Week vacation in southern Utah, part 3

After nearly a week of walking around exotic rock formation and up a river, how could we possibly top all of that? Well, Day 5 was supposed to be the most intense hike yet! 4.4 miles and over 2200 feet of elevation climb! This is the climb to Observation point in Zion!

We tried getting up and leave for Zion in hopes to avoid the crowds at the visitor center for the shuttles but no dice. I assume that many people stay over in Springdale and simply have to walk over to the park

The trail starts at the weeping rock stop on the park shuttle. There is a short and accessible trail that goes to the cliff where you can see where the water exits the porous rock causing the “weeping” effect. The more interesting trail is the one going toward Hidden canyon and Observation point. The trail is not all that exciting at first, as it start with a series of switchback carved in the rock face. You get some good view of Angel’s landing on the way up for what it is worth. The magic really starts about a mile in the trail. As you go up the switchbacks you can see where the next one starts and continues upward, but at some point the switchbacks stop and there this blind turn into a narrow canyon.This makes for a nice break in the climb and a bit change in scenery as you move from the cliff face to a sort of slot canyon.

The trail flattens a little bit as you make you way around the back of the cliff face. This is where, if you are hiking in the morning, the sun starts hitting. Also it is back to switchback for the rest of the climb. It does get a bit tedious around that part of the trail but if you are interested in geology, there are some interesting sight to see. The most impressive feature was a giant crack where the cliff split a slid apart. You can see the scorch marks on the protruding section of the rack face as well. Very cool to see.

By the time we got to the last series of switchback before the last stretch of the hike, we were in the zone, driven by pure will power. So much so that I did not realize that the cliff face mere feet to my left was in fact the better part of a 1000 feet tall! I was so entranced by the winding path that it never occurred to me to look over the edge. Probably for the best though.

The observation point is quite the sight and well worth the hike in my opinion. it is quite higher than Angel’s landing and less dangerous to reach (and probably less crowded). You get amazing views of the southern half of the valley, and if you go to one of the side paths some good views to the north as well. Some people sat dangerously close to the edge of the cliff to pose for photos, but hey if that is how they want to be remembered, falling to their doom from a 2000 feet fall unto one of the park shuttle, that is their problem.

The walk down is obviously far easier than going up, though it is far harder to avoid looking down the giant cliff, which is quite terrifying.

 

This was supposedly the hardest and most strenuous hike of the trip. It had the biggest elevation change and one of the longest, but I am not sure it felt the hardest. The Riggs Spring trail’s last mile was exhausting and some the temperature for some of the earlier hike were quite high. I think we were more prepared for this hike and did not suffer as much. I do have to say that it did give us quite the appetite and I had a 12 oz rib eye steak that evening that I simply devoured. Not the best meal of the trip, but the most deserved in my opinion.

The Sixth day of the trip was our cool down day. We would be driving down to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and take the sights in. The drive was a nice 4 hours long gave me the chance to listen to some of the podcast that my sister recommended. We did have a moment of panic when a stray rock hit the windshield and left a pretty nasty impact crater. Thankfully, that was covered by the rental insurance.

Try to ignore my finger…

The most Impressive thing about the Grand Canyon, is the sheer scale of the thing. You can read all the stats that you can find online but those won’t make sense until you see the actual thing. It is probably the most awe inspiring natural formation I have ever seen.

The thing about the grand canyon is that there are not many trails. There is a short trail that loop around the area of the hotel and camping site and the north Kaibab trail that goes down into the canyon for the crossing. We originally wanted to walk down part if the Kaibab trail but thought otherwise after looking at the elevation chart. The Bright Angel trail/Bridle path is very nice walk and you get some good views of the canyon, though the canyon is so deep and wide, you can not see the river at the bottom. The Bright Angel view point is quite impressive, but people with acrophobia beware, it is quite ‘aerial’.

There are also several other scenic view points along the Cape Royal road that are worth stopping by. the road is two lanes only and no passing lanes, be prepared to be patient if you are stuck behind an RV. I was a nice and relaxing day, though we still ate like we walked another 9 miles.

I wish we had more time to spend in the Grand Canyon but we had doubts we were prepared for the difficulty of the trails. The Grand Canyon is no joke, and you need to know what you are getting into before going willy nilly down a trial. They sell this book in every gift store we went too called “deaths in the Grand Canyon” which is a compilation of how people died in the canyon, and that is a book you don’t want to be mentioned in.

There is only one day left of adventure to go through, but I’ll save that for another post. Milking your posts is a good way to drive those view counts! Not that I actually care all that much about view count since I do this as hobby, but you know, blogging tips are always good to share.

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