We ended up on the 7:30am shuttle, and we were at the trailhead for 8:00am.
Some of you were guessing that we were going to do the Angel's Landing trail, however we had read that it gets far too crowded up there and that takes away from the enjoyment. In fact, most of our bus departed at that trailhead, even at 8:00 o'clock in the morning. Still, we would like to do that hike, but maybe at a quieter time of year.
We had decided on the Observation Point Trail. It was listed as a 6 hour "strenuous" 8 mile (13 km) hike that had long steep dropoffs along parts of the trail and a 2,200 ft elevation gain. I had read some reviews online, and this trail was supposed to be the overall best single day hike in Zion National Park.
Sounds like our kind of thing!
There were only two other couples who got off with us at that point, so we knew that we had beat the crowds.
Funny pic. Something behind these two mule deer was attracting their attention.
Lots of wild flowers out on the trail. Some spots were really pretty!
Ruth, looking over a ledge.
The switchbacks we had already climbed.
As we hiked up, the only other people that we saw were three small groups of runners who had hiked up the trail earlier than us.
Through the canyon.
What's down there?
Amazing how the water carves it's way through the sandstone.
On the Observation Point trail.
It took us about three hours to reach the lookout at the top. Uphill pretty much every step of the way, except for a 3/4 mile stretch at the end that was fairly level. Absolutely fantastic scenery though, and one of the best hikes that we've ever done.
Cactus in bloom.
Taking a break to enjoy the scenery.
Almost at the top.
We had an early lunch at the top, and the only other people up there were a couple of younger guys, and a young couple originally from France who are now living in Boston. Nice and peaceful, but we knew that others would soon be arriving behind us. We had been there for a half an hour or so, and by the time we left there were probably between 15-20 there, and we passed at least 100 people on our way down who were heading up.
So, it was nice to beat the crowd and totally worth it to get up early to do so.
Kevin and Ruth at the top of Observation Point.
The hiking gods were smiling on us all day and supplied us with perfect weather for our hike. It had been chilly first thing, but hiking uphill warmed us up quickly. For the hike down, it was just the right temperature, at about 66F (19C) and a bright blue sky.
Heading back down.
What a cool hike!
Near the bottom. Can you see the shuttle bus down below?
Overall, a great day!
This morning, we're headed to Kodachrome Basin State Park. Not likely any internet access there, but who knows? We're there for two nights, so if there's no internet you won't hear from us until Tuesday morning sometime.
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