This past week we got to share our knowledge of Salt Lake City with Barton’s parents as they came to visit us for the week. For first timers in Utah we couldn’t let them leave without seeing a National Park and so we made the trek down to Zion National Park for the weekend. The 4.5 hour drive to Zion from Salt Lake was easily one of the most scenic drives I have been on in Utah. We arrived just before dusk and checked into our hotel which was amazing. The Desert Pearl was conveniently located in Springdale and provided the most amazing views of the canyon. We also did right in booking a place with a pool/hot tub combo to cool off in the 103 degree weather after hiking every morning.
We woke up early Saturday morning to do the Upper and Lower Emerald pools hike which is a lovely customizable hike. You can just do the Lower Emeralds pool which is about 2 miles round trip or you can add on the upper emerald pool or turn the whole thing into a loop with the Grotto trail.
We then took a lunch break and dodged the heat of the day by the pool. Seriously the best idea in booking that hotel. After some relaxation and a little tanning, Barton and I then went back out later to explore one of the parks most popular hikes, The Narrows. To begin this hike you simply wade into the water and fumble down the canyon. It is unlike any other hiking in Utah, and so fun. There are people who backpack this canyon and wade through water with all their gear to find these amazing spots like the famous Subway. You do have to be really well prepared for this one, most suggest closed toed shoes with neoprene socks to keep you warm, plenty of dry bags and a walking stick for balance. All of which could be rented in Springdale. Since Barton and I were not nearly that prepared and only had an hour before dinner we hiked as far as we could in a sneakers and then had to turn around.
The reason we had to hustle back to town from the narrows was because we had made reservations at Thai Sapa, which was delicious. After dinner we hung out at our hotel to enjoy the stars and prepare for another day of hiking.
The next morning we got up to tackle maybe the most thrilling hike in Zion, Angels Landing. We got to the trail head a little before 8am and began the 5 mile round trip. The way up is 2 sets of switchbacks that are really intense.
Once you make it through all the switch backs you get to scale the ridge to Angel’s landing. Notice the little falling man icon on this sign. This part of the hike is the tricky part, there are sections in which you are climbing up rock face with only a chain to hold on to for balance. The other scary part is dealing with hikers going in both directions so it is important to be aware of your space and look ahead so you don’t have to do a tango with a stranger.
And after all of these adventures, we sadly had to pack up the car and head back to Salt Lake to get Barton’s parents on a plane and prepare for the next week ahead. I can say without a doubt, that there isn’t anywhere else in the country like Zion National Park. Our pictures don’t do it justice, so you’ll just have to go see it for yourself!