Things have been a little quiet around here lately… sorry about that.
You already know one of my excuses: I had no time for cooking because Nate and I took a last-minute trip to Zion National Park over the weekend. Also, work has been busy, and so even though I wanted to share my trip to Zion with you earlier, I didn’t have time. Sorryyyy.
But better late than never. Here are some pictures from the weekend! Naturally, I brought my DSLR, but didn’t even take it out of the case once. Oops. The iPhone is just so much more convenient for hiking, you know? I’m sure my hiking pictures would be much better had I used my nice camera, but I’m also sure that I would have either a) dropped it off the side of a canyon or b) fallen off the side of a canyon myself while trying to rescue my camera. So let’s just save the DSLR for food, shall we?
Last week Nate suggested that we head down to southern Utah, since he had a long weekend and we were both so sick of the cold. I said yes on one condition – no camping! We tried to camp down in Moab last March, but I panicked as soon as the sun set and the temperature dropped, and ended up sleeping in my friends’ hotel room. Huge wimp right here – no winter camping for me! So this time he made us a last-minute hotel reservation, and on Friday night we made the 4 1/2 hour drive from Salt Lake down to Zion.
We arrived in the dark (pretty sketchy!) and couldn’t wait to wake up and see the park in the light. We were not disappointed – here’s the view we woke up to on Saturday morning:
We stayed at the Zion Lodge, the only hotel in the park, which was pretty ideal. The park is small, and the hotel was centrally located; we even walked from the hotel to the trailhead for one of our hikes.
On Saturday morning we decided to hike the Angel’s Landing trail. We’ve been hearing about this hike since we moved to Utah, so naturally it was the first thing to check off our list. But part of the reason we’d heard of it is that parts of the trail have long drop-offs and chains to hang on to… possibly not the greatest wintertime route. But the woman at the visitors’ center said we should be fine, so off we went!
You can’t tell here, but a lot of the trail was very icy, and it was also very crowded. Nice weather on President’s Day weekend made for a lot of hiking company! We would have preferred some more solitude, but the views at the top were pretty spectacular anyway:
After snapping a few pictures at the top, we spent much of the way down hanging onto the chains for dear life and hoping no one else would slide into us and topple us off the mountain. I was glad to get down off that icy part!
After a day of hiking and a trail run (admittedly a pretty wimpy one), I was feeling extremely grimy. The main benefit of not camping: Showers! I made Nate take a picture of me before dinner to prove that I only spent most of the weekend in sweaty hiking clothes.
Speaking of dinner, no pictures of food here. The food was definitely not the highlight of the trip. I guess that’s pretty common for outdoorsy destination towns. That’s OK – the natural beauty of the park more than made up for it. Here was our drive to dinner:
This sunset was so beautiful. There was a line of photographers on a bridge as we were driving out of the park, just waiting to capture the beautiful light on the red rock. We didn’t want to act like tourists, but a few minutes afterwards I gave in and made Nate pull over so I could take a few iPhone photos. :)
On Sunday we got an earlier start to avoid the crowds (and also to be able to make the drive home in the daylight). It paid off – we had a BEAUTIFUL hike up to Observation Point, and only saw 1 other hiker on the way up!
We got a great workout, had amazing views of the park, and at times there was complete silence – an unbelievable day of hiking.
Observation Point is higher than Angel’s Landing and looks down onto it. It was cool to have done Angel’s Landing the first day and then be able to see where we had been (especially because we were higher up!).
The Observation Point hike was a little icy in parts, but unlike Angel’s Landing, there were no chains we had to hang onto… so it was much less treacherous. It was still slow going on the way down, especially since I can’t bear the thought of slipping and had to inch my way along whole sections.
I was pretty proud of myself for keeping up with Nate (super-marathoner) on our hikes. Well, “keeping up” – he let me set the pace, and the one time I let him lead, he put 10 yards on me in about 5 seconds. Oh well, what did I really expect? But I do think we were good hiking partners. We did the 8 mile Observation Point hike on Sunday in 3 hours and 40 minutes, including stopping at the top and going veeeeery slowly on the icy patches on the way down. Go us!
Looking at these pictures is making me wish we were headed back down there this weekend. No such luck, unfortunately. But on the bright side, that means I’ll be in the kitchen, and we’ll get back to the recipe posts next week!
Hope your week is going well!