Kathryn and I stopped…somewhere…on the side of the road to sleep (I honestly can’t remember anymore, apart from the cemetery sleeping experience all of our sleeping in the car locations kind of blur together) before driving into Zion on the 22nd. I really wish we could have spent more time in Zion, that park is beyond amazing. With its majestic, towering cliffs and endless hikes, you could easily spend a week exploring.
We arrived, parked the car, and took the free shuttle to Weeping Rock. Our plan was to do a moderate hike over to Hidden Canyon, a lovely looking slot canyon hike. The trail begins with switchbacks straight up the canyon wall. Half an hour later and all out of breath already, we arrive at the split between Hidden Canyon and Observation Point. The trail to Observation Point continues zigzagging its way up while the Hidden Canyon trail seems to level out a bit. We questioned a passing hiker and he assured us that Observation Point was worth it, and the hike get’s way easier after the first mile. With half a gallon of water between us and only a couple of granola bars for energy we began our trek in the bright, hot, afternoon sun.
That. liar. The trail did not get easier! It got harder! It was the toughest 4 miles of my life! Well, the second mile leveled out and we went in between some canyons so it was nice and shaded and cool, but mile three almost killed Kathryn and I. Miles three and four were in direct sunlight almost the whole time. We didn’t really prepare or plan ahead, so we were shocked to hear that this hike took and average of 6 hours. Did I mention we didn’t start the hike until 12:30 in the afternoon? In the desert? We had hiked straight into hell, I’m almost certain I heard the devil laughing at us. The third mile took us straight up yet another cliff side in harsh sunlight and the fourth mile leveled out at the top to the edge. I must say though, it was worth it. Observation Point and Angel’s Landing are two of the most strenuous hikes in the park, and we were looking down on Angel’s Landing. It was quite cool. The views on the way up (and at the summit) made the hike totally worth it, and we felt quite accomplished.
Strangely enough, this hike felt way steeper than the Grand Canyon hike we did, but I think we covered the same altitude difference, even taking longer (miles wise) to do so on the Zion hike. We could definitely feel the slope taking a toll on our knees and ankles. Once we reached the bottom of the mountain Kathryn had an announcement to make: “I have made an executive decision. A while ago my mom gave me a credit card and said if I was ever in dire need of a bed to use it. We are getting a room tonight.” I couldn’t be happier with that decision; sleeping in the car, hiking, sweating and not showering for a week was definitely taking its toll. We found a nice little hotel right outside of the park, showered, ate dinner and passed out early. On the way down from Observation Point we had ended up talking to another hiker and he said Angel’s Lookout was a great hike and we should do it. Feeling ambitious, we decided we would see how we felt the next day and try to tackle that one in the morning.
(Spoiler alert: we never made it.)