Mountain Goats

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.

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Angle’s Landing

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.

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Up so early the moon is still out

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Angle’s … Angel’s landing, our goal

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Morning starts seeping into Zion valley

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Zion valley

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The trail taken so far, only a third of the way up

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The elusive Justin, camouflaged in its native environment

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Little tiny arches

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Up the wiggles

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Most of Zion still hasn’t seen the dawn

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To Scout Lookout

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Cliffs on both sides

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Time for the Chain

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Follow the Chain

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The trail is getting a little bit more difficult

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Still a lot farther to go

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Jonathan and Angel’s Landing

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Zion still waking up

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Cliffs to the left, cliffs to the right

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Geocache? Three digit lock shouldn’t take more than an hour to crack

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Keep going up and don’t look down

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Seriously, don’t look down

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The Chain is life

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Almost above the valley

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Keep climbing

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As we reach the end of the trail, the beginning starts getting sun

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The top and Angel’s landing

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A beautiful view on both sides

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Following the Cairns

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Hello Zion

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Looks like a new friend

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More people making their way up

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Justin with the valley

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An oasis in the desert

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A quick pic

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Last look before heading down

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Ready to descend

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The trail down

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Where is the elevator?

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The chain is slowly cutting through the mountain

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Without the chain the trail just blends in

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Heading back through Refrigerator Valley

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The bus stop is still miles away

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Walters Wiggle

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A local lizard

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Angel’s Landing seen the the banks of the Virgin River

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Spending the rest of the day at the pool with a view

A day with Bryce

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.

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Departing early from Moab 

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Those mountains contain retired Uranium mines

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Ohh look, some cows

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This fellow is very close to the road

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Oh my there is a heard of them

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These are clearly British cows

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This is actually average rush hour traffic in Utah (bonus: real cowboys!)

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A little rural village

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We arrive at Bryce Canyon

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Unlike most hikes we will be starting at the top and going down

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These columns of rock are called “hoodoos”

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Our destination is down there somewhere

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Glamour shot

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Getting in among  the hoodoos

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A little tiny arch

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Sunscreen is important

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A part in the rock reveals the canyon below

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This tree is holding on for dear life

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We’re hitting the switchbacks

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Getting further into the canyon

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Lazy people, I mean horse riders

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The TUNNEL!

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This hoodoo is called Queen Victoria

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Rangers will remind you not feed the animals, no matter how cute

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Five planes flying overhead

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Some rock bridges

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The texture created by water running down the rocks is fascinating 

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The only way out is up

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That is a lot of switchbacks

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Justin for scale

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Back at the top

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Looking down at the Queens Garden

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The last look out over the canyon

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Made it to Zion as the sun is setting

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Its amazing how much greener the terrain is here

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Looking out into Zion as the sun sets

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Google’s attempt at a wide angle shot (with several stitching errors)

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To get to our motel we have to go under the mountains

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One last picture of the valley

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Driving through Zion

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Wow