Friday, April 8, 2022

Spring Break Recap :: Zion National Park

We came back from our Spring Break trip a week ago and had an amazing time. I wanted to do a recap just in case you're thinking about doing the same trip. Visiting National Parks was on our list for a while but the timing was never right. We were supposed to go with friends but they couldn't make it at the last minute. I am glad we went anyway. It was definitely a memorial trip. All photos were taken with my new Canon EOS R5 camera and the Canon Ultra-Wide EF 16-35mm F/2.8L lens.
We flew into Las Vegas. It was a 3.5 hour direct flight from Columbus, OH. From there, we rented a car and drove to Utah. The drive was 2.5 hours. We stayed at Wild Flower Resort the first night. I love camping but don't like the idea of sleeping in the tent so glamping is perfect for me =) We stayed in a covered wagon and Madelyn had so much fun. Such a cool experience!
We were ready to explore Zion the next morning. Two famous hiking trails were on the agenda: Angel's Landing and the Narrows. We got up super early, stopped by Sol Foods Supermarket to grab breakfast, snacks and water. Got to the Visitor Center at 6:45 a.m. and had no issue getting a parking spot. I would highly recommend going as early as possible. Parking spot fills up very quickly. We were in the first shuttle. Started at the trailhead around 7:30 a.m. Zion charges $35 per vehicle but you don't need to pay for anything else. The hike up the West Rim to Scout Lookout is no joke! Be prepared. It's breathtakingly beautiful but strenuous. Uphill the entire way. Scout Lookout was a nice rest stop before the chains section which is the most dangerous part of the hike. I debated on whether to climb the final part of the hike. We knew that we absolutely will not take Madelyn. It's one of the most dangerous hikes in the U.S.  According to one of the workers, about one hiker a year dies on the hike. Seasonal lottery opened 4/1 to limit the number of people hiking the chain section of the hike. It was basically my only chance to finish the hike without a permit. After much thought and consideration, I decided to go for it. Hubby stayed with Madelyn Scout Lookout and off I went. It was scary but as long as you stay focused and plan every step, you should be fine. I made it to the top in 30 minutes. The views are absolutely amazing! Pictures will never do Zion justice. Seeing it person is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Coming down was a lot harder but everyone was super mindful, patient and courteous though. Took me 1.5 hour to finish this portion of the hike. I am so glad I did it.
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We were done with Angel's Landing around 1:00 p.m. Had lunch then took the shuttle to the Narrows. If you're not familiar with the Narrows, it's a hike that takes you into the Virgin River surrounded by sheer rock walls and amazing beauty. The hike from the shutter to the start of the Narrows is about 1 mile then the entire hike is in the river. We wanted to check it out first before deciding if we should rent the gear for the hike. The water was extremely cold. In order to rent the gear, we would have to hike back, take the shuttle, get the gear, back to the park, hike to the start of the Narrows then continue from there. We were all getting tired after hiking Angel's Landing so we decided to hike without the gear for a little bit and see what happens. Like I mentioned, the water was absolutely freezing. My toes were numb as soon as they touched the water. We were able to go for 10 mins and decided that it was time to turn around. I am glad we got to experience the Narrows a little bit. One of the greatest experiences for sure.

We were able to accomplish what we set out to do. Angel's Landing and the Narrows are classed as strenuous. We were exhausted at the end of the day but it was totally worth it. Next stop - Arizona! Stay tuned =)

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