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Friday, February 18, 2011

Zion National Park, Utah - Day 2.

For our second day at Zion we decided to try and get as much in as we could starting off with one of Zion's most famous hikes Angel's Landing.  This hike is about 5 miles in duration and about 1500 ft of elevation.  The trail starts off with paved switch backs, a trip through a canyon, some caves, then more switch backs before reaching the top of Scout's Lookout where the last 1/2 mile includes along a narrow rock fin with 1500 ft drop-offs on both sides. Anchored support chains are attached along some sections of the sheer fin.

The beginning of the hike was paved and started out like this.

Holly starting the hike up Angel's Landing
 The 1st leg of the hike begins with a series of switch backs:

The 1st part of Angel's Landing
 After getting our hearts pumping a little bit from hiking up the first set of switchbacks we came to a canyon which had some caves that Holly thought were fun:

Holly having fun in a cave.
After messing around in the caves we made our way through the canyon to the last accent which included a series of about 21 switchbacks.  At the time of our hike these switchbacks were covered in ice which made this portion of the hike slippery and at times a little dangerous (in Holly's Opinion):

The ice on the switch backs.
After making it through the ice on the switchbacks we made it to the top of Scout's Lookout which took us to the beginning of the last 1/2 mile of the hike which includes a narrow ridge with huge drop offs of exposed cliff up to Angel's Landing.  A warning sign is posted expressing the danger of this portion of the hike.  It was at this point Holly decided she had enough of this hike and was ready to explore other areas of the park:

A sign warning of the danger of the last part of the hike
I decided to proceed along the ridge using the chain as my leverage.  The ridge was pretty narrow, and the drop off was pretty significant at times.  I tried to snap a picture to try and capture the experience, but it doesn't really tell the story, or show how far the drop off was.

A part of the ridge portion of the hike
Here's another view of the ridge.  Notice the chain to the right and the drop off the side of the cliff to the left:

Another part of the ridge portion

I made it past the 1st portion of the ridge before the last part of the accent.  I'm not sure if you can see the chain in this pic, but this is the view looking back from the point where I stopped my hike. 

Looking back from the 1st ridge
It was this point I estimated that it would take me about another hour to complete the hike and I just didn't want to leave Holly sitting there by herself for another hour .  I made the decision to call it quits at this point so we could try and fit more hikes into our day.  I did get a glimpse of the overlook of the valley though.  The lighting and shadows were harsh so the picture sucks, but here is the view from where I stopped my hike:

Overlooking the canyon
I'll definitely need to make it a point to come back and complete this hike, because it was kind of thrilling and I'd like to try later in the day where I can get some better lighting for my pictures at the top.

I made my way back to Holly and we headed back down and headed straight for the Emerald Pools.  My pictures from the Angel's Landing and Emerald Pools can be seen here: Zion National Park, Utah - Part II

Pictures from our afternoon hikes which included stops at the Weeping Rock, the Temple of Sinawava, and the Riverside Walk will be posted on my next post.


azhrei said...

you're right-- it is steep! i loved it. pictures came out beautiful. :) p.s. you'll have more fun on the way up to the top, than at the actual top (view was limited in terms of getting photos looking down). thank you for sharing!!

Ed Brosius said...

Yeah, I need to finish it...I have little fear of heights so I felt this hike to be moderately easy.