This weekend I did my first hike of the season to the beautiful Lake Twentytwo. There was still some snow on Mt. Pilchuck and the waters of the lake were clear and ice cold. Overall a very nice hike.
Our last day in Zion we booked an adventure to go into the wilderness for some rock climbing and canyoneering. Climbing in the morning until our arms were to sore to go up the rock walls, we then headed into the canyons, learn how to rapel and squeeze through tight places. After the adventure there was just enough sunlight left to back into Zion proper and do the easy Emerald Pools trail getting one last look at the beautiful landscape before we leave the next morning.
Second day in Zion we got up early to rent some dry pants and wet shoes, to keep up warm and grippy for Zion’s most unique hike. The Narrows is a ‘trail’ which is really just hiking up the Virgin river with 1000 ft rock walls on either side. At any time of the year this is a difficult and dangerous hike, as its mostly wading through freezing cold water hopping to avoid a flash flood. In October the waters are low and the chance of a flood is near zero, the journey through the river was still fantastic.
We wrapped our feet in insulating neoprene socks, to insulate our feet even tough the will be submerged in cold water for a few hours. We put on our dry pants to keep our legs dry and warm. We wrapped up phones and cameras, hopping to keep them dry and unharmed. Grabbed our walking sticks and headed out.
The Narrows is unlike any hike, there was no mountain to climb and no overlook points to reach. The trail was almost completely flat and there was less to see the deeper you go. The ‘trail’ goes for 20 miles, but the farther bits need a permit. I recommend going as far as you can as its spectacular. We were sharing the river with many other people at the beginning, but miles upstream people turn around or stop and when we reached Wall Street we almost were alone.
Our first full day in Zion we get an early start on one of the parks most iconic hikes. Angel’s landing, climbing up dozens of switchbacks to walk over a narrow ridge with cliffs on both side hanging on to an anchored chain for dear life. A challenging hike, but the view of the valley as the sun came up was completely worth it.
The fifth day of the trip consisted mostly of driving in the car, going from Moab in the east of Utah to Zion in the west. We broke up the long drive by stopping in Bryce Canyon National Park for a bit of hiking.
On our third day in Moab we return to Arches National Park for a walk through Devil’s Garden. We stopped by the Landscape arch viewing area then took the path less traveled through the garden. The Primitive Loop was an excellent hike, not very challenging but it was rough and long enough that we had the trail to ourselves for most of the hike. Add to that a few rock scrambles and amazing views and it was a wonderful day.
Arches is an excellent place for some star gazing, as ther is little light pollution. Unfortunately for us it was also a full moon. We only had a few hours of darkness before the moon came up to ruin any good views. Between the moon and the clouds I did get a small window to practice taking some starscapes.