The view of Zion canyon from the summit of Observation Point, a 9 mile round trip trail with a 2,000 foot elevation gain. The trail winds through hanging gardens, slot canyons, and an alpine meadow.
So we made it to Zion National Park. I have been before, but have been wanting to return for 22 years and I have been dyeing to show this place to A. It was everything I had remembered and more, more exactly in the form of an undone hike that would challenge everything I ever thought.
Zion is am amazing piece of the earth. Treacherous and death defying by its animal and plant life but also to its hikers. Zion can boast, or not, that six people have died hiking on one particular trail in the park. The mountain goats tip toeing up and down ledges are evidence of the type of individual would thrive here.
We camped along the virgin river in a lovely cotton wood grove in a bend in the river. all free! This part of the country is rugged, isolated and desperate. You need to rely on yourself and your know how. We are getting fairly dialed in with living totally off the grid. Its becoming a lot of fun, in a challenging way. I added a third, and likely final, solar panel to the roof today and it was a complete success. more on that later. Seven months in, at least five to go.
So onto the hike that was left undone. It has vexed me for two decades. Had I known it was one of Americas deadliest hikes probably would have incited me to do the hike. Instead we were trad climbing just out side the park doing 5.11’s and thinking we were the shit. Which we kind of were…
Had someone told me that there was a hike that would lead you long a knife edge of sandstone with chains you could maybe grab onto in case you felt you might fall off the sheer ledge down the the 1500 feet to the canyon floor I might have made time for it. Instead it was described to me as “a really neat hike” by a ranger, so I skipped it to climb cracks and chimneys for a few days with some pros.
Reading, years later in several outdoor mags about an epic hike in zion, things like, “you wish you had ropes” raised my interest. That hike described as a “neat hike”, was actually one of the coolest hikes and climbs and scrambles allowed, un accompanied, still in the Park System. So upon my return to Zion it was a given that I would do the hike. Epic. So as adventurous as I thought i was back then, looking down my nose on “neat little hikes” I should have listened, and learned.
I have been on climbs and portal edges at over 1000 feet. With a harness. totally at ease. Scrambling the ledges with no protection and a slippery chain as your only lifeline had me a little shaky, ill admit. But it was worth it, if at least to no longer have the regret. regret is a terrible, terrible feeling.