Grand Canyon to Zion National Park

After the Hoover Dam we cruised on for a few hours in the rain till we crashed for the night in Williams, AZ. Luck was on our side in the morning as we headed off to check out the Grand Canyon, as the clouds lifted for us for a few hours. This my first visit to the Canyon, and I always hoped it would live up to my expectations…….and it did….it is massive!

Our first view of canyon....pretty impressive!
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Our first view of the canyon….pretty impressive!

Enjoying the views
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Enjoying the views

More of the spectacular scenery
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More of the spectacular scenery

After a few hours of checking out the canyon the rain clouds decided to kick in, but that allowed us to get some some cool shots.

I think it is going to rain!
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I think it is going to rain!

Rain moving through the canyon
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Rain moving through the canyon

The weather that day gave us an impressive desert drive to Zion National Park. There were a lot of low level clouds as we drove through the desert.

Cool views across the dessert
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Cool views across the desert

Groovy mobile in the dessert
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Groovy mobile in the desert

On the way to Zion we stopped off and checked out the Navajo Bridge over the Little Colorado River.

Navajo Bridge
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Navajo Bridge

Little Colorado River......with all the rain....just a bit muddy!
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Little Colorado River……with all the rain….just a bit muddy!

We ended up crashing for the night in the town of Kanab, UT. Which, by the way, is the Hollywood of Utah, because they supposedly filmed a lot of western movies there. We didn’t see much of that, since it rained all night long…..our wettest night so far on this portion of the trip. The next day, the weather turned around for us as we entered Zion National Park. We both agree, Zion has to be one of the top parks we have visited so far…….awesome!! Here is a pic as we just entered the park.

First glimpse of Zion
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First glimpse of Zion

We were able to get a spot at the popular Watchman campground for the night.

Pretty sweet view from our spot....too bad they were booked, and we could only stay here one night
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Pretty sweet view from our spot….too bad they were booked, and we could only stay here one night

Since we had our accommodations sorted for the night we decided to head off for some adventure climbing! On the other side of Zion there is a Canyon called Kolob Canyon, which supposedly has the best sport route in Utah, a climb called Namaste. It is a 14 bolt long, overhanging endurance fest route, my type of climbing! So we decided to check it out. The hike into the canyon and to the climbing wall is about 45 minutes. I loved it, since there was not another soul around…..Cathy on the other hand…..had concerns of mountain lions and rattle snakes! Eh….it’s an adventure! The canyon is gorgeous, and we found the wall with no problems. Here are some pics from the hike and climbing area.

Heading into Kolob Canyon
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Heading into Kolob Canyon

Some of cool views in the Kolob Canyon
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Some cool views in the Kolob Canyon

Further up the canyon
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Further up the canyon

Getting to launch off!
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Getting ready to launch off!

Cathy top-roping a route on the Namste Wall
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Cathy top-roping a route on the Namaste Wall

Working the route Namaste....a bit wet and dirty in a few spots
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Working the route Namaste….an awesome route, but this day it was a bit wet and dirty in a few spots

The next morning we headed off into the heart of Zion to do the famous Angel’s Landing hike. Cathy and I both agreed that this has to be one of our top five hikes we have done on our whole trip. You gain a lot of elevation pretty quickly, so it can be strenuous, but the last .5 mile is over a ridge line that takes you to the summit. They have installed a chain to help people, and with the amount of exposure on the last part, I was really surprised how many people were doing it. Check out the pictures.

Starting up Angel's Landing, you actually summit the peak in the upper right corner of the pic
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Starting up Angel’s Landing, you actually summit the peak in the upper right corner of the pic

Looking down from about a third of the way up
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Looking down from about a third of the way up, you can see the trail on the right side of the pic

The view from the start of the last half mile ridge line hike to the summit
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The view from the start of the last half mile ridge line hike to the summit

Cathy coming across one of the narrow parts
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Cathy coming across one of the narrow parts

It's a long way down!
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It’s a long way down!

This gives a good idea of the ridge line you hike along with the chain
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This gives a good idea of the ridge line you hike along with the chain

Near the summit
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Near the summit

The ultimate reward.....the view from the summit is spectacular!
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The ultimate reward…..the view from the summit is spectacular!

After the hike we grabbed the shuttle bus to the end of the main canyon, and checked out the Narrows. This is one of the most popular hikes in the canyon…….and it was packed! We only hiked up to the start of the Narrows, as you have to walk through a lot of water on the hike, and since there had been a lot of rainfalls recently the water wasn’t looking too appealing!

The start of the Narrows..... anybody up for walking through some muddy water! ;)
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The start of the Narrows….. anybody up for walking through some muddy water! ;)

Cool rock cairn at the start of the hike
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Cool rock cairn at the start of the hike

That night we ended up moving to the South Campground, as the Watchman was all booked up. It was a nice spot where you get visitors at dusk and dawn.

Visitors to our campsite
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Visitors to our campsite

The next morning, we broke down camp and headed back to Kolob Canyon. I wanted to give Namaste another run. Our first time there I discovered while I was climbing it that is was wet in spots, and there was a lot of mud on it from the water and sand mixing in some of the holds. We hiked back into the canyon and I gave it another run……it was dry this time, and the climb went down first go! I ended up doing a few laps in the canyon that day……great endurance training, as everything is overhung. Thanks again to my awesome bride-to-be for the catches!!

My awesome belayer!
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My awesome belayer!

Looking at the route Namaste
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Looking up the route, Namaste

Tick!
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Tick!

We are now making our way further along into Utah…..next stop, Bryce Canyon!

- Jamie

 

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