Sunday, August 19, 2007

Zion National Park

The Las Vegas Hiking Meetup group went to Zion National Park in southern Utah this weekend to do a number of hikes. Almost everyone went up on Friday night and camped, but I am not much for sleeping on the ground. So I drove up Saturday morning with Calvin from my wine group. We had to meet the group at 9am Mountain time, and Zion is 3 hours away from Las Vegas, so we had to leave at 5am.

We started the day with a hike up to Angel's Landing. This rock formation gets its name because it is so narrow that only an angel could land on it. The peak is 5785 feet and 1500 feet above the canyon floor, and it was a 5 mile hike round trip. As you can see from the picture below, there is a sheer cliff on either side of a tiny spine.A chain railing follows the path almost the entire way to the top. In this picture, you can see the rail as well as the people making their way up.
I had seen pictures online prior to the trip that conveyed the narrowness of the spine. I took this picture at the most narrow point. The cliff on the left is clear. On the right, there appears to be brush, but those are actually trees at the bottom of the canyon.
This is one of the steepest points.
Here I am at the top with the canyon behind me. You can see the road below, and the tiny white line is the bus that runs throughout the park.
Our group at the top of Angel's Landing.
The beautiful view looking down the canyon.
Starting our way back down. For the second hike in a row, I ran into a group of French Canadians and got to practice my French. Who knew there were so many of them out here on the West coast.
After our first hike, we took a quick walk up to Weeping Rock, which has a small waterfall and hanging gardens. Then, we went to the Zion Lodge to eat lunch. I had packed a peanut butter sandwich, but the hot food and ice cream were too tempting! We ate under this huge tree on the grass with the mountains towering above us.
Our final hike of the day was the Emerald Pools trail. This was an easy 3 mile trail that passed by three sets of waterfalls and pools. This is the light waterfall at the Lower Emerald Pools.
The scenery along the way was magnificent, with beautiful views across the canyon.
Here I am at the Middle Emerald Pools.
And here I am at the Upper Emerald Pool. Our whole group waded or jumped into the water, which was cool and refreshing.
On the way back down - you can see the Virgin river at the bottom of the canyon below.
The setting sun had a nice effect on the mountains at the end of the day.
Calvin and I finally headed home at about 7pm. We had a great view of the sunset on the drive home, and we made it back to Las Vegas at about 9:30pm. I am jealous that the rest of the group camped another night and were planning on doing more hikes on Sunday. I'd like to go back to Zion soon to see some other parts of the park.
I filled up the entire 1GB memory card on my camera with pictures from the day! After deleting some of the duplicates and ones that didn't turn out, I ended with 217 keepers. If you have the time and patience to view 217 gorgeous pictures, you can see them here.


Mike said...

Dammmn Cheryl, that Angel's Landing sure DOES look scary as hell to me. A simple slip on some of those narrow parts if you're not holding on tight to that chain. Wow.. At least, that's what it looks like in the pictures..How many feet would you say you have on either side as you're going up??

LBC said...

I wanna go next time - and I'm going to make you camp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the best part! xo