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Old 07-01-2012, 07:03 PM   #66
guitarhack OP
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Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Columbia, SC
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Day 10

Zion National Park, Day 2

Warning: This installment has virtually nothing to do with motorcycles. Skip this if you are interested in bikes, and in bikes only.

Several parks ago (The Black Canyon I think it was), we purchased a guide book on the parks, and assigned miss SAT smartypants the task of researching the parks the night before we went to each - so we would know what to do when we got to them.

Today we visited the more popular / larger area of Zion National Park.

I don't know if they would have stopped us if we tried to dive the car, but due to the large numbers of visitors...

they have a very efficient bus system set up to take you around the park. The system really is a nice. We like that it has a soundtrack playing that tells you what you are seeing.

As the majority of this area of the country was settled by Mormons. many of the sights were given biblical names - most of which I can't remember.

...but I gotta hand it to them. Most of the sights were indeed inspirational.

Christina and I enjoy backpacking and hiking - and today she chose a challenging, 5-mile hike. So The Support Team Leader opted to do her own thing while we Tackled "Angel's Landing"

We were repeatedly warned (by signs, by the recording on the bus, and by the ranger at the Visitor's Center) that this hike wasn't for the faint of heart -just the kind of thing Christina likes. So off we went.

After crossing a small bridge...

...the trail was very easy. We were wondering what the big deal was. A mom could push a stroller on it.

More blooming cactus photos ...this time in yellow

In time the trail got steeper,

and the views started getting better

At one point you go through a slot in the rock faces and Christina found a hole to climb into.

Then we hit a section of back to back to back (etc) switchbacks

The view from above the bank of switchbacks

While aerobically taxing, the trail was easy to navigate.. until you get to a resting stop about 3/4 up the trail, where a lot of folks call it a day. ... and for good reason

Past this point, the trail, in my opinion, stops being a "hike", and becomes a "climb"

Again, they post this sign as a warning

...which out of dumb-luck I happened to get a very similar pic of

Look closely. There are little specks (people) climbing that ridge

A closer look

Indeed, at this point , completing the trail makes you climb. To aid you, there are chains to hold onto

Not only was the "trail" steep, there were drop-offs on either side - giving views like this

At the risk of sounding overly-dramatic; it really would be easy to get killed climbing this thing

Climbing all of this kicked my fat butt

In time we reached the top and were treated with incredible views

Christina sitting on a rock formation on the very peak of the plateau.

After soaking in the views, we headed back down and saw an owl. I don't remember EVER seeing an owl in the wild. We were excited about it. But our pics didn't come out very well.

From the lodge, this is looking back up to the peak we just climbed

Zoomed in

If you look closely, you can just make out the rock formation Christina was sitting on. It is just to the left of the clump of trees that are toward the right.

A couple of days ago I asked Christina what her favorite point of the trip was - her reply was this hike.

The hike took about four hours, and the physical exertion, along with the heat, wiped us out. Have I mentioned how much we LOVE our Camelbak? Anyway, we met back up with The Support Team Leader, bought souvenir T-Shirts, had a late lunch, toured the park some more, and drove back to the hotel exhausted and happy.

OK, tomorrow brings me back to motorcycling a big way.

Stay tuned for what very well may be the best day of riding I have ever had.

guitarhack screwed with this post 07-02-2012 at 06:04 PM
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