Utah – Day 1 – Arrival and Hidden Canyon

After spending the weekend in San Francisco and The Bay some friends and I all met up, packed cars and headed off to REI to purchase items required for the Zion trip. Apart from getting a bit stressed because it appears only thin people do outdoorsy type activities we got everything we needed and weren’t going to buy in Utah. Then we got in the cars and drove to Las Vegas, Nevada and then on to Springdale, Utah.

Driving to Vegas. It sounds so simple. Actually it was. 30 odd miles on the 101 to Gilroy then across 40 miles across to I5. Down the I5 for 125 miles before cutting across to CA99 and then Bakersfield (another 45 miles). At Bakersfield its on to CA58 for 125 miles before reaching Barstow (Be careful its bat country here!). At Barstow you join I15 and its just 200 miles to Vegas. So its not a difficult route but it is 525 miles. We took turns driving and just stopping for gas. At one point the outside temperature was a warm 42C.

We got to Vegas quite late and weren’t staying anywhere near the strip. The following day was a relatively early start to drive the final three hours to Springdale Utah, clipping the corner of Arizona on the way, and stopping briefly in St George for more things namely tops for me that I couldn’t buy in REI.

We got to Springdale mid morning. Springdale is a pretty little town right next to Zion National Park. We have two rooms in The Pioneer Lodge in the centre of the town. There is a very regular free shuttle bus that takes you to the park and then the park has its own very regular shuttle bus that will take you up and down the canyon. The Zion Canyon is the second largest Canyon after The Grand Canyon. It is amazing here. The mountains are thousands of feet high. The high plane is at 10,000 feet.

Zion Canyon

The hotel wasn’t ready for us so we left our stuff. Took our backpacks and headed to Hidden Canyon.

The hike is quite steep. The guide suggests you do it mid morning. We started around mid-day. It was quite warm, something like 35C. I started fine but at about 600 feet I had a funny turn. I felt unwell and wobbly on my feet. There is a part of the Hidden Canyon hike which requires you to walk across a small ledge with just a chain to stop you falling several hundred feet to your death. The chain is on the inside of the ledge. I freaked and decided to go no further.

I sat and chilled, watched the world, while the others carried on to Hidden Canyon and practiced abseiling. Eventually they came back and we all walked back to the shuttle and headed back to the hotel to check in. The day was ended with a well earned soak in the hot tub and some pizza.

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