April 6, 2017

Travelogue; Zion National Park


Welcome to Day 2 & 3 of the Travelogue!

After Page, AZ, we knew our next destination was
Zion National Park. We decided to stay overnight
somewhere in between, in Kalab, UT because we did
some research and found that Coral Dunes State Park
was nearby, and it peaked our interest. So needless to say
stop one of day 2 was Coral Dunes State Park.

Coral Dunes State Park

Coral Dunes State Park is located between Mount Carmel
and Kanab. The unique Coral Dunes are formed from
erosion of pink colored Navajo Sandstone surrounding the park.
Strong winds pick up loose sand and drop them 
on the dunes. These Dunes are estimated to be
between 10,000 and 15,000 years old, so you
can imagine how vast they were! These Dunes
have become a popular spot for local ATV and motorcross
biking, and the occasional off-roading (if you're into that).

We did not have any of these vessels, so we 
decided to take a trek along them. Let me tell you,
hiking across sand was challenging, especially
when we decided to clamor atop the highest peak 
we could find. We spent a couple hours here, taking
in the scenery, and then it was time to head
to Zion!

Zion National Park

I once read somewhere, it's good to feel
small sometimes; and that is exactly how we felt
in Zion, small, but humbled. I immediately experience 
chills as we pulled into the park. Never in my life
have i felt so small and awestruck by nature.
It was like nothing I had ever seen or experienced
before. The park is absolutely spectacular.

The entrance fee to the park was $25 for a 7 day
pass, with a 45 minute scenic drive to the visitor
center where you could find park information
and public shuttles to navigate the grounds.

We had done some research and knew a few of
the trails we were going to tackle the next
day, so we decided on our first day that we would
"wing it" and hop on the shuttle, get off at a stop
and hit up some hikes.

Our first hike was a bit of a happy accident. While
we thought we were heading to an "easy" trail 
to the Weeping Rock, about an hour or so into 
a somewhat strenuous hike uphill, we realized we 
were actually on our way up to Hidden Canyon.
Once to the top, the trail took us a little 
off the beaten path into the canyons. There
we were, hidden between two great walls of
rock, feeling pretty speechless at the crazy
way nature created such unique formations
and taking in the views.

Angels Landing

Day 3 (and Day 2 of Zion) we were tackling 
Angels Landing a trail we had been "warned"
about by various websites and other travelers because
of its' unique trail; A 3 ft wide narrow trail, cut into solid rock on
the spine of a mountain. If your curious about it,
google it!

The trail to Angels Landing is 2.4 miles 
It roughly follows the path of the Virgin River
 The trail starts slow, gaining elevation in sandy terrain.
 As the trail gets steeper, it becomes paved. 
After a series of steep switchbacks, the trail goes flat 
in between Zion Canyon. Then the hard part, Walter's Wiggles. A series of 21
 steep switchbacks before Scout Lookout.
 The wiggles are named after Walter Ruesch, who was the first superintendent
 for Zion National Park and constructed the switchbacks in 1926.

As soon as we got to Scout's Landing, we had some
very minor aprehensions after seeing Angels Landing 
up close. But as the saying goes,
we had come this far, there's no 
turning back now. And it was all worth it.
The views of Zion when you reach the top
are some of the most stunning views you will 
ever experience in your life.

Emerald Pools + River Trails

After Angels Landing, we hit up
three most moderate - easy trails to wrap
up our time in Zion. Upper Emerald Pools
was a moderate trail that led up to a pretty 
astounding water fall. It was a great place
to sit and just enjoy the scenery around us
and all the natural beauty that enveloped 
us. After that, we headed back to the 
visitors center by way of a couple
River Trails and back to our lodge
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

 Zion Ponderosa Lodge

Ponderosa is an AMAZING place to stay if
you are looking. The grounds
 offer 4000 acres of lodging & recreation 
on the edge of Zion National Park and near Bryce
 Canyon, equipped with an on-site restaurant,
a pool, hot tub, showers, mini golf and more!
AND, breakfast was complimentary...and good!
Great way to fuel for a long day of hiking.

We stayed in the glamping tents, and 
would definitely return!


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