|looking down on Angel's Landing|
If you aren't familiar with Zion this hike has quite the reputation (not a hike for solitude), complete with signs that mention you can die when you fall off cliffs. After Scouts Landing the trail climbs over 500 feet on a narrow spine. Many sections are super exposed and you can look down both sides of the canyon below, there are chains to help your travel and a few small landings to let people pass and catch your breath. Definitely not for those with a fear or heights.
|people heading up to the top|
|and I'm so very far from the ground...|
|and the top|
|looking back up the canyon|
The trail was starting to get crowded but well worth the spectacular views. I tuned out the high school lecture I was stuck behind (man I'm jealous of that field trip) and enjoyed my morning side trip. Down was much scarier than the climb up but less than half a mile and I was back to my backpack and heading down the final 2 miles to the Zion shuttle stop at the Grotto.
The entire trail down was paved and some pretty spectacular engineering went on there. Known as "Walter's Wiggles" the CCC of the 1930's deserves some major credit for that trail building. I made it down, enjoyed bathrooms with running water and caught the shuttle back to the visitors center.
|looking back up at the Landing|
What proceeded was a lot of hours of me running in circles and battling with myself about cost and logistics. Long story short minimum shuttle passengers are 2, and I am clearly solo. So I would have to pay double. Plus the water temps were still in the 40's in the Virgin River and I was told hypothermia is a real risk and renting cold weather gear was a must. Things changed a few times but after a few trips around town I finally rented some gear and switched shuttles to head out at 9:30 with a mystery couple the next day. I didn't have to pay for an imaginary friend and I was going to have a nice and easy late start.
After all the logistical shenanigans and a nice nap I figured I had enough time for a little more exploring. I walked back to the park and grabbed the shuttle. I went on the very short weeping rock trail and then back to the shuttle.
|and yes the rock was weeping...|
Back on the shuttle I realized I was pretty darn tired and vetoed any more hiking. I decided to stop at the Court of the Patriarchs. I'd only seen them as the shuttle had driven past on its loop but the rocks were pretty amazing. I had a book and my dinner and spent the last few hours of daylight enjoying the view and the Virgin River.