Friday, August 5, 2016

Zion National Park

Well before we ever approached Zion National Park it had an air of danger to me because of a few things I had read about the park; flash flooding, cliff falls and heat being dangerous, deadly and real risks.  That feeling did not dissipate once I saw the cliffs of Zion as they are beautiful yes, but also intimidating and not to be taken lightly!  

One of the favorite activities we’ve done on our trip was here in Zion; we went canyoneering!  We had a fantastic guide, Andy, who took us up into Water Canyon (we hiked up) and then on a series of repels down the canyon.  He was clearly a professional and we felt 100% safe in his hands and instructions.  I never would have believed that I would willingly step off of an 80 foot cliff, nor let my children do so, but under his guidance we did exactly that!  

Harris’ favorite repel was one that ended in a pool of water.  We got soaking wet at least twice.  

The next day, we went on a series of short hikes in Zion.  We explored the Emerald Pools and the Weeping Cliff.  

We had a picnic lunch under the most gorgeous Cottonwood Tree at the Lodge.  The tree provided blessed relief from the heat with a breeze and shade!

Before we ever left for our trip, Harris and Grace were asking to hike Angel’s Landing.  This hike is not for the faint of heart nor is it to be taken lightly as it can be extremely dangerous in the last 1/2 mile.  Even after having done it, I’m still not sure how I feel about it!  If I hadn’t known that Bryce would be incredibly methodical and conscientious with our children, I wouldn’t have allowed them to go.  They were lectured, and re-lectured about focus, points of contact and seriousness (also, we went when it wasn’t busy, I would not want to be on this hike with a lot of people).  This hike is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Walters Wiggles are named after the Superintendent of the park who pushed for the trail to be made and who had the idea to put in the 21 steep, tight switchbacks leading up to the top.  Once you get to a certain point, Scout’s Landing, the trail is marked by chains that lead up to the tippy top.

We hiked from the bottom to the top!

 The skinny part?  You have to hike up that!

We were slow and patient but we did make it to the top!  At the top, you are rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the canyons and valley below.  

We were fortunate to be able to hike The Narrows as well.  The Narrows is a hike through a slot canyon where most of the hiking is done in the Virgin River and there is little to no high ground.  Flash Floods are a very real danger, especially this time of year during the Monsoon season.  The Rangers have a four point warning system of, “not expected, possible, probable and likely.”  Bryce and I had determined that we would only go on a “not expected” day (they hadn’t had one in a week and a half prior to our visit) and on our last day we were able to go.

It was certainly a new experience to hike in water and on rocks the entire time!  It was beautiful and I’m so glad that we got to experience it. 

Also, the Virgin River ran next to our campground and the children were able to tube down it!  They loved it!

Next stop… The Hoover Dam

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