Part of the excitement of returning to the states, after nearly a year away, was not telling anyone! I surprised all of my girlfriends with my unexpected homecoming. Part of the surprise was that I’d be in town to celebrate all of our 30th birthdays!
The first one of my girlfriends to turn 30 opted to celebrate with a girls trip to Zion National Park!
Planning for Zion
Zion National Park first came onto my radar when I moved to Vegas in 2008. Despite having never heard of it before then, it quickly became one of those familiar destinations so close to home I would be able to visit, whenever. It took over a decade, and several trips to the other side of the world, before whenever arrived.
Per usual, I didn’t do much research about Zion before the trip. During my travels I met countless travelers who’d been there and had nothing but great things to say about it. A girl I lived with in Bali sent me a ton of info regarding how to prepare and what to do. I glanced over the material and passed it along to my girlfriends but didn’t investigate much further.
When the birthday girl read about Angel’s Landing- a 5790 ft peak that can only be reached by hiking a narrow ridge with 1000 foot drop offs on either side, she was committed to doing it, with or without the rest of us. When I’d heard about this hike in travelers’ tales, it sounded cool. But on the verge of actually hiking it, I was a little nervous.
The three of us hiked the first 2 miles together- I use the word “together” loosely. I trailed quite a ways behind my friends, needing a few extra pit stops to sip water and to catch my breath on the steeply inclined switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles. I hiked most of it alongside a group of less than athletic college students. “I’m going to stick with you guys,” I said, officially interjecting myself into their group after walking beside them for several yards, “the friends I came here with are marathon runners,” I continued to joke. (Really though, they are!)
Between deep inhalations they laughed and said “You came here with the wrong people!” and enthusiastically welcomed me into their group.
When we got to Scout’s Lookout, I spotted my friends in the distance. Scouts lookout is the final stopping point before beginning the last half mile stretch- the scary part. The sign before it says “strenuous climb, narrow route with cliff exposures.” But for me, the “strenuous” part of the climb was the two miles I’d just hiked uphill. I ran over to my friends excited to start the scary part of the hike!
The Final Stretch
The scariest part of the scary part was the amount of people up there. The path is extremely narrow and rocky, with 1000 ft drop-offs on either side. There were certain spots where we had to wait, holding the chain link ropes for balance, to let large groups pass by.
To use words to describe the beauty and vastness of the views would only come out cliched. We sure soaked them in though when we reached the summit!
Check out the pics below!