I knew it was going to be an adventure the moment we left the all-night party. Our three backpacks were stuffed into the back of my Ford Escape, with blankets and pillows and other cozy necessities crammed into every possible space.
It seemed crazy to set off on a trip like this with practically zero sleep, and perhaps it was. But the southwest was singing and we heard its’ siren call.
Driving into the rising sun, the desert was beautiful in a palette nothing like the coastal hues we had left behind in California. Sienna, sage, ochre and rust dotted the sandscape in pastel swathes and splotches of color.
Kate, the fearless enthusiast, teetering on rocky precipices, camera in hand, always encouraging us to explore farther and face our fears.
Nina, the first timer, bubbly and inquisitive, her wide-eyed discovery of nature and cheerful optimism was a happy addition every time there was a plot twist.
And me, the instigator, navigating by guidebook and reading out lists of highlights, optimistically planning itineraries which we had no possible way of accomplishing in one week.
The Adventuresses: Nina, Kate and I striking a pose at the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Two days spent exploring Zion National Park, followed by a stop at the Grand Canyon and a 3-day backpacking trip to Supai Falls in the Grand Canyon.
Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park –Not for the faint of heart or out-of-shape, the booty-burning hike to the top of Angel’s Landing is a sprint to one of the highest points in the park. If you’re afraid of heights (like me), it’s time to face your fears. The final few hundred yards of the trail are a scramble, with thousands of feet of air on either side. Don’t look down until you’re safely to the top. Worth it? Oh yeah. The breathtaking view of the park is worth the panic and the side cramps.
The Narrows, Zion National Park –Perfect for a hot afternoon, The Narrows is a 16 mile gorge that can be hiked as an overnight thru-hike or an up-and-back. Since time was short, we opted for a quick couple of miles up-and-back. Grab a walking stick near the start of the canyon, and don’t bring anything with you that can’t get wet. Caution: Flash floods can (and do) kill hikers every year. Check with the park rangers before you start.
Watchman Campground, Zion National Park —a laid-back campground with very nice facilities and beautiful views of the park. Deer wander through the campgrounds and some campsites have perfect trees to hang hammocks.
Grand Canyon National Park —So big and beautiful, the Grand Canyon looks like a painted backdrop in all of my photos. The views along the rim of the canyon are hard to beat, but don’t skip out on hiking down into the canyon for a deeper experience (and to escape the busloads of sightseers).