Daylight Savings is hard. Changing time zones is hard. Put those things together and you get one sleepy traveler who has to sleep in late when she should be hiking, and doesn’t completely screw the lid on her water pack before putting it in her hiking backpack. I spent the day at Zion National Park with a dripping wet back and butt from a soaked pack, as it was too late by the time I realized my mistake. Sleepy issues aside, I’m on the road again! And in Utah again, which is pretty much Mars with all the red rock.
Zion National Park is the #1 park in the United States, so I was expecting the crowds I encountered today. Also it’s spring break season, so I had the pleasure of sharing trails with goofy college kids who kept me well entertained. My favorite one was a guy ahead of me who would say, “Go (insert state or sport team here)! Yeah!” every time he saw someone wearing a shirt repping their favorite team. He said, and I quote, “It’s funny everyone thinks I’m a fan too, but really I just like sports. Go sports!”
My hiking today revolved around Zion Canyon, which is accessible by shuttle. Each stop has a different point of interest with both short and long hikes available. I did quite a few different hikes, totaling 9.5 miles. I started with the Court of the Patriarchs, which wasn’t really a hike at all, but a viewpoint. The Court of the Patriarchs are three sandstone peaks named after men from the Bible (Abraham, Issac, and Jacob) because of how magnificent they look. Next I headed to the Upper Emerald Pools, a few miles with some steep climbs that lead to a few waterfalls and pools. This trailhead splits with the West Rim Trail that leads to Angels Landing (a popular strenuous and dangerous hike) and I was very tempted to hop on it, but chose to save that for tomorrow morning as the trail gets very busy during the day. I said hi to around 50 people because solo-travel makes you insanely friendly, and a cute little 4 year old showed me his rock collection.
Next I headed over to Weeping Rock, an area of the canyon where water seeps out and rains down the side. The hike was labeled as 0.50 miles round trip and steep. I started on what I thought was that trail, headed up steep switchbacks winding up the canyon side. After about a MILE of switchbacks, I came to the conclusion I was definitely on the wrong trail and headed back down. It was a great warm up for the hike tomorrow at least! And there was a fantastic view of Big Bend, a U-shaped bend in the Virgin River. When I walked over to the Weeping Rock, I was greeted by the spray and drops of water from the waterfall above. Even with the 20 college girls taking turns posing for pictures everywhere, I was able to find a cozy corner of the rail to sit on and soak in the view and cool spray.
My last stop of the day was the entrance to the Narrows. The Narrows are on my list of places to visit with others, as it is a hike through the Virgin River where there is no trail and you have to wade and swim. Unfortunately for everyone else who were planning on doing it today, the water level is much too high and it is closed. The hike to the entrance was relaxing and offered great views along the river. I decided to head back to my hotel after, as I hit all of the major sights (minus Angels Landing) and hikes. Zion is smaller than I expected, although there are lesser visited parts in the far corners of the property. I love the landscape though, as I swear Utah is a chunk of Mars. The rocks were white, pink, and red, with hanging gardens and pine trees growing from them.
The drive back to my hotel was quite scenic as well. I have yet to encounter a part of Southern Utah I don’t like. Maybe a possible state of residence in the future… I’m staying in Kanab, the land of Little Hollywood. Old Westerns used to be filmed here, including Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, and Death Valley Days. The sets are open and free to check out, but pretty much the entire city closes by 5pm (during off-peak-season) so I missed checking them out. Instead I walked to a nearby memorial park and grabbed a panini and cookie dough malt from The Soda Shop, yum! Now I’m resting up, took some cold medicine (sore throat and fever, yuck), and will hopefully go to bed soon even though my body thinks it’s 6pm pre-daylight savings time (LA time). Angels Landing tomorrow, and then off to the next park…Bryce Canyon!