Tuesday, November 10, 2015

RoadTripTwo: Zion National Park

We had planned on spending the North Las Vegas night in a state park in Utah before driving to Zion. It wasn't too far from Las Vegas so we arrived in Zion only half a day behind schedule, which happened to coincide with the end of the rain storm that had hit the Southwest. Coincidence? Yeah, I think it probably was. We dropped Kala off at doggy boarding prior to entering the park. PETA said something mean about the National Parks Service at a party once and now NPS won't allow any pets on their hikes. It's kind of a sore subject. We don't talk about it. So Kala spent a couple days at Doggy Dude Ranch (true name) while Spring and I explored Zion Canyon.

And holy smokes it is pretty! I finally understand why Bob Marley was so obsessed with the place. The canyon is surrounded on either side by cliff faces thousands of feet tall, carved out over millions (??...well more than 30) of years by the rather unimpressive Virgin River.

It was late afternoon when we got there so we did a short hike, cooked some dinner, and retired to our sweet new camper van. Oh right, the camper van. I forgot to introduce you two. At the risk of boring you with my technical gearhead speak I'm going to lay out the specs on this baby:

  • Well it's just my minivan, but I took out the seats and built a plywood platform to sleep on so all of our gear could store underneath.....NOS!!

Genuine old bed sheet upholstery.
Strong Enough for a Man, Made for a Dog.

We had two full days in Zion. The first day we did the Angel's Landing hike. The hike goes up to the spine of a peak in the middle of the canyon with amazing views on either side. The amazing views are the result of 1,000 ft drops on either side. Apparently six people have died on this hike since 2004. That was posted at several locations on the trail. I think it was supposed to scare us into being safe but frankly it just made me feel more at ease. Not to make light of death. But if only six out of the hundreds of thousand of hikers over the last 12 years have died on the hike then I feel like my odds are really good. Better than my odds of not dying while driving out of the park, or while dressing up like a cow at a slaughterhouse. Needless to say we didn't make it.......(Cliff Hanger)....back in time for lunch, so we just ate some granola bars and cheese crackers while we hiked.

On day two we hiked The Narrows. The narrows are a part of the Virgin river where the cliff faces go straight up on either side of the river. The width of the canyon is narrow relative to the height of the towering cliff faces; about 20 ft wide at the narrowest point. Hence, the name. The water in the river in November is 45 degrees F so we had to rent dry pants and neoprene socks and river shoes so that we wouldn't get hypothermia. We also had to carry wizard staffs for fighting off river trolls who tried to steal our gold. They were good for balance too.

Though shall not pass!

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