Tuesday, May 28, 2013

the one about a camping trip

I don't know what it is about the last few weeks, but I just want to go go go! This past weekend I took a trip to Zion National Park with some girlfriends and spent the whole weekend camping and hiking. I've never really been camping. Bugs and dirt are not really my thing, but it was an AMAZING weekend.

It all started late Friday night. We totally forgot to book a campsite, which when you're camping on the busiest weekend of the year is a major problem. Zion has a handful of campgrounds that are first come, first served so we figured we try to get one of those. This meant that we had to leave super super early, we're talking o'dark thirty here people. Since I was going to drive I was promptly sent to bed so we could roll out of Provo at 4am the next day.

We made the drive down to the park, waited in line for what seemed like an eternity only to be told that all of the campsites were gone. Quickly becoming desperate we began calling all the other campsites around the park and finally found one. 25 miles away. In Hurricane. So we flipped around, raced to Hurricane, set up our tent, raced back to Zion, and waited another 25 minutes to get into the park. (For whatever reason, people completely forget how to drive when surrounded by red rocks; it's weird.)
Cars for dayzzzz
We set up that tent in five minutes

Our first day in the park we hiked Angel's Landing. Angel's Landing is this huge mountain and is marked as a strenuous hike. The park map says that it takes five hours, round trip. Challenge accepted: we got it done in about four hours :) In order to get the summit you have to survive the chained part of the hike. The trail stops at a lookout and the last half mile is on the rocks. The park people (I'm not sure what to call them) have installed chains for hikers to hold on to to get them to the summit. I got about a quarter of the way up, freaked out, and promptly climbed back down to wait at the lookout. I'm a pansy, it's fine. My fellow hikers took about an hour to get to the summit and come back down, so I hung out and talked with this awesome lady from San Jose. We bonded over our pansy-ness :)

Although I didn't make it to the summit, I found this awesome hiding spot

The second day we hiked the Narrows. If you ever go to Zion and only have time for one hike, this is the one! The Narrows is a slot canyon with a river running through it. I LOVE WATER! We spent the whole day playing in the water and looking at the red rocks. I felt like I was in the middle of an Indiana Jones movie or Lost, either will work. At one point I found this mini cave in the side of rock and decided that I really wanted a picture of myself in it. The only problem is that it was about five feet above the water level and there was no easy way to climb up it. Luckily there was a guy behind me who offered to boost me up :) (Picture is not my camera so sorry to build up to the moment and then deny you the pleasure of seeing the picture...but I promise it was really good!) I loved the Narrows so much! The water was perfect and the scenery was just gorgeous. We found this little sunny spot to have lunch. It was perfect to sit there, listening to the water, and basking in the sun. 

Coming out of the Narrows

On the last day we woke up, tore down our camp, and headed to Kolob Canyon for one last hike. We picked on that ended in the Double Arch Alcove. This hike followed a little stream 2.5 miles up the canyon. It was the perfect way to end our trip. We didn't want anything too intense since we had a four hour drive ahead of us. The alcove was amazing! The echoes were out of control. Since it was Mama Lo's birthday we sang to her there, ate some fruit snacks, and headed on our way. 

Red rocks

Zion was the perfect way to spend Memorial Day weekend. Sure the park was super crowded and the drivers terrible, but we met some super cool people. There's something about camping that bonds people together. Everyone is willing to help each other out and before you know you've had this great conversation with someone you've just met. We also had some interesting food experiences. We didn't have a campfire so that altered our dietary plans. Tin foil dinners don't work quite as well on the grill and s'mores don't turn out great on the gas grill either. However, if you make a turkey sandwich on a tortilla and put in your pack, you'll have melted cheese at the top of Angel's Landing. Poor man's panini, anyone? 








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