Day 5 | July 8 | Friday
Zion National Park and Angels Landing
Today was to be the first of two days in Zion National Park. I put the raincover over my tent and headed out. (The main tent is mesh which allows more air to circulate and lets me see the stars at night, but since I was leaving the tent set up for the day, I felt have the solid covering on it would be more secure; not physically, but I feel like people would be less likely to mess with it.)
I was entering on the east side of Zion and it was quite a twisty road. There’s also a tunnel to go through and when you look at the pictures, look for one of just the big solid side of a mountain with a small arched window cut in it. There were a few of these evenly space out along the tunnel, perhaps for air circulation.
I reached the booth at the entrance of the park ready to buy that year pass, but I was so early, no one was there.
Blah blah blah… Found a good parking spot in the shade, hopped on the shuttle bus and when to the beginning of the trail that leads to Angels Landing.
Walking on level ground is just falling forward and catching yourself with your leg. Walking up hill requires the use of your thigh muscles. People talk about the Angels Landing hike being challenging, but the hardest part is the 2 mile uphill climb to get to Scout Lookout. Of course, this map makes it look flat.
This shows the elevation gain. It’s supposed to be a thousand feet up to Scout Lookout and then another 500 feet up to Angels Landing. Maybe because the first 1,000 feet covers two miles and the next 500 takes just half a mile, but the first part seemed toughest for me. Really, doesn’t seem like it would be just the opposite?
I took PLENTY of rest breaks and if I remember right, the whole thing took 5 hours.
I got back to the shuttle stop and filled up my canteens and poured a lot of water over myself. It was very hot, and I wasn’t feeling too great.
The shuttle came and one of the stops had a cafeteria and gift shop, so I thought some food would be good. (I discovered later that I don’t chew my food enough.)
Then I rested under this tree for about 3 hours while occasionally pouring water over myself. Then I got on the shuttle and headed back to the visitor center.
Inside, using some kind of advanced wizadry, they have these cooling towers. I thought there were shafts into the ground, but evidently they run on magic.(source: annassb.files.wordpress.com)
So I sat on the little “bench” there while cool air blew past me, gently poured water over my head, and looked around for any indication that there was a medic on site, but I didn’t see anything. (I thought was suffering from heat exhaustion but upon further analysis and input from family, we decided it was dehydration.)
(source: solaripedia.com) You can read more about the magic here.
It was time to move on. I couldn’t even hold my head up without getting queasy. I had to have looked terrible as I staggered back to my car, but no one said anything. I had parked in the shade, as I noted earlier, so I turned on the a/c and alternated between it and standing in the aforementioned shade pouring more water over myself. I decided that driving and sitting were pretty much the same thing and as long as I didn’t try to turn my head much, I’d be fine. I just had to drive that gently winding route mapped out at the top.
I pull into the campground and stagger around the showers until one is free, again just trying to cool off. I hop back in my car, drive out to my campsite, and try to lie down, but (1) while I was gone, a big wind blew dirt all in my tent, and (2) moving my head out of the vertical made me queasy.
I then spent the next…. 12 hours, I guess since I spend the night there… sitting in my car with the a/c running. Well, until the sun went down and then the temperature dropped. I also got out long enough to throw up my lunch (and notice I don’t chew my food enough.)
In the morning, I said I’d had enough. Actually, I decided that during the night. So I drove two hours to get back to Page, Arizona, and the Page Boy Inn.
I arrived at 1:00 Sat in the lobby till 3:00 when my room was ready, got some Gatorade (by now the verdict was dehydration) and stayed in my comfy room until 11:00 the next day.
Here’s an idea of how far I had to travel, and this wasn’t even close to half way.
I’m still not sure of the best way to present the videos of the climb from Scout Lookout to Angels Landing, but here’s a ten-minute video and it might be enough.
And here’s looking over the edge.
Again, click a pic and it will start a slide show.
July 4, Monday: Pagosa Springs
July 5, Tuesday: Piedra Falls
July 6, Wednesday: Natural Bridges National Monument
July 7, Thursday: Mogi Dugway, Valley of the Gods, Antelope Canyon, Zion NP
July 8, Friday: Zion National Park
July 9, Saturday: Page, Arizona
July 10, Sunday: Durango, Colorado
July 11, Monday: Durango to Silverton by Train
July 12, Tuesday: John Denver Sanctuary, Aspen, Colorado
July 13, Wednesday: Homeward Bound for My Sister’s Birthday