It’s an absolute miracle that I ever agreed to leave Utah. It’s got all of the ingredients to be my own personal heaven. On the last day of this particular trip, I wanted to see the one that “everyone” seems to have visited. The apex of the trip for us had definitely been in Labyrinth Canyon, and now we were just sort of sailing through the last few days. Honestly it was really about me getting to see these places that Shannon had seen many times before. Because he’s patient and good-hearted, he agreed to return to Zion so I could see it. I was blown away by everything I saw. As with much of the rest of Utah, it was spectacular.
I mentioned in my previous post that we’d come strait from Bryce Canyon, which was a little over an hour drive. The view from the car window as you near the entrance, on a towering cliff lined 2 lane road was something I’ll never forget. Majestic and other-worldly, and completely unique and different from the other parks we visited. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this exceeded it.
The next morning we woke early enough to be able to catch the sunrise.
We knew we wanted to do a hike in Zion, and we’d considered hiking up to Angel’s Landing, which is one of the more popular hikes. In fact, it’s listed in many places as “one of the world’s most renowned hikes”. The reason we decided not to though was because it was still icy, and it’s also listed as steep with exposure to long drop offs. Several of the videos we watched about the very top looked dicey without ice, so we decided against it. We opted instead to walk on the paved trail to the start of “The Narrows” which is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, and an extremely popular wading/hiking experience that is very often full of other people. There’s an outfitter in Springdale devoted to this hike, and there were plenty of people in full waders in single digit temperatures. We considered trying it but ultimately decided against for many reasons, not the least of which was that it was pricey to rent the gear. I was not at all disappointed by the walk on the paved walking trail to the start of the Narrows.
Ultimately, after looking through all of the hikes and thinking through our timeframe, we decided to try out “The Watchman Trail”. It’s listed as a 3.3 mile moderately strenuous hike, and we liked the look of the mostly-empty parking lot at the trailhead. The Watchman is a 6,545 foot Sandstone mountain summit. The face of it is on a lot of the Zion National Park logos, and yet for some reason it’s said that visitors often miss it. It overlooks the entire Springdale area and begins and ends at the visitor center parking lot.
Side note – Shannon, with his super sonic vision, looked up on a rock ledge and spotted an unusual pair of punk rock sunglasses. They’re probably still there if you’d like to go and claim them.
The Watchman trail has some steep overlooks and some nice surprises. We saw some mule deer on the trail, and very few other people.
From Zion, we headed back to Las Vegas for our flight back to Atlanta. I’m going to tell about spending NYE 2020 in Las Vegas at the start of this trip next!