Zion was great as usual. This is another spot we’ve visited a few times in the past and always enjoyed.
Ten years (and 20 pounds) ago we climbed Angel’s Landing for the first time. This hike is only for the most sturdy of individuals! After about 1.5 hours of hiking steep switchbacks you are greeted with this welcome sign just as you are about to begin the real climb.
If you are afraid of heights, get dizzy, etc., etc. it is not recommended that you continue. We’ve seen people start this climb ahead of us and then turn around after they reach the first chain hold. Right about where Tina is in this picture.
If you can handle the heights and fairly a strenuous climb you’ll feel like you’ve really accomplished something after finishing this 5 mile round-trip, 1400 ft climb. Many spots along the route have nothing but a sheer drop off on either side of you and a chain to hold on to if you’re lucky.
OK, here we go…
I think it was this picture where I almost fell!! Seriously! You know me. I’ll do anything to get that perfect shot. I was trying to get this little animated image and was not holding on to the chain. As I swing the camera around my head I leaned a little too far forward and got just a tad off balance! As I looked down to my death I got a blast of adrenaline through my gut and I quickly grabbed the chain behind me… whew! 🙂 (Don’t tell Tina or my Mom)
In this shot Tina is walking along the top of Angel’s Landing. There are no hand holds here. It is a sheer, 1400 foot drop on either side of this little path. It may look wide and safe in this picture, but with just a little wind you don’t feel secure at all.
It ended up taking us almost the entire 4 hours that the park estimates to make this trek, but that is only because it was soooo crowded this trip. Many spots on this climb are only wide enough for a single person at a time to pass. We had to wait multiple times for groups of hikers to file through a bottleneck before we could proceed the opposite direction. This slowed our progress quite a bit. And then once we made the top it was like a crowded beach. People sprawled out all over the rock leaving very few places to sit and rest. But it was still fun. Next time we’ll start earlier and beat the crowds.
We were staying at a KOA in St George this time so we also drove into
town and had some great brick oven pizza, did some shopping (Tina got a great deal on a new sweater at the outlet that is just too cute!) and picked up some outstanding blackberry and lemon meringue pie from a famous little pie place. They do chicken pot pie too. Excellent place, wish I could remember the name.
Finally a chance to sit down and rest on the peak of Angel’s Landing (Yeah we started way down there at the bottom!).
After a day and a half in Zion we headed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We’ve never been to the north rim before and I have to say I think it is prettier and definitely less crowded than the south rim. There aren’t as many facilities (restaurants, shops, and stuff), but there is enough for us. We couldn’t get reservations at the campground in the park so we stayed at a nice RV campground in Jacob’s Lake about 1 hour north of the park. We saw some buffalo and deer and that weird looking little Kaibab Squirrel. We walked a couple of short trails and scenic overlooks.
Living on the edge!
I think this was called the Angel’s Window. You can see people walking across it.
The lodge has a real nice sitting room on the edge of the canyon, enclosed in glass with a great view of the canyon.
The North Rim Lodge…
After the north rim was Flagstaff. Since we are also contemplating retirement locations on this trip we wanted to look around Flagstaff again, oh, and Tina just happened to find a 55K trail race to run for fun while we were there. Yay.
And they’re off! Tina’s in the pink shirt and white hat behind the big green dude.
And then, 8 hours later… HERE SHE COMES… The clock says 3:55 PM. She started at 8 AM… 7 hrs 55 mins!
Tina ran her 34 mile race and it nearly killed her. She came in 4th in her age group, good job Tina. She ran out of water 2 or 3 times and this trail run was not setup with a lot of water stops. You were supposed to be prepared with all your own supplies. Fortunately, they did set up a few water stops where she could refill her CamelBack…
Flagstaff is a nice little town and stays much cooler than other parts of Arizona.
While there we visited Sedona, another first for us. I wasn’t that impressed. It was much bigger and far more commercial than I had imagined. Some beautiful mountains, no doubt, but the town was crowded and touristy… nah… not for me.
After that it was time to head home. We decided to take it slow and not drive too many hours in a given day. After leaving Flagstaff we headed to Phoenix and as I mentioned in the last blog post it was HOT! We haven’t had to deal with hot weather in a few months. Most of our trip has been in northern climates and upper elevations where, for the most part, it was never hotter than low 80’s! We get down to Phoenix and its over 100! Nooooo!!!
From Phoenix we drove to Lordsburg and spent the night in a nice Flying J gas station.
From Lordsburg we make it to Ft. Stockton and stay in a Walmart (and no one parks right next to us… weird).
From Ft. Stockton to San Antonio, visit the Alamo, riverwalk and buy a box of Krispy Kremes!!!.
Then from San Antonio home. We got home Thursday morning, Oct 1st. It’s kinda nice to be home. However, I’m still waking in the middle of the night or morning and can’t remember which town I am in… for a second or two… 😉