Monday, October 31, 2011

Zion National Park, Day One

On the Plateau
I just returned from my trip to Zion National Park in Utah. It was a whirlwind mini vacation with lots to see! Where do I begin? On the flight to Phoenix we saw the Grand Canyon from the air, landed in Phoenix, and flew on to Las Vegas. We ended up in Springdale, Utah after a long drive through Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Springdale is a lovely little town just outside the entrance to the Zion park. 

Lauren hiking through the Canyon
On Friday Gilda, Lauren, and I decided to hike the Observation Trial. This trial offers spectacular views, and very varied terrain. At the beginning of the trail you immediately start at an incline and make your way up dozens of long switchbacks. What's interesting for a New Englander is that there's sand on the trail, which can be hazardous, and yet much of the trail is semi-paved with cement. Also, since the altitude is high, the air is thin and you feel it. It took some gasping and getting used to, we admit. 

A view of Angel's Landing, which I hiked the next day
After a series of switchbacks you come to a large canyon which you wind your way through. It is a lot cooler and therefore the vegetation is similar to New England. At a couple of points you make your way through tunnels of sandstone rock and arches. There are crevices and holes you can climb into, which Lauren attempted to do.

Then comes the most difficult part, a series of grueling switchbacks that seem to go on and on. At this point you hike through a canyon of amazing sheer cliffs all around you as you climb and climb. Then you reach a plateau, finally, which I think was my favorite part of the hike. It's flat for about a mile, with a rocky terrain similar to hikes in New England, and there's actually many sand dunes that reminded us a lot of Cape Cod. The views from this angle are spectacular. 

From the summit of Observation Point
Finally you come to the last bit of trail, and you are out on a jutting rock cliff surrounded by 360 degrees of mountains and cliffs, with the Virgin River below. It's simply amazing! 

By the way, watch out for the ground squirrels. They are very cute but will steal your lunch and burrow into your pack!

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Hey Carolyn, Thanks for the recap! It was a fabulous hike and day!