I first visited Zion National Park with my parents in 2005. Despite it being fairly recent, I remember sparse details about. Mostly certain parts of some hikes and also the hotel and hot tub. I remembered the hot tub specifically because in the evening I would go sit in it, and it faced one of the canyon formations. It was beautiful, especially under the moonlight. This trip, I made a reservation at the same hotel; everything is exactly as I remembered it.
The first day we arrived in Vegas in the morning and drove to Zion National Park. After dropping our gear off, we went (with what little time we had left) to see the Temple of Sinawava and the Weeping Rock. The Narrows were closed to tourism because the water level was too high. Similarly the upper Emerald pools as well as observation point were closed due to landslides. Will have to visit them in the future at another opportunity. We got back, got some dinner, and just hung out.
The second day we headed to Kolob Canyons. Katrina and I were going to backpack there the next day, but we were okay with first doing a hike without our gear to scope out the trail and what to expect since this would be our first time backpacking. Overall, round trip, we hiked for 17 miles with approximately one mile of elevation gain. It was so gorgeous.
After reaching Kolob Arch, I found another path to climb up a bit more to get a better view. We stayed a bit and ate a snack before heading back. On the way back, I decided to be a daredevil and jump down these huge rocks instead of taking the path down. The end result, I sprained my right ankle. It was a bit of a hassle walking the 6 miles out of the canyon, but I persevered and made it through. Good to have been traveling with a doctor and two pharmacists. Got home, iced it, and rested. We had a long day coming up, though we did decide not to go backpacking after my injury. That worked out for the best since it started raining all night the night we would’ve gone.
Our last day we woke up at 6 AM so we could be on the first shuttle to Angel’s Landing. Despite my ankle injury I was adamant about climbing up, after all, I didn’t fly over 1000 miles to not climb this thing. So I took some ibuprofen when we got on the bus, and then re-upped about an hour into our hike. Let me tell you, I was super surprised how little my ankle hurt after that. It was great, what a miracle drug. In the long form video of our climb up Angel’s Landing, you can hear me talking about ibuprofen a few times. The hike to scout’s landing wasn’t too bad, and even a majority of the climb past scout’s landing was okay. The scariest part of the hike was probably the first 1/3 of the chains portion. It was more precarious footing and pretty unnerving to be so close to the 1000 ft drop. After the first section though, it felt a lot less dangerous; it was more strenuous than anything, but the view was well worth it.
It took us about an hour to get up and we stayed up there for a good 20-30 min. It was so fun and despite some trepidation initially, it was a fantastic experience. I highly recommend it if you can muster the courage to brave the trail. We headed down and briefly explored part of the west rim trail. I think it would be fun to backpack it in the future.
The final day, we got up early to check out Bryce Canyon before we had to head back to Vegas to catch flights. It was a bit shocking to see how much snow was still on the ground the further into the national park we got. It was pretty cool. The formations there were really unique. At one point a raven was staring me down; it was huge.
A fantastic time with my cousin, and I got to meet some of her friends! I look forward to further adventures with her and possibly my new buddies!
See the montage of our trip!
“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”
– Lyndon Baines Johnson