I departed San Luis Obispo on Saturday and  arrived in Las Vegas around 6 local time to break up the drive to Zion National Park. I took a walk around the strip and walked thru a couple of the hotels to check things out. The sights were interesting, but I must admit Vegas was just not my thing. I remember going here in my early 20’ and had a fun time, but its just so… full of people but void of life and just seemed like everyone was looking for a cash grab, it just wasn’t my scene anymore.  I did watch some college football and gave a small donation to Caesar at blackjack but ended up going to sleep pretty early.

I woke up early and drove to Zion National Park on Sunday and went right to Angels Landing trailhead to get  back into nature. It was a beautiful day at 70 degree and a clear sky. Angels Landing was great. The hike up was on a paved and stone staircase that was a bit strenuous but not technical at all. When I reached the first trailhead at scout landing the challenge began. The staircase ended and became a very narrow set of steps overlooking a cliff and provided a chain to hold onto for the last half mile. The sign at the beginning even mentioned 14 deaths that have occurred since 1987. I took this slowly and reached the first bluff along the chained which provided a beautiful view.

The next section started with an even thinner set of steps before the climb up the final bluff. I started this climb but after a few steps decided I needed to realize my limitation and turn back. I didn’t feel my sense of balance was adequate to do this with he amount of people on the path. I also get a bit of vertigo at heights that I had first started noticing when driving thru the narrow mountain roads early in my trip.

I contemplated my decision for a while before fully turning back, maybe I work  on my balance this year and come back in the future, but it was not meant to happen this trip.

I still had a lot of time left in the day so I decided to hike the Emerald Pools trail since it shared a trailhead with Angels Landing. This was a nice trail, the lower pools were mostly dried up by the upper pool was a nice visual. In total it was around 7.5 miles and 3200 feet of elevation gain, so a pretty good day of hiking

On Monday I decided to do 3 of the shorter hikes in the park to get a chance to see all of the sights.  I first drove thru the Zion Mountain tunnel and did the short in and out hike to the Canyon Overlook trail. The peak of this trail was truly beautiful and provide some stunning views of the area.

My next hike was the Watchman trail that started at the visitor center. This was another beautiful hike with just some minor elevation gains. I was even lucky enough to find some big horn sheep in the small loop trail at the top. I kept my distance but was able to get some photos.

My final hike of the day was the narrow river trail. The beginning of the trail is paved along the river thru a narrowing canyon. When the pavement end the trail is actually on the stream. I was aware of this but had decided not to rent water boots and bibs as I knew I would not have time to do the hike thru the water. By the time I returned to my car the sun was close to setting.

I stopped at Zion Canyon brewing and tried some of the local beers. They were quality beers but their IPAs were lacking in hop flavor and it was a stretch to call them IPA’s

I have decided to not go to Flagstaff and Grand Canyon this weekend, it will be a high of 30 degrees and it will snow on Friday. Figure in the wind in the Canyon and it would just not be that fun. I am heading to Moab and Arches National Park today on my way to Denver where I will spend a week before returning to Madison late next week. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone when I return!!

Zion National Park – https://photos.app.goo.gl/NdZX87SpPk9HBVCR9

Las Vegas – https://photos.app.goo.gl/XsdKMdAc9XKeJVDo8

Highlights

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