Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Zion National Park.

Bryce you look down on whereas Zion you look up at, except if your mad enough to climb Angels landing but more of that later. The Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce are all part of the grand staircase . The rock at the bottom of Bryce is the top of Zion and the rock at the bottom of Zion is the top of the grand canyon. The road into Zion from the east, the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway is a great road to ride (or will be once it has been finished). It goes through a mile long tunnel, which when built in the 20s was the longest tunnel in the States at that time. The park is closed to traffic being only accessible by park shuttle bus. They run often and stop at the various points of interest. I had heard about Angels Landing and while at the visitors centre seen a topographic map and it looked rather impressive, so without a second thought I was dragging Jill up the climb in the heat of the midday sun, up Walters wiggles to Scout Lookout which afforded great views of the Virgin River below. Jill decided that this was quite far enough (well I, Jill, did climb the first few feet, expecting the sandstone to facilitate a good grip for my boots. As I took my place in the single file of adventurous souls, I reached for the chain and took a stride up onto the rock. But almost immediately I felt the chain guiding the walkers along the path (I use the term loosely-there is no path) was too chunky and quite floppy, to grab in my small hand if I needed to. But more worryingly the sandstone was really slippery due to loose surface sand, and I felt that even in my walking boots with a decent Vibram sole, it was almost impossible to get a good grip and feel secure. Quite soon after I started, I began to feel a surge of panic through my body with the thought that a minor slippage could mean me sliding 1000 feet down the side of the mountain. Here one second gone the next. So I shouted to David who had already leapt ahead of me, to let him know I was turning back. And on my bottom I slid back to the start where a small queue of eager masochists had begun to form.) But there was no holding me back so on I went past some signs and held on tight to the chain as the path? went first up then down before crossing a narrow bit with a 1200 ft drop on one side and only 800 the other. The final assent before reaching the top with a few hardy others. On the way back down met a Californian Condor
who was kind enough to pose for a picture (Come in Number 99...). Looked a lot better on the way down. As the sun was setting we got back on the bus and travelled further up the canyon to the Temple of Sinawava where we walked along side the Virgin river as it gets narrower. Dry trousers were available for hire as most of the hike is in the river which is about 50F. Some people were coming back looking very hypothermic with strange shades of blue legs. Talking to people they said it was a great hike (Maybe next time). We drove back to the camp site in the dark being about 1900 and fell asleep exhausted.

1 comment:

  1. You two will be fitter than fiddles if you keep this up. :)
    Once again...fantastic shots!