With a full day at Zion ahead of us to explore was exciting, because this was the first real hike that we were going to take on our trip. Driving from Hurricane, Utah with views you cannot witness anywhere on earth. The first two shots here were from the car, but an these views are wildly awesome!
With the rain starting to pour down on this day, it didn’t dampen our spirits, because that reminded us of the time we hiked at the Great Smoky Mountains. Similar weather of fog and rain with lush greens and big mountains to look up and admire.
We parked our car close by, gathering only the necessities for the hike. Camera gear in hand, ponchos, whistles, water, protein bars, and determination we got some cover from the rain and entered the very busy visitor center. Stamped our passport books, making this now official. We then asked a park ranger at the information booth which trails to try out. I really wanted to do The Narrows Trail to get those epic shots and experience it first hand, but with the amount of rain, the trail was closed off this day from being flooded. We then decided to do the Angels Landing Trail. The starting point was at the number 6 shuttle stop called The Grotto. We hopped on the bus and made our way up the mountain with a packed bus.
Prior to heading up on the Angels landing Trail in Zion National Park, the weather was perfect for hiking this steep trail with the average temperature around 65-70F. Along with the high humidity, sweating was a slight problem. Too much sweating and going up in elevation is no good. You can go through water much more quickly. Also, the higher elevation makes your lungs work harder. all in all we were able to manage this by dressing accordingly. Before heading up the mountain I took this shot. (shown below). I enjoyed the sounds of the river, the birds chirping, a mist floating in the air, and watching the fog slowly pass the mountains above.
Procrastinating on the beach, we finally headed on the trail. I noticed this poor cactus flower sitting on the ground. It must have been freshly picked by someone, and left there, so I picked it up. I couldn't find a picture of the flower I found, but here (right) is the same cactus flower. I tried my best to keep it alive, and protected it in my pocket for days that followed.
This shot (above) was taken on the top of the mountain. With it being a little sketchy and narrow on some parts I was a little scared, but luckily my nerves calmed down. After making it to the top, there was a lot of chipmunks! I couldn't believe it! 😍 They were so cute but they were begging for food. Their cuteness did not win the battle with me. Please do not feed the animals, because it ruins their ability to hunt and makes them more aggressive towards humans. Before reading this sign and making the decision to not go the extra step, or fall I stayed here and took some more photos.
Going down the mountain was fairly easy and nerves completely gone, we didn’t have enough time to spend. Las Vegas being the next stop on this trip, and having to check-in later that day, we had to get going. After we left the park, the weather moved out and the blue skies appeared.
We decided after a long morning and exercise, we got something to eat at this awesome southwestern restaurant. Even with ponchos we needed some time to get situated with clean dry clothes. Trying to warm up, the food we ordered was So good! Never ending tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa, burgers with sautéed mushrooms with a side of sweet potato fries were off the chain. (sorry no photo) We then made our way with the three hour drive to the Las Vegas. The drive wasn’t so memorable because the land flattened out, but we saw a tumble weed pass by on the highway. That was so exciting! Not something seen here on the east coast so that was cool!
To conclude, we instantly fell in love with Zion National Park ❤️ The mountains are so epic, and hiking here was an experience I will never forget. The emerald color of the North Fork Virgin River graciously passing by as the fog above slid passed the mountain tops were a sight to see. Some might not love the conditions of stormy weather, but as a photographer, it was perfect. Next up, Las Vegas. Stay tuned.