Travel,  Vacation

Utah Day 1 – Zion National Park

After a hearty breakfast at Porter’s Restaurant, we set out to Zion Nation Park. Though we stayed right on the shuttle stop, we were too impatient to wait for the Springdale shuttle and decided to walk the mile to the Zion shuttle stop. The line wasn’t very long, we got on the third bus and rode to stop #6 Grotto.

We were very fortunate to win the lottery to hike the Angels Landing. According to the ranger, there is only 5% chance to win the lottery. Our time slot was 9-12 in the morning. It was about 10:30 when we arrived at the Grotto shuttle stop where the ranger checked the permit and the permit holder’s ID (they are very strict about it, and the fine is hefty, $1200, if one gets caught hiking without a permit).

I guess we were too excited about the hike and completely ignored this sign, and followed the crowd and went left instead of the Scout’s Lookout on the right. We hiked this relatively easy 1 mile and saw the underwhelming pools before realizing that we were on the wrong trail.

Angels Landing

An hour later, we were back at the checkpoint and started this incredible hike.

The first part of the trail toward Scout’s Lookout was quite easy. It has some steep switchbacks, but nothing dangerous or crazy. Along the way, we saw some interesting rock formation. The kids were having fun hiding in the holes in the rocks, or climbing the switchback walls.

Finally, at a little before 1pm, we reached Scout’s Lookout where there was another check point for the Angels Landing permit. There was also a very very stinky bathroom at the Scout’s Lookout.

The next half mile has about 600 feet elevation gain, so it’s very steep. With exposed rocks, narrow passages, this is definitely not for the faint of the heart. However, this is indeed one hike worthy of anyone’s bucket list.

I was mostly focusing on keeping myself safe and stable, and didn’t take many pictures. When the lady coming down from the peak pointed at the chain and told me that’s the last pole and chain, I was elated and relieved.

Here we were, on top of the Angels Landing. To me the thrill of the hike is more memorable than the view itself. Acadia’s Precipice has the same effect on me. It feels like a hike of a lifetime.

Moabs on top of the Angels Landing, very grateful for these boots.

The hike down proved to be harder for me than the way up. My legs were already sore and shaky. Each big steps down took great effort, but it did go faster. The youngsters ran down the switchbacks, I could only watch in awe.

We were very blessed with great weather with very calm breeze. The ground was completely dry and free of snow and ice. I couldn’t imagine hiking Angels Landing in gusts, snow or ice. A week after we visited, there was a major snow storm in the area, thankfully that was after we had done the hike.

We were not planning to walk the narrows due to some time constraints we had, besides I don’t believe I can walk the whole narrows without falling into the cold water LOL. We took the shuttle and rode to stop #9 and walked the 1 mile Riverside walk and saw a little bit of the narrows and called it a day.

Our first day at the Mighty 5 ended with a nice dinner and beer at the brewery right by the visitor center. Their bread pudding with ice cream was gigantic and so tasty!

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