ZION TRIP REPORT

This is the Trip Report for my trip to Zion National Park on Memorial Day weekend 1998. Click on any picture to see a full sized version.

Thursday Morning

We met at 4:15, eight of us, in the parking lot of Sheldon's, an all night coffee shop in Pacific Beach. The theory went that no one could be late because there would be no way to call the others and beg off, but if someone was late anyway, the others could at least have breakfast at Sheldon's. All of us -- Bruce, Steve, Dave, Beth, Steve, LeAnne, Erik, and Nanae -- were pretty much on time, so in three vehicles equipped with CB radios, thermoses of coffee, and Beth's zucchini bread and cookies for breakfast, we were on the road by 4:30 in the danged morning.

We stopped a few times for gas, drinks, calls of nature, and once for a sit down breakfast, sadly not at the Rio Hotel and Casino and not even in Las Vegas. We made it to Zion National Park by about 2:30 p.m. Mountain time. After a brief but successful scramble for three camp sites next to each other, we unloaded the vehicles and made camp.

Thursday Afternoon

The Virgin River, raging through Zion
We drove a bit through the park and stopped at a few places for easy hikes. The first was to see Weeping Rock where water drips profusely out of the face of a sandstone (I think) cliff. Cool. The next stop was at the end of the road where we walked along the Gateway to the Narrows Trail. The Virgin River was raging a lot higher than on our previous trip. We were unable to walk out onto the end of the Narrows trail this time, but the hike was very nice, although the weather was a little overcast.

After dinner, we built a campfire, sat around for a while, and retired fairly early.

Friday Morning

Three more of our party -- Keith, Melissa, and Danny -- arrived at about 9:00. After a leisurely breakfast, we piled in several cars and drove to the Emerald Pools trail. The hike was mostly uphill, and we weren't even allowed in the pools once we got there, but nevertheless, the views were worth the effort. The pools were very clear, and there were a number of little waterfalls, a few even that dripped on our heads as we hiked back down. Since it was sunnier out than on the previous day, the coolness was refreshing.

Friday Afternoon

The highlight of the day was the afternoon hike on Angels Landing. There's a steep trail leading up to it, and a path along the narrow top of it with steep drop-offs on either side. The path on top is marked by chains set into the rock and at some points, one has to hold on to the chains in order to navigate over rocky outcroppings. From the end of the trail, there is a great view of the canyon, but not as good, I think, as the view of Angels Landing itself as seen from above on Cable Mountain. See my last Zion Trip report for a picture of that.

David Fondler arrived sometime during our afternoon hike. He joined us for dinner. After dinner, we built a campfire, sat around for a while, and retired fairly late.

Saturday Morning

Five of the group planned to go on an overnight trip on the west rim. The plan for the rest of us was to accompany them
The full crowd, starting on our hike
for half the day and then turn around after lunch. Dean and Sarah arrived during breakfast and they joined us as well. The fourteen of us drove in four cars to the west rim connector trail trailhead. From there we hiked over varied terrain that included meadows, streams, woods, and rocks. We stopped at a picturesque rock outcropping, goofed around a little, and ate lunch.

Saturday Afternoon

Danny resting after lunch, enjoying the view
The nine of us who were retuning to the campsite started back, while the backpackers moved on. We hiked back out the way we came, and then drove back into the park. The last member of our industrial sized group -- Harlan -- had arrived while we were away for the day. Beth and Steve had reserved a room at Zion Lodge for the night, so many of us stole a shower in their cabin-ette before dinner. It wasn't quite "roughing it" but we enjoyed it anyway. Despite their accommodations, they joined us for dinner and campfire at the camp site before retiring in comparative luxury.

Sunday Morning

The nine others besides me spent the day hiking up to Observation Point. They had wanted to hike Cable Mountain, but the road to the trailhead was impassable. Meanwhile, I went
An old Grafton building with a nice view
for a bike ride. I had brought my bicycle with me and I used it to go see Grafton Ghost Town and Grafton Cemetary, about seven miles outside the park, over a dirt road for part of the way. Both were sort of cool, and not at all spooky, despite the name.

Sunday Afternoon

After lunch, I pedaled back into the park and rode the length of the paved portion of Zion, which is the only area on which bikes are allowed. Along the road I stopped at numerous spots to take pictures. It was very convenient to be able to stop in places where there is no room for cars to pull over. By the end of the afternoon, I was back at the camp site and the day hikers returned soon after. The overnight hikers were not too much later either, and we had dinner, as on all the other nights, before sundown. It stayed light out until almost 9:00 p.m. so that really wasn't much of an accomplishment, but it made cooking and cleaning that much easier. Campfire began promptly when cleanup was complete.

The full goon squad

Monday Morning

A few people got on the road early. Most everyone else went on one last hike. I stayed at the campsite and cleaned up, packed up, and secured my bike on my car. When the hikers returned, we were on the road by noon.

Monday Afternoon

The drive home was not very eventful. We did hit monster traffic between Las Vegas and Barstow, but Danny successfully navigated us, via CB, to old route 66 where we probably cut two hours off our drive. As it was, it took us over 11 hours to get home, but we sort of expected that, it being Memorial Day. I don't know about the others, but I was in bed by midnight, and was unpacking and cleaning stuff all through the following week.