I rolled out of my car, ate a quick breakfast and threw the last of my gear together. I headed over to the store and my morning shuttle stop and along with a few others hopped on the van and headed out.
The Zion adventure Company had it all set up for us, we dropped 2 folks off to do a different trail and then 5 of us were able to cache some water at the Hop Valley Trailhead and then finally headed over to Lee Pass. This was quite the circuit and was at least 2 hours worth of driving. Still getting to see the Kolob Road and caching water was well worth the time.
Our permits were checked at the Kolob visitors center where I was mistaken for a guide. So apparently I look like I know what I'm doing, or maybe its just the sloppy sleeping in my car hiker trash vibe I apparently still have. Either way I thought it was pretty funny (and hey, who doesn't like being mistaken for a guide?) Soon enough I was on my way. Within a mile or two I passed the other two couples who had been on the shuttle and was thankfully welcomed into a much quieter side of Zion. I passed a few small creeks in the shadow of more giant rock. Watched thunder clouds start to build and made my way towards La Verkin Creek.
I passed a few other folks but it was pretty peaceful. A huge change from my time in the main canyon the day before. The colors of the rocks are amazing and the trees flare neon green in the sunlight. La Verkin creek was beautiful to walk by and a few springs/creeks were flowing with delicious cold water. For views and swimming holes alone I'd be tempted to camp at site 6 but I was glad I had farther to go, the sandy sections of trail were pretty much the only downer of my morning. It was still early in the day and I was excited to see more of the park.
I made the quick side trip (maybe a mile?) to see the Kolob Arch. A little more creek scrambling than I expected but a pretty view.
I crossed the creek and said goodbye to my creekside trail. Soon enough I was climbing up the Hop Valley trail, enjoying my clouds, a few more snakes and a little more sandy trail than I wanted. The climb was short and the views just got better. Then it was time to drop down into Hop Valley, across the shallow creek and down more sandy trail. Minutes later I had made it to campsite B, my home for the night.
|can you find the gopher snake?|
In a nice shady grove I sat down debating my afternoon. It was still early and I felt like I could keep hiking but after snacking I found myself eyeing the approaching thunderstorm and thinking taking it easy didn't actually sound that bad. Soon enough I was passed out sleeping for a good 2 hours. Guess a short day wasn't such a bad idea for my sleep deprived self. I felt surprisingly exhausted for only 10.5 miles of hiking but after my nap at least I was up for some exploring.
|my campsite tucked into the trees|
|the creek bed had been flowing a few hours earlier, on my second pass the creek had receded leaving dry sand|
A relaxing end to my afternoon, reading and watching the very active local turkey waddle around. I hid under some trees while a little bit of rain spit down and enjoyed another cloud filled sunset. My plan for my second day is around 24 miles so it will be an early start with me trying to avoid expected highs of 88 and pretty much zero water sources other than my cache 5 miles into the morning and a mystery spring along wildcat canyon trail.