The wind was howling when the alarm rang at 6:30 on Saturday morning. We had decided to get an early start and beat the crowd on the hike to Observation Point, one of the most scenic hike in Zion National Park. It was an 8 mile hike with a 2100 feet elevation. We had packed lots of food, water and warm clothes the night before and were ready for another exciting adventure. When we got off the shuttle bus, we looked up at the many switchbacks that were cut in the very steep rock wall ahead of us and smiled! We love a challenge!
We were pretty much alone on the trail as the sun rose in the canyon, illuminating the top of Angels Landing, a hike we had done a few days earlier and that some of us had done again the night before at sunset. We walked into a beautiful canyon and were greeted by the warm morning sun on the other side. We kept on pushing up, switchbacks after switchbacks, mesmerized by the ever changing colors of the rocks. At the top, the view was simply incredible.
As we started going down, we met more and more people. Huffing and puffing, some of them congratulated the kids for their accomplishment. The children kept on skipping to the bottom of the trail, smiling, proud and happy.
During the 5 days we stayed in the park, we hiked many other shorter trails: the River walk that leads to the entrance of the Narrows, a very popular hike in a canyon that require wearing waterproof pants/bibs, socks and shoes, and carrying a big stick to keep your balance in the areas of the canyon where there is more current. The water was at 45 degrees, so going without this equipment was not an option. In the summer, it is possible to do it in sandals and shorts (something we plan to do at some point). We also hiked up to Upper Emerald Pool and down to Lower Emerald Pool (the photo of the little waterfall and chain along the wall is from that hike), as well as to Weeping Rock. It is a fascinating phenomenon that in the limestone rock layer called travertine, a more porous formation, plants grow and water seep through.
Zion is simply a majestic place that one must see (and hike!) in its life to really appreciate it. If you plan to visit and are in shape enough for a moderate to challenging hike, I highly recommend you do Angels Landing and Observation Point for a total Zion experience.