Zion National Park

Happy centennial to the National Park Service! I’m going to celebrate by visiting as many National Parks as possible. First stop: Zion National Park. Michelle leaves for Atlanta today, which meant we only had part of Saturday and Sunday to travel before coming back to Vegas for her flight out. We picked Zion NP because it’s only a 2.5 hour drive.

We left LV late in the afternoon after a frenetic last day at CES. On the drive to Zion, we passed through 3 states (Nevada, Arizona, and Utah) and crossed a time zone (Mtn. time). We stayed in Springdale (population ~500), just outside of Zion for the night.

Early Sunday morning, we drove into the park. Before we even arrived, my jaw dropped. The massive cliffs and snowcapped striations made for a dramatic scene. The morning air was sharp and cold. Mm, mountain air!

We drove through the main Zion canyon, stopping to take some pictures along the way, before parking at the Weeping Rock trailhead. There were two paths up: one was very icy so naturally we took the other. (We didn’t have crampons, which would have been a nice thing to have on the snowy, partially icy trails.) After walking about an hour, we reached a fork with “Observation Point” on the left and “Hidden Canyon” on the right. Stupidly, no one remembered to bring the trail map (we were so excited to get on the trail), so we had no idea which way to go. We turned left toward Observation Point, but soon after the turn the snow started getting deeper and the trail narrower. Dad said we should turn back and go to the Emerald Pools trailhead so we retreated. After coming back down to the trailhead, we looked at the map and saw that Observation Point was still a long hike away (we hadn’t even finished a quarter of the trail) whereas we were halfway to Hidden Canyon. Oh well, another time.

Next stop: Emerald Pools Trailhead. We walked along the relatively flat, slightly icy trail before reaching an outlook featuring some water dripping into a small pool. The trail was closed past the outlook, so we turned around and went back. Dad and I may or may not have hiked along a trail that may or may not have been closed and we may or may not have seen a sign that said “$100 fine and mandatory court appearance if found on trail” and we may or may not have practically ran through the snow for 1.5 miles to get off the trail. Maybe. Or maybe not. We left Zion around midday and made it back to Vegas for a delicious Korean sundubu dinner.

Dad and I are visiting the Grand Canyon later this week so stay tuned for that!

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