Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zion Trip 2011

My family and I just got back from one of the coolest places on the planet earth, Zion National Park. We hiked so much that my feet are covered in blisters, and my toes almost poked through the tops of my shoes (more on that later). The first hike was the Lookout Trail. It is a pretty simple hike at the front of the park. It provides a beautiful view of the park.

On the Lookout Trail
 The Lookout
 Cool Tree Root
 This is on the Grotto Picnic Trail. Look at that doe!

Next, we hiked the Emerald Pools trails. The trail was washed out between Lower and Middle Emerald Pools, but we were able to access all of them via the Kayenta Trail. The Upper Emerald Pool hike is a little tougher than Lower and Middle Emerald Pools, but the beautiful “pool” is absolutely amazing, and there are some amazing boulders that surround it. These boulders make for some excellent freestyle climbing.

Middle Emerald Pool

 Upper Emerald Pool trail, you probably can't tell from this picture, but it's pouring rain!
 Boulders at Upper Emerald Pool
 Lower Emerald Pool (the water is coming down from the mountain here)

Weeping Rock is the next trail that we hit. This is a short, 0.4-mile hike. Weeping Rock is a place where a steady stream of water comes out from a porous rock above. The water that is dripping through the rock is over a thousand years old because the rock acts like a giant sponge that absorbs the water from the top, and it takes thousands of years for the water to make it through the rock and out of the “weeping” part of the rock.
 Weeping Rock

Here are pictures of me doing splits and my brother and I doing backbends on the railing of Weeping Rock. On one side of the railing is a platform, and on the other is a 30-foot drop-off.
 A buck that we saw coming down from Weeping Rock

Next, we hiked the Temple of Sinawava. This is a wheelchair, stroller accessible trail. It’s fairly easy to hike. My favorite thing to do is play in the Virgin River at the end of the trail. I tried to talk my family into taking the Narrows Trail that extends 4 more miles through the Virgin River, but they were all too tired to do it. Maybe next time. :)

On the trail this little frog almost got squashed by hikers, so I picked it up and put it back in the water. I LOVE FROGS!!!!
 In the Virgin River

The next morning we awoke at 5A.M. to get started on the grueling hike up to Observation Point via the East Rim Trail. It was a hike straight up and around three mountains. It goes through Echo Canyon and Refrigerator Canyon. At the top was a geological survey marker. The Observation Point view provides the most amazing view of Zion and provides a very scenic hike. The summit of Observation Point dwarfs the point of Angels Landing, another popular, strenuous, and fun hike in Zion National Park. Because of the steep climb up the mountains is so strenuous, coming down hurts the knees and causes blisters to pop out all over the toes and feet. At the bottom of the trail, I looked down at my toes and noticed that they were about to poke through the top of my shoes. It was an amazing hike, but I would recommend starting it early in the morning because if hiking it during the midday, the sun exposure would cause even the most extreme of adventurers to want to turn back early (trust me, we saw some people turn back).

 It's another comforting sign at the beginning of a tough trail.
 Some of the views from the Observation Point Trail
My sister and I in the caves in Echo Canyon
 More Views
The little mountain connected to the bigger mountain is Angel's Landing. The connecting piece is known as "The Saddle." When I was standing at the top two years ago I thought I was on the top of the world. Now it looks so tiny from Observation Point.
More from the top
6,508 feet above sea level
 More from Echo Canyon with two of my younger brothers.

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