Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Break 2009

I've been out of the techno world for a week. We took our spring break (well the kids' and Sherrie's spring break) and left the bustling world to spend time communing with nature in Zion's National Park. I remember visiting Zion's Park briefly as a child and it left an impression on me. I have enjoyed visiting it every chance I get since then. On that same trip as a child we went to the Grand Canyon. It made a different impression on me and I haven't been back since. I think I prefer Zion's because you start as the bottom of the canyon and hike up. That way my fear of heights doesn't start the minute I arrive at the canyon. We had a later start on Monday, April 6 and drove to the park. I had made reservations for the Watchman Campground back in January. We had an uneventful trip to the park. We dropped Jordan off at school just in time for his 3:00 pm class. Then it was off to Walmart to get our groceries. We arrived at the park early evening and set up tent trailer. We took a short hike on one of the trails in the campground. We had dinner (hot dogs taste good when you are camping - and that is about the only time) and spent time around the campfire. Jonathan is good at starting fires and accomplished them with one match (he even sang us the "One Match Only" song).

On Tuesday morning we got up, had a quick breakfast and headed over to the shuttle bus, not sure which trail we were going to take. En route we decided to try the Weeping Rock Trail. That is an easy and short trail to a rock out cropping that drips water continuously. After getting our hiking legs under us we decided to go part way up the Observation Point Trail. We hiked up through the slot canyon and then headed back down. Rather than going all the way down we went over to the Hidden Canyon Trail. I tried to go on the trail that goes around a narrow and deep slot canyon. I got significant vertigo and had to turn around. We decided to eat lunch enjoy the view and head down. We had promised the kids that we would go to the Zion's Lodge to get icecream cones after hiking. We caught the shuttle to the lodge. The icecream shop wasn't open yet - it said mid-April (we were a week early apparently). After an unsuccessful attempt at icecream we decided to head into Springdale for dinner (in lieu of icecream). We had a nice dinner at a Mexican Restaurant (Amigos). We were able to sit out on the patio and enjoy and chips, salsa and various Mexican entrees. After dinner we went back to the campground to enjoy some time around the fire (thanks again to Jonathan).

On Wednesday I got up and fixed a big breakfast (pancakes, bacon, eggs). We then headed over to the visitor's center to catch the shuttle bus to the Angel's Landing trail. The visitor's center has taps for filling water packs with spring water. It was great water and came out ice cold. We made our way slowly up the trail. It is a steep trail with drops offs all along the way. After a couple of days in the park I don't have as much vertigo so I didn't mind the trail. We hiked to Scout Lookout but opted to not go the last half mile to Angel's Landing (it is just creeping along rocks holding onto a chain with a 1500 ft drop off). After hiking up this trail and back down again we were pretty much done for the day. We went to the grocery store and bought a carton of icecream to enjoy around the fire (thank you Jonathan again - One Match Only, One Match Only ...). We had hamburgers and then enjoyed our icrecream. It got a little blustery and a number of campers packed up and left. After about an hour the storm blew over and we had beautiful blue sky. We decided that we would get in our last hike on Thursday morning and then head home. We woke up and had a quick breakfast and caught the shuttle to Emerald Pool Trail. I really enjoyed the hike up the trail. There were beautiful vistas all the way up the trail. By the time we made it back down the trail, I was ready to head home. I figured that we put in about 12 miles of hiking in three days. That's pretty good for an out of shape, middle aged, overweight man. We loved our time in Zion's Park, but it sure felt good to get home and sleep in my own bed. I am still paying the price for all the hiking being so out of shape. My left arm aches and aches and aches. I don't know why my left arm since it really didn't have to do much. I think it is probably a pinched nerve resulting from an overworked muscle. Well, the pain is definitely worth it. I've posted a slide show of the pictures I took (over 500) in the park. Enjoy - I did.

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