Facing Fears, Rock Slides & Mountain Cats in Zion National Park.
Monument Valley, Arizona → Zion National Park, Utah: 3hours 44mins – 226miles.
There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you go to a place you’ve never been before. It’s a different kind of excitement. An anticipation. Not knowing what to expect or what you’re going to discover and see there. This is how I felt as we travelled the 4 hours from Monument Valley to Zion. Arizona and Utah are my favourite states in America purely for the views, scenery and the amazing wonders these desert states have to offer. It’s nothing like you’ve seen before and makes you realise how diverse America actually is when comparing these places to New York and San Francisco. Even the people, their culture and their history. So, we enter Utah…
Zion National Park is 229 square miles! It’s most prominent feature is Zion Canyon which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep. We came in through the main park entrance which took us on a windy trip into Zion so we were able to get our first taste of what this park had to offer. Mountains, Navajo Sandstone and Forestry. Incredible views…
We parked up and walked around before the sun set as we got in pretty late and we just could not wait until tomorrow to see this stunning place! So we grab a few drinks and headed into the park.
Due to the popularity of this park, we struggled to find somewhere to camp so we ended up driving through Springdale which is a small village attached to the park and found a unique spot in the woods – free of charge! We couldn’t believe our luck when we woke up once again with breath-taking views of the park!
Like every morning, we set off as early as possible to hike and explore. We had heard a lot about the infamous ‘Angel’s Landing’ hike and wanted to go check it out. Getting around Zion Park was so easy! We just parked the car up by the visitor’s centre and then there is a free shuttle bus every 15 minutes to take you to 9 different stops in the park depending on what hikes you wanted to do. If you were unsure, they had a tannoy system on the bus, that you can just about hear if you’re lucky enough to be on a bus without screaming children.. and the person speaking on the tannoy would give you information about what hikes were available at different stops, how strenuous the hikes were and any history they had. So we got off at stop 6 and headed for the ‘West Rim Trail’ which eventually led to the ‘Angel’s Landing’ trail and boasted great views of the Zion Canyon.
The walk was strenuous because it was so steep! My legs were still sore from our adventurous Grand Canyon hike so to call it a burning sensation is putting it mildly! However, the views did not disappoint and like every hike, made it all worth it. We also witnessed a Rock Slide on the edge of the Canyon!! The noise was immense, like a loud echoed crash. As we turned, we could see a cloud of dust making its way down towards the bottom of the canyon. A rockslide. Just incredible!!
As we got to the top of the West Rim Trail, there were two options, to hang out at the top and soak in the immense views of Zion Canyon or to continue on and climb up ‘Angel’s Landing’. When I said climb, I meant climb! There were no paths and the only support offered to hikers was a chain rope to help pull yourself up onto the rocks. Absolutely nothing there to prevent you from meeting an early death. Seeing as I was enjoying my life a little too much right then, Karolina and I decided against the climb and the boys went ahead. Instead, we chilled out with the views and the chipmunks.
The second hike we did in the afternoon was at the very last stop for the shuttle bus and it came as a recommendation from fellow hikers that we spoke to on our way up to Angel’s Landing. The hike was called ‘The Narrows’ and it basically a hike through the Virgin River which ran through the Colorado Plateau. Hang on now… walking up a river?! With a fear of water and athlete’s foot?! Nuh uh. Not doing it. But after some encouragement, persuasion and a stick from Jon – I agreed to ‘try’ it. Despite a rocky start with anxiety, panic and strong currents, I got the hang of it and absolutely loved it. One of the best moments of my life. Walking through a river. Who would’ve thought it. My dad would argue I could’ve easily done at home if I wanted to. But the views… Could not compete!
After our day of hiking and trekking through rivers, we thought we’d treat ourselves campfire burgers tonight and bought meat, a grill and a few beers (or Strawberitas in my case!). We were all in good spirits and Karolina showed off her cooking skills from summer camp and cooked the burgers. Yuuuuuum!
We ended our time at Zion around the campfire with people who were also camping in this section of the woods that we had invited over for beer and marshmallows (they were from different parts of the US, Germany and India!). Once they had gone, we took our camping mats up the hill and stargazed for an hour or so before calling it a night. We also had another visitor at camp during the night as he had left his paw print marks in the mud… That’s the risk with outdoor cooking. It attracts the wildlife. Bears, Mountain Cats… they all want to join the party. Luckily, we survived the night and we were buzzing as we headed towards our next destination – VEGAS!!