Zion

It's 10:45pm and I am laying in my sleeping bag behind a US Post Office in Rockville, Utah (Pop. 267).

After leaving my brother Sheldon's house in Pleasant Grove, Utah around 10am this morning, I drove south along the I-15 in search of Zion National Park on the Colorado Plateau. I was unsure of what to expect as I drove through a nice variation of weather systems for the next 245 miles. Snow, hail, rain, clouds, sunshine, snow again and then sunshine again.

First stop: Kolob Canyons on the Northwest tip of the park. A great introduction to Zion's with enormous finger canyons and sheer cliffs of well over 1000 feet. The Park Ranger recommended I spend less time here and more time at the south entrance of the park if I was looking for rugged beauty.

40 minutes later I arrived in Springdale and took the Ranger's advice to hike a trail called 'Hidden Canyon'. A 3 hour / 2 mile round trip steep climb up 850 feet. Plenty of cliffs and slot canyons.
It wasn't until the hike down and 4 hours later that I realized I had taken a wrong turn about 3/4 of the way up the 'Hidden Canyon' trail and completed the 'Observation Point' hike instead!

Unbelievable. Breathtaking.
High on the east rim of Zion Canyon, the 4 mile (8 round trip) trail ends on a slender peninsula overhanging the valley floor offering spectacular views on 3 sides. The climb was 2,148 feet which was almost 3 times my initial plan and it took 4 1/2 hours to complete. That wouldn't be a bad thing if I had not started it until almost 6pm!

I has planned to do a 3 hour hike and return by dark. I ended up being at observation point past sunset and had to hike down most of the 2,148 feet by flashlight.

It was well worth it.

By the time I got down, it was 9.30pm and very dark. I saw the lawn at the Post Office one town over in Rockville and thought it would be a great place to escape the campfire smell and the noisy campers.

The sky is incredibly bright with stars. The only sound I hear is the wind in the trees. I am staring into the heavens and marveling at the natural beauty that I have seen today. I think I will do it again tomorrow.

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