Zion National Park in Utah is one of the crown jewels in the South-West. While the Grand Canyon is the most immense, Zion is easily the most majestic. There’s a story about Samuel Dellenbaugh who painted the canyons and cliffs of Zion and displayed them at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair. People didn’t believe that his paintings were a real place. Just driving through it on the main highway, negotiating tunnels and switchbacks, one is presented with towering rock cliffs on both sides of this beautiful valley.
Zion has many sides. We chose to take on two well travelled hikes. The first was The Narrows, which is a hike into a broad, deep canyon. It is necessary to wade along the creek for much of this hike.
We were accompanied my many fellow hikers, and it is valid to say that the hike was a bit crowded on the day we took it. That detracts a bit from it, but is still a great hike. On the way out we noticed a commotion where one female hiker had fallen and either sprained or broken her ankle. On the way back we encountered her on the trail returning to the shuttle stop as there was a group taking turns carrying her. She was in a lot of pain. Our boys stepped in to lend a hand and helped get her to the bus stop. The rangers that were there were reluctant to get involved as I’m sure there was some kind of complicated liability situation going on. When we got to the terminal, a stretcher appeared and other people took over. A fully equipped rescue team was just getting organized there and we thought it might have been for her, but it turns out that they were on their way to what they described as a much more serious problem.
The second hike we tackled was Angel’s Landing, possibly one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever done. Angel’s Landing involves a long stretch of switchbacks leading to the bottom of a steep column of rock. At the top of that column is the Landing, and the way up is a scramble up the side, often with sheer drops on both sides of a narrow trail with chains set into the rocks to help protect you. The sign at the bottom talks about the 7 people who have died on the trail over the years. It’s a trail where you have to concentrate on what you are doing, so needless to say I didn’t take many pictures en route. The ones below are Brandon’s, showing the steepness and the precariousness of the trail. Surprisingly there were a lot of people doing the hike, meaning bottlenecks at various places on the climbs where people going in both directions would have to wait for a clear, safe route.
It was a great hike with lots of magnificent views at the top. Yes, it’s all about the views.