11th – 13th June, 2017
Still struggling to leave Utah, I found myself in the Zion National Park area. I pitched up at a little campsite just outside the entrance to the National Park on early Sunday afternoon and decided to do a short walk in the Park that day. The views as you drive through the park are incredible and make it quite dangerous in terms of how much you are concentrating on the road!
Unfortunately, as every Park is different I had failed to appreciate that there was a shuttle system in operation, which means you have to park at a central point and get shuttled out to trailheads for hiking. As a result of not realising this, I found myself driving straight back out the other side! Slightly put off by the crowds I had seen inside (it was Sunday) I decided to find somewhere else to do a short hike that afternoon and found myself on a lovely trail, that rather ominously started with this sign:
Shortly after entering, an absolutely giant hare ran across my path, leading me to wonder whether if I followed him I might find myself at a tea party 🙂 (Alice in Wonderland, for those of you who wonder what on earth I am talking about).
Once again I had stumbled on a spot where there was not a soul around, and enjoyed a peaceful walk along the Chinle trail with views of Mount Kinesava.
The following day, I managed to figure out the Park system and got up early to head out. While I normally try and avoid the crowds I had decided to undertake one of the more ‘famous’ routes – that of Angel’s landing, a 454 metre (1,488 feet) rock formation that offers fantastic views over Zion. A steep climb up to Scout lookout, you then have the choice as to whether to undertake the final half mile to the end of the narrow ridge that runs along the precipice.
Angel’s landing is the one in shadow in the middle.
As someone with a fear of heights, which I have spent a long time trying to overcome this, I was pleased to find that I appear to have come along way. It’s difficult to see on this photo, but here’s me standing right on the edge with a 450 metre sharp drop behind me – I think I look relatively calm considering 😉
Whilst on Angel’s landing I was lucky enough to run into Anna, another solo female hiker and road-tripper.
We decided to carry on past Angel’s landing along the West Rim trail, which climbs higher and offers spectacular views over the park. I have found that it is quite easy to get away from the crowds even in the National Parks if you are happy to hike that little bit further, which was certainly the case along the West Rim.