Last weekend we explored Zion National Park in Utah. We flew to Las Vegas, rented a van that held the 6 of us (Craig and Lynette, Dave and Helen, Neil and I) and drove to Cedar City Utah where we started the Zion Traverse at Kolob Canyon the next morning.
Upon arrival in Cedar City we did a quick grocery shop to fill our running packs and stock up to have some post event food and drink. We had dinner at a very popular wood fired pizza restaurant that provided us with the fuel we needed to get us ready for the journey.
We were determined to be on the trail at dawn (just after 6 am). Helen and Lynette drove us to the start of the La Verkin Creek trail. We stopped for a picture as we drove by the Kolob Canyon park sign. It was REALLY cold outside. I was concerned I didn't have adequate layers. There was a strong wind that was piercingly cold.
Dave, Neil, me and Craig at the Kolob Canyon Park sign.
Neil, me, Craig and Dave at the start of the La Verkin Creek Trail (it's cold!!)
Within minutes of the start we come upon this fresh "cat" print. This was just past a sign warning us we were entering "wilderness". Beware the Mountain Lions!
Not long after the start Craig had to stop for his yogurt - we were pleased to see he brought a spoon this year! We tried to keep the group moving with scheduled stops; a lesson learned from last years Grand Canyon trip.
The sun started to sneak over the rocky horizon. With this, the temperature warmed up and we all took off a layer.
We kept together as a group from the start to the finish. I kept the guys moving and kept the human train rolling along!
The rock behind in full sun, but still a little cooler on the canyon floor.
Craig had a wee bit of a tumble early on, but it was a soft and sandy landing. I think both Dave and Craig are having a good laugh.
We took a bit of a side trip to see Kolob Arch, one of the largest natural arches. It spans 287.4 feet making it the second longest arch in the world.
The trail we travelled on below.
The sun is highlighting the views!
Pretty purple flowers blooming along the trail - the wild flowers were everywhere.
Not only did we travel through sand, we had to cross many sections of water. I was trusting so much in my new Drymax Maximum Protection socks to take care of my feet. We were exposing our feet to the perfect storm - sand, water, heat and a long outing!
We were prepared!
Wild Cat Canyon our water stop. The spring was flowing! We had a system: we used a designated spring bottle, a filter, a UV light and chlorine tabs to all do their magic on the water. Dave was my hero here...he gave me all his remaining city water which together with the bottles of gatorade they were packing allowed me to go all the way on city water...they do take care of me out there! Very nice surprise! Often Wendy brings me gifts of city water but she wasn't on this journey - Dave took on the task!
The Water Spring!
Craig and Dave taking a break and Dave shaking pints of sand out of his shoes.
A nice view of Wild Cat Canyon.
Miles of the journey were like this, looks easy but we were at 7, 500 feet and we had just arrived from sea level, it was hard going.
Dave having an encounter with a Grouse. It did not give up and chased us all up a hill which just about put us all into cardiac arrest! It's hard to sprint uphill at 7,000 feet.
As the early evening approached we arrived at Zion Canyon. It was so spectacular that any tiredness we were feeling after 12 hours on our feet in heat and altitude disappeared. It was beautiful! Everything we had read about Zion Canyon was before us. There were steep drop offs and to keep us safe we made a Team Dodgy rule to stick to the walls.
Slabs of Rock!
Feeling exhilarated but a bit on the edge!
Somehow we came down this, the trail is cut into the rock.
The sand was so fine and clean...I wore gaiters for the journey which I think helped keep the fine sand out of my shoes. The sand was so fine and clean looking , we all had to touch it. We thought of bringing some home but all our containers either contained left over peanut butter or pizza - it would have been nasty sand once home.
Nice to break out onto the open rock.
The start of Walter's Wiggles! We had been expecting these for hours. It was so good we arrived here just prior to darkness. They were so fun - what an engineering feat!
Walters Wiggles - me, Craig and Dave.
Neil captured this photo well,Craig and I on Walters Wiggles.
Almost there....the Grotto (finish area) is ahead. You can see the trail, darkness is setting in. Once down we managed to catch one of the last shuttle buses to the Visitors Center. We called Helen and Lynette for a pick up as planned. The journey was 41 miles, or 66km in 14 hours. It was slow with the heat, the altitude and stops but a spectacular journey. We all felt great - with no issues along the way.
After a good sleep, Neil and I woke with determination to do another outing. We climbed to the Observation Point which was an 8 mile return trip. The climbing was hard work - but good. The views spectacular!
Neil ready to go!
Climbing to the top!
We had great views across to what we traversed down the day before.
The "geckos" were prevalent. Harmless!
A view down Zion Canyon with the road below. We all celebrated with dinner at a restaurant where we were able to sit outside and enjoy the mountain views.
Zion adventures complete - on our way back to the airport and home.