As with Arches, I had unfinished business at Zion. I skipped the Angels Landing hike last year and was determined to complete it this year.
As I did last year I stopped in Panguitch, UT to stay at the Canyon Lodge motel and do laundry. The owners of the Canyon Lodge are great people and really friendly. They also have updated their rooms and are quite nice.
I wanted pizza and they pointed me towards C Stop Pizza and Deli. I had the Hawaiian pizza. It felt good to eat a lot of food after a long day and thow a few pieces in my cooler for the next day.
I arrived at Zion early to get a parking spot near the visitors center. I wanted to do some shopping at the visitor’s center, make some coffee and organize my backpack.
I took the shuttle bus to my stop and really enjoyed the views while climbing out of the canyon.
I eventually arrived at the chains section. This is the section that people can either handle or turn around. Trust me… keep going.
The view of the final half mile is a really great sight. Basically you will have to hike up the spine of the mountain below.
As you can see from the pictures there are not that many trees or opportunities to take a rest. It was the middle of the day and we were in southern Utah in July so it was very hot. I took a number of breaks ascending the mountain as I felt like I was about to faint a few times. I really am a weakling when it comes to altitude. This is unfortunate because it really limits me at times in some parks.
As with every national park, people are friendly and more than willing to take your picture if you are alone. I met a number of people just taking a break or patiently waiting for people going the opposite way to pass. I had originally wanted to go first thing in the morning to avoid the heat but heading up later in the morning meant less traffic on the chains.
I finally made it to the top and couldn’t believe how high I climbed that day. The valley and mountains were beautiful. I compared the top of Angel’s Landing to walking on a roof as the sides were slanted towards the cliff face.
Heading down was a lot easier than pulling and climbing up. I quickly navigated my way back to Scouts Landing.
I started our way down the mountain and what I thought was going to be an easy stroll turned into me complaining about my knees. Am I really that old?!
After hiking down the mountain I stopped to soak my feet in the Virgin River before heading back to the visitor’s center. The water felt so great on my feet. A lot of other hikers had the same idea and trickled in and out after their hikes. I had swam in this river the previous year when doing the Narrows hike. It is cold but refreshing.
I stayed at the Best Western Plus about 30 minutes west of the park in La Verkin, UT. It was a very nice hotel with a nice pool and breakfast in the morning. On the way to the hotel I saw a really cool sunset. I wanted to stop to take a picture but didn’t want to stop as I was exhaused and needed some food and rest.
It was already 9pm so I went to drive around and find some food. We stumbled into the Stagecoach Grille. I asked if they would be open and they were more than happy to seat me for dinner. The food and staff were excellent and I could see why the place was packed. The owner came over, bought me another beer and was telling me how he had bought a barn and then used it to incorporate into the design on the restaurant.
The owner had lived all over the world but decided to settle in the area after he fell in love. He also was bragging about how many of his employees are dating or already have been married. He seemed like an amateur matchmaker. He had done a great job of attracting tourists as well as locals. I would definitely recommend eating here if you are in the area. I laughed when in using the men’s room I saw a sign that said “Hell Yes You Can Leave the Seat Up!”
After dinner, I went back to the hotel and had a nice night of talking and resting from the hard day of hiking.
The next day I was back on the road. I was on my way to California and Sequoia National Park…
To be continued!