After spending a week in Nevada, it was time to say goodbye and drive into what would be an amazing road trip through Utah. Our first stop would be Zion National Park. Although swarming with tourists that time of year (and we happened to go there on NO FEE weekend, which meant our annual pass was useless and there was probably more people then usual!), it wasn’t exactly something we could just drive past.
First off, Utah is GLORIOUS, and Zion epitomizes everything that is so great about Utah. The canyons, sandstone pillars and towers, the foliage and the landscape are just breathtaking. Once again I have compiled a small gallery of some of my favourite photos, with a link below to view the full gallery on Google photos.
We arrived at Zion in the middle of the afternoon, which meant that all the campsites had already been taken. Not wanting to spend over $300 USD for lodging, I went online to scour the internet for a free camping place nearby. Luckily, I found something online and the Toyota FJ Cruiser was going to have no problems making it up the dirt road up the mountain. Driving through here at sunset, we found many people knew about this place but there was plenty of space to go around. I even got a fantastic shot of the sun setting on Zion National Park from far away.
The first afternoon that we arrived, we hopped onto the free shuttle bus which would be our only way into Zion for that time of year. We decided to do the tour up and down to get a feel for everything, hopping out once or twice for a quick walk or to take in the impressive big walls looming above us. We were even fortunate enough to see a couple groups of climbers doing some big wall climbs and that was certainly inspiring for the amateur climbers that we are.
We went to bed early that night, making ourselves dinner while huddling in the dust that was inevitable everywhere in Utah. We rose bright and early, packed up our tents and headed out to catch the first shuttle at 7am to get a chance at beating most of the crowd on the infamous Angel’s Landing hike. It was a good plan and the shuttle bus was entirely packed, with everyone except one couple getting off at the Angel’s Landing trailhead! We stretched our legs for a moment and then started on a brisk hike uphill. It wasn’t long before we were passing multitudes of people, weighed down by the inexperience of hiking uphill and probably less motivated then we were to reach the top first. The switchbacks went on and on but before long, we arrived at the top at the first lookout and took in a breathtaking view. From here, called Boy Scout landing, we would scramble along the narrow passage towards the summit of Angel’s Landing. One pair arrived there just before us, and we would have the entire place mostly to ourselves for an hour or two until the hoards of people began to arrive!
We scampered, or rather ran, down Angel’s Landing and found some lunch in the local town of Springdale. The day before, we had arranged for an overnight permit in the park at the East Rim. The West Rim hike, which had been our original preference, had already sold out. That afternoon we started our 7 mile hike to the East Rim. Unfortunately, the weather turned bad here and it got increasingly cold and windy and later that evening started to rain. When we woke up the next morning, we were delighted to see sunlight illuminating the tent. It was short lived. After a short snooze, the sun quickly disappeared and was replaced instead… by SNOW! We hurriedly packed up camp, foregoing both our treasured coffee and breakfast and began our descent down. There were various periods of hail, snow and light rain but we managed to get back to our vehicle relatively dry before the real storm began. The rest of our trip in Utah would be marred by bad weather and many of our plans were unfortunately forgone. However, the road trip itself was still epic and rain, hail, snow or sleet Utah is an incredible state.
The Utah road trip will continue in another post!