This past weekend I visited for the first time these two popular national parks. It was again organized by my friend Phillip, and thanks to him I have done more camping trips this year than ever before. This trip was planned months ago after getting permits for hiking The Subway in Zion. For a while it looked like everything would get cancelled because of park closure due to the government shutdown, but thankfully they were reopened a week ago.
Because of varying work schedules, the 9 of us on this trip arrived in 4 different groups at different times. I arrived with my friend Kasia at 4:30am Friday morning, after driving for 6+ hours. For the most part, the 15 highway is a pretty boring drive. Phillip and 2 others had arrived earlier in the day and, surprisingly, all the campgrounds in Zion National Park were full. We had to settle for camping in a RV park just outside the park. Since my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 tent’s zipper is broken, I decided to just sleep in the car for the whole trip. It wasn’t too bad since I could fold down the back seats and sleep on a flat surface. The next morning we were able to find a spot at South Campground inside the park.
Due to the fact that we got in so late in the night, the five of us who were there on Friday decided to take it easy and not do any strenuous hikes. We started the day by driving through the famous tunnel, and hiking the short Canyon Overlook Trail.
We drove next to Cedar Breaks National Monument, where we stopped at Point Supreme Overlook.
Our last stop of the night was Bryce Canyon National Park. Here we hiked a little bit of the Under The Rim Trail to get a view of the canyons from the bottom.
After a nice dinner and campfire back at the campground, we went to bed early for the long Saturday ahead of us.
We started the next day by taking the shuttle to the Angels Landing trail head (West Rim Trail). The hike is 5.4 miles round-trip with a 1488 feet elevation gain.
I found the trail to be relatively easy. Even though the last section is through a steep narrow ridge, I never felt scared or in danger. This was unlike Half Dome in Yosemite, which I thought was much harder and dangerous.
The views were amazing, and I was able to take another photograph of my shoes hanging out from the side of a cliff. I like how it looks and I plan to make a series of similar pictures in different places.
After lunch back at the campsite, and meeting up with three of our friends who were arriving in the afternoon, we headed to The Narrows. As soon as I dipped my hand in the water and felt how cold it was, I knew that it was going to be a painful experience. We hiked only a few hundred feet in the water before we headed back. Every second and every step felt as if I had ice all over my lower legs, burning my skin.
Following dinner on Saturday night, we made a short drive from the campground to do some night time photography. The moon was full, lighting up the canyons of Zion.
Sunday morning was supposed to be our main event, the hike to The Subway. We drove to the trail head and started our hike not knowing how far we would have to hike to see the tunnels and waterfalls that The Subway is known for. After about 2 hours of uneventful hiking, and due to time constraint, we decided to turn back without seeing anything special. I’m sure I’ll be back some other time in the future to complete this trail.
Despite not seeing the sights that The Subway is known for, it was a great trip overall. I’m glad I got the change to visit so many amazing National Parks this year before I leave for my round the world trip early next year.