Monday, June 29, 2009

Zion Weekend Photo Essay - 6/26/09 thru 6/28/09

Six of the Around the Bend Friends camped at Zion National Park this weekend. These are pictures from the whole experience as seen by Kay, John and Howard.

Friday evening, we gathered at Howard's campsite at the Watchman Campground. We laughed and talked. We set up the tent that Marg just bought. We watched the black clouds linger. Then, it poured rain. We took our chairs inside the new tent so, there we were, six of us sitting on chairs inside this 10'x10' tent! We didn't think we could get anyone else inside and along came the neighbor, Perry from Louisiana. He squeezed in! While we laughed and talked some more, we watched a greedy fat squirrel take a big chunk out of Howard's home-grown watermelon he had brought for the occasion!

After our party, four members took the shuttle up to the Weeping Rock Trail and climbed the steep short trail to view the water seeping out of the rock. On returning to the Visitor's Center, the above view is almost all they could see with no flashlights! It was quite an adventure getting from there to the campsite but we can be assured it was fun!


The blogger walks the bridge to begin the trail following the other four hikers.

Marg and John round the bend in the cool morning.

Carol, Marg and Howard begin the switchbacks as we zigzagged up the canyon wall.

Rest stops were plentiful as the steep trail took its toll.

Looking back, we could see the many switchbacks we had encountered.

The canyon was beautiful in the morning light, freshly washed by the rain the evening before.

John hikes up the cut-out portion of the trail which leads around the bend into the inner canyon below Angel's Landing.

After working this picture in Photoshop, we see Howard taking a picture of Kay taking a picture at the beginning of the inner canyon with the main canyon seen in the background.

We sat for a break as we reached the beginning of Walter's Wiggles.

There are 21 switchbacks on Walter's Wiggles. If you looked closely, you can see four members hiking up.

Walter's Wiggles were created by the long-time park custodian many years ago to facilitate the climbing of Angel's Landing. There we are again, count them, going up. By the way, the girl in white was on crutches. You go, girl!!!

Upon reaching the saddle before the REAL climb, a few of us visited the now open restroom. The view of Angel's Landing from outside the restroom is seen above.

Marg reaches for the chain.

These sturdy chains led most of the way up to the top. They were very comforting and some of us held on very tight!

Once again, dueling cameras! As Kay took a picture downhill ...

Howard took a picture uphill!

A great view of the highest portion of Angel's Landing. Note the shear cliff. The other side looks much the same!

John leads the group of hikers down to the middle saddle where we crossed over a seven foot wide portion of the trail.

Kay reacts to the building noise that one small rock pushed over the side created. AVALANCHE!!! "Rock!!!," we screamed. But, John's camera lens hood still lays there just off the trail. We were too leary about retrieving it. (There were no screams below.)

John pulls himself up with the trusty chain.

The hikers make the narrow crossing.

Howard tempts fate as he leans out as far as he dared!

Those chain sections seemed to get steeper and steeper!

A view of one of the chain sections.

Leaning out over the edge, Howard got a great shot!!

Looking across the main canyon from Angel's Landing.

Carol arrives at the end of the last chain section, surprised to be met by the camera.

To stay in the middle of the trail, which seemed important more times than not, one hiked through this tree arch.

A "beehive" sits in the middle of the trail. We, pretty much, climbed over it just to stay in the middle of the trail!

We greeted the last two hikers arriving at the top. Marg's exuberance at defeating her fear of heights was thrilling for all of us. (Including the many young men who helped her along the way!)

One of those young men took this picture of the whole group on top of Angel's Landing where we hung our feet symbolicly over the side.

Zion Canyon looking north towards the Zion Narrows.

Marg and Carol looked south as they ate lunch.

John and Kay led the way down. Ahead, Kay saw this picture which gave a little more perspective to the steepness of one of the chain sections.

After reaching the bottom, Kay took pictures of a roadside mule deer as she and John waited for the rest of the hikers to join them. The deer was not concerned about the passing shuttles.

The final three hikers arrived at the bottom having used all their water reserves. Even though the morning had begun very cool, the hike ended at over 100 degrees. We were concerned with the many people that we passed near the bottom who were only beginning the hike up.

Saturday evening, a group of very hungry hikers gathered for a cookout at Howard's campsite.

Don cooked the DELICIOUS hamburgers while Howard supervised.

One good thing about a small group; we all fit on one picnic table!

Out of the freezer came pink marsh- mallows!! Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Carol couldn't resist roasting and downing a few pink ones.

As the sun set, the Watchman beamed above us.

Sunday, four members took the ranger led shuttle up through the canyon learning all kinds of details that they would be happy to share with curious friends.

At the end of the tour, Howard and Carol did some serious thinking about hiking a portion of the Zion Narrows. I believe they, at least, got to the first deep pool about a quarter mile up from the start point.