2018 is proving to be one of my best years. I’ve really been trying to live my best life this year. One of the things that is helping me do that is trying to visit places I’ve never been before. One of those places that I really wanted to visit was Zion National Park in Utah. On what seemed like a whim, my friend and I decided to go. And let me just say this, I’ve never seen anything like this before. It is absolutely stunning. And its stunning in a different way than looking at the New York skyline at night or a beautiful piece of jewelry. Its the kind of stunning that you cannot believe what you see is real. Even after spending 2 1/2 days there, I still can’t believe I’ve been there. If you ever get the chance to go, just go.
Day 1: The Narrows
Oh, the Narrows. Easily, pictures of the Narrows are some of the most recognizable. You will frequently see pictures of the Wall Street portion, especially if you search for “The Narrows” on Google. So, of course, we had to do it. Now, when I say I did research on this, it might be an understatement. I wanted to know exactly what I was getting myself into. Most travel forums will tell you that you need to rent the special gear that consists of neoprene socks, special water shoes and a walking stick. Since the idea of wearing shoes that thousands of others have worn grosses me out, I went in another direction. I wore my shoes that I bought for a Spartan race. They can get wet and have drainage holes on the side. For socks, I bought performance wool socks. And they worked perfectly. They provided the grip I needed when traversing over submerged rocks and the wool socks helped keep the heat in so my feet didn’t suffer from the cold.
This hike is so much fun. Albeit, it was exhausting and at some point, I just wanted out of the water. But it was fun and a unique experience. We went about 2.5 miles down and back for a total of about 5 miles. It took us about 4 hours. The slot canyons, especially in the part known as Wall Street are incredible. As you continue on, you can see evidence of flash floods and years of the Virgin River carving out the rock. It really made me appreciate the power of nature.
Day 2: Angel’s Landing, Kayenta, Lower and Upper Emerald Pools
One of the most popular hikes in ZNP is Angel’s Landing. The majority of the hike is a regular, mostly paved trail. And it just keeps ascending. The end game is to put your life in the Universe’s hands to climb over a narrow summit to Angel’s Landing. We ended up not going that far, as the amount of people was a deterrent. Who wants to be on a summit with steep drop offs and a width of only a few feet while having to share it with someone going the other way? Not I, is the answer. Nevertheless, we made it to the part of the trail in which you can have a seat, look out over the canyon and watch all the crazy people make their way to Angel’s Landing. And that was just fine. The trail was challenging enough without going all the way, and the view is still ridiculous. Since this hike only took us a few hours, we decided to tack on some additional trails.
Specifically, we decided to start on the Kayenta Trail, which connects to the Upper and Lower Emerald Pool trails. This makes for a very fun afternoon. The Kayenta trail was just challenging enough after doing the Angel’s Landing trail. The Emerald Pools were pretty neat, and I’m glad we decided to go. What is great about this set of trails is that when you go from Kayenta to Lower Emerald Pools, you end up at the Zion Lodge. They have a cafe there where you can get a snack before heading out again.
Day 3: Pa’rus
While we were getting ready to leave this amazing place, we had to squeeze 1 more trail in. Before breakfast, we choose an easy hike to top off our trip. We choose the Pa’rus Trail. This trail really cannot be called a trail. It is flat and paved and is more like a walk along the river. Nonetheless, it was great. This trail would especially for those in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller, etc. It was proof that you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to experience the beauty of ZNP. It ended up being a perfect ending to magical trip.
In total, my visit to Zion National Park will go down as one of m favorite vacations. Being in a place this vast puts life into perspective. I would urge everyone to visit parks like this if they can. Spending time in nature is good for the soul.
Coming soon…Zion 2018 Part 2: The Food.