Zion – Day 4 : West Rim Trail, Part 2

We woke up early to a dark sky. It looked like it was going to pour at any moment. Instead of making coffee and breakfast, we decided to pack up and try to get a move on before the rain hit.

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It drizzled for a few minutes, but no major rainstorms. None of us were really prepared for a down pour so we were quite relieved.

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Avery walking down one of the switchbacks carved into the mountain. It is a straight drop off to the right. 
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Further down the mountain.
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If you look closely, you can see the line where the trail cuts across the mountain. 

We were making really good progress until we got just above Angel’s Landing. Apparently this was the day they decided to remove all of the poop from the bathrooms at the top of Angel’s landing. The rangers strapped barrels of poop onto a helicopter and then toted it off. The parker rangers blocked the trail while this was done as they did not want anyone walking under the helicopters. This meant Avery and I had to wait for 1-2 hours.

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But we ran into our friends Jason and Rick again!

Finally around noon we were allowed to continue down the trail. This part of the trail is heavily traveled by tourists and paved.

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More switchbacks
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Virgin River flowing through the valley

By the time Avery and I reached The Grotto (where we crossed the main canyon road), we were exhausted, and we had wasted a lot of time because of the trail closure. To make matters worse, the weather was starting to look pretty foul. We decided to cut our trip one day short and not hike the last 8 miles on the East Rim Trail. Instead, we took the shuttle into town and had a nice cold beer and real food. Later that afternoon, a few heavy rain storms passed through. While I am sad we didn’t hike the entire Trans-Zion, I believe we made the right choice to stop when we did. Our entire trip came out to around 38 miles!

Zion – Day 2 : Hop Valley and Wildcat Canyon Trail

This was a loooong day. By far the hardest day of the trip. We started the day on the La Verkin Creek Trail and quickly turned onto the trail Hop Valley. We came across some fairly large mountain lion track so we decided not to waste time and quickly hurried along to Hop Valley.

 

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Start of the day
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Mountain Lion tracks
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Starting the descent to Hop Valley

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Leaving Hop Valley

It seemed like we were in Hop Valley forever, but we finally exited… only to find ourselves in the hot sun surrounded by more cows.

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On the Connector Trail between Hop Valley and Wildcat Canyon
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Meadow in Wildcat Canyon
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Wildcat Canyon

Shortly after this last photo we found a spring where we were able to re-supply water and then setup camp. At the end of the day, I think we hiked somewhere between 12 and 14 miles, a lot which was up hill.

Zion – Day 1: Kolob Canyon/La Verkin Creek

We began hiking at Lee’s Pass (Kolob Canyon area) along the La Verkin Creek Trail. This was the shortest of all days at about ~6 miles to camp, and then another mile to the Kolob Arch.

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Not far from our campsite was the short trail to the Kolob Arch (the second largest natural arch in the world). We setup camp and then made the short hike to the arch.

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Kolob Arch

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Zion – Day 0: The Start of a Great Adventure

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View from Visitors Center

We arrived in Springdale, Utah around lunch time and picked up our backcountry permits at the Zion National Park Visitor Center. We were a little nervous as we had to get walk up permits for two of the four nights of our overnight trip, but luckily they had some left so we could start hiking the next day.

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My tent mate for the next week

We did not have any reservations for the evening, but we were able to secure a walk up site at a campsite just outside the east entrance.