The Transnistria parliament building with a statue of Lenin out front. In the city of Tiraspol, Transnistria. Photo taken December 9, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fantastic 8 mile (13 km) hike in Zion National Park

Up at 6:00am yesterday (Saturday) morning. This was a special free entrance weekend at National Parks in the United States, so we expected things to be a lot busier than normal. The first shuttle bus leaves the visitor's center at 7:00am, so we wanted to be as close to that as possible.

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.

A great deal, today (Sunday) only at Amazon.com they have outdoor fireplaces on half price. Great time to get one for your backyard...

Beautiful outdoor fireplaces at Amazon.com - USA

And out Canadian readers can

Check out the Mother's Day deals at Amazon.ca - Canada

28 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great hike on a perfect hiking day! So how "strenuous" would you rate it? 2200' elevation gain/loss might be exhausting, but we like to stop and gawk along the way, which takes the sting out of strenuous. How'd your knees like it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a great hike! As for how strenuous was it? Well that depends on how much hiking you do and how in shape you are. That 2200' gain was over 4 miles with several sections that were very steep. We saw many people of all shapes, sizes and ages doing the hike, some were having no troubles but others were definitely struggling if you take your time it can be done, just allow for more time on the hike and have enough water and food. Our knees had no problems, most of the hike was on a trail that was fairly smooth so we weren't clambering over rocks which helped to save the knees.

      Delete
  2. Gosh darn it. You two have me yearning for Utah. That is an awesome, gorgeous trail. Your photos are wonderful. Glad you were able to get on the trail early and enjoy all its beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it is a totally gorgeous state! We can't wait to return, and yes, we definitely will. :-)

      We were so happy to be on the trail early, most of the way it was just us and the younger boys, who we would keep passing, when ever either of us would stop to gawk!

      Delete
  3. We agree! Never been to Utah! What great photos - love it! Today on our local tv station they had a commercial about come to Utah and see all the national parks. It seemed so fitting now that you two are there. Love the header - looking good, guys!
    Connie & Barry in PA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guess you two had better start planning a road trip here in the near future, you won't be sorry! :-)

      Delete
  4. We did this hike in 2006. What a gorgeous park and area. Utah in general is amazing -- we were fortunate enough to get to hike in Bryce, Canyonlands, and Arches besides. You'll definitely have to plan a second trip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Already talking about returning here, possibly next fall. There is so much to see and it is all so beautiful!

      Delete
  5. We hiked most of the trails in Zion, including The Narrows, and this was our favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have heard lots about the Narrows but we just didn't have time for it, so hopefully it will be on the agenda for our next visit along with Angel's Landing!

      Delete
  6. Spectacular photos Kevin....some of them almost look surreal! Absolutely stunning looking area! We'll put it on "the list"!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were telling us on the bus about a photographer way back in the early 1900's who had been here and taken photos and then painted pictures of the area which he then displayed at the World Fair in St. Louis and people didn't believe a place could possible exist that looked like those pictures. Yes, sometimes the scenery just didn't seem real.

      You definitely need to visit Utah!

      Delete
  7. Incredible, breathtaking views. My fav is the one of Ruth taking a break to enjoy the scenery. Wish I was there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The views the whole way along the trail were amazing! This was definitely one of our most favourite hikes.

      Delete
  8. Awesome views from your hike nice that you beat the crowds.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've never hiked Observation Point...it does look strenuous. It looks like one layer of mesa to climb. I'm old now to do strenuous hikes...last time I hiked strenuous, the next day my heart would race every time I made a move so I had to rest my heart muscles for a day or two before driving. Anyway, in my younger days I've back pack up and down Grand Canyon and did rim-to-rim with friends. My friends recently hiked Kilimanjaro but they camped going up and down. Obviously they stayed in better shape than me. I enjoyed your hike & photos of the trail .... beautiful to say the least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was a fairly strenuous hike but we saw a number of people who were doing it that we thought would have a difficult time with it, yet they were almost at the top. If you take your time and do it slowly and take lots of breaks which isn't hard to do because you have to stop lots just to admire the beautiful scenery then we think just about anyone could do it, despite your age.

      I know a 70 year old woman that climbed Kilimanjaro and made it to the top. Part of the problem with Kilimanjaro though is the altitude not the your physical ability. There have been lots of very physically fit people who couldn't do it because they would get altitude sickness and you don't know if it will affect you until you are actually there doing it.

      So glad you enjoyed our photos and hopefully you will rethink the hike and try and do it one day.

      Delete
  10. Wow, stunning scenery - again. You two could write a book on beautiful hikes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, we probably could but we don't have the time because we are too busy hiking them! ;-)

      Delete
  11. Absolutely great! Still have not been there:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully it is on your list of places to visit! ;-)

      Delete
  12. I've been thought those tunnels a few times in my semi! Right down the middle yellow lines. What a shame you couldn't make it into Bryce. So close and so different from other places you've been.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was pretty cool going through the tunnel, right down the middle knowing that you didn't have to worry about the opposing traffic.

      Yes, it is a shame that we missed Bryce but we didn't want to do a half-assed job of it. We would rather come back again and see it properly when we have lots of time.

      Delete
  13. We were at Zion at the same time you were there. That day we did the West Rim trail, continuing on past Angel's Landing. It is now my most favorite hike, what an amazing place! We wanted to do the same hike you and Ruth did, but ran out of time. Will have to do it next time.

    I wish we had gotten the chance to meet you two, but maybe sometime in the future.

    Tom & Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The West Rim Trail looked like a good one too except for the busy part that takes hikers up to Scout's Lookout going towards Angel's Landing. Like you, there just wasn't enough time to do everything that we would have loved to have done but Zion will still be there and we look forward to returning there again soon.

      Sorry that we couldn't have met up as well, sounds like we would have had a great time doing a hike together.

      Delete

We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...