for it, but we couldn't come this far and not make it to the end.
Alleluia! Angels: we have landed. The wind blew more briskly up here, our sweat chilling us through. But there was that "must see" view spread out on all sides. Red cliff walls, green pines jetting out every which way from solid rock, the Virgin River winding through what looked like soft green carpet far below.
Eventually we headed back. Going down the rocks was scarier, but we navigated like pros. The rest of the decent was quick: down, down, down to be grounded once again among mortals. We ate our smooshed turkey sandwiches off the back of Adam's truck. It wasn't too late in the afternoon so we decided to go to the end of the park and walk the paved and easy "Riverside Walk." This short trail culminates at the start of the Zion Narrows canyon.
We finally cross here, film a bit, discuss how sucky being caught in a flash flood would be, and then gather our courage for the return. By that point I'd been out of the water just long enough to think that maybe this time it wouldn't be as cold. Wrong! Both times back across are more silly, self-inflicted agony. By the time we're back to the trail we are numb and smiling sheepishly. The shots on Adam's camera better be good. Adventure indeed. We slopped back to the car in our wet shoes, hoping they would dry out before the next days hikes. Tired, but fulfilled we headed back to camp. As I said earlier I like camp mornings with the new light. But down here in Zioni nothing looks as good on the red rock as the late afternoon sun.
Back at camp the crazy fire ants were going crazy around our fire pit. An evil scheme takes hold. I put on a pot of water to boil and, when ready, poured it over the unsuspecting colony of mean, firery red ants. Mwahahaha. Boiling to death would be an awful way to die. As we let the water do its work we sit back, sigh, stretch, and relax.
And there were tons of stars out tonight. More than I could count.