I am so looking forward to exploring Zion with Betty. We made plans to meet at the visitor center. Even though we spent only a few hours back in October in Smoky Mountains National Park, it feels like meeting an old friend.
I return to Zion with one main goal: to hike the Angels Landing Trail again. I own this hike, the courage to pursue many life goals, and persevere through difficult challenges. You see, I am afraid of heights, so when I hiked it with shaking knees and a pounding heart eight years ago, something shifted in me.
(From Google: Angels Landing in Zion National Park is one of the most spectacular day hikes in the world. The hike climbs up roughly 1,500 vertical feet along the narrow fin of stone, reaching a top elevation of 5,790 feet. A chain railing adds an element of safety, but if exposed heights make you weak in the knees, it will take a double-dose of courage to make the summit.)
Today you need to win a permit lottery to hike that section. The first try, we had no success. No worries, we have another two days to try.
Even though we are visiting the park during the off-season, we get the recommendation to be at the parking lot by eight in the morning. It isn't easy to wake up so early to get ready when the temperatures are still in the mid-30's. By eight, we barely got a parking spot. With so many people around, I realized it might not be easy to win my desirable permit.
We start our day with a hike to Sand Bench Trail. I truthfully have a hard time finding the words to express what this stunning view in front of me does to my soul. I wish my photos could capture half of it, but honestly, Zion National Park needs to be on everyone's bucket list. Since we started the day early, we have time to squeeze in another hike. So Emerald Pool is our next destination. We ended up hiking ten miles. Someone will be sleeping well tonight!
We take the next day at ease since we again didn't win the privilege to hike to Angels Landing. We apply again. I am not putting myself under too much pressure to get the permit. I know I can always come back again—no need to create unnecessary disappointment. Luckily, The Watchman Trail starts from our campground. This hike will take you to view the valley towards Angels Landing. After lunch, we take a ride up Rt. 9 and hike Canyon Overlook just past the tunnel. Funny, the landscape of the thin layers of rocks reminds me of one of my favorite childhood snack wafers. Betty is in the mood for baklava.
Mother nature is an incredible artist who creates art with her tools of wind and water for us to enjoy and honor.
By now, I have gotten used to the cold. It has been over five months now that I have been dealing with low temperatures. That, indeed, was different from my original plan. I was supposed to chase the warmth, but the cold continued to find me. Sitting outside when it is in the low 30's to witness the moon rise behind the ridge feels normal, and for sure, worth it. As the moon slowly finds its way up to shine our night, it brings such a peaceful feeling into my heart.
Unfortunately, we didn't secure a permit even after the third try. I made a clear decision not to get upset, and I kept my promise to myself.
We decided to hike The West Rim Trail since it is the trail that leads to Angels Landing. We can at least get some of the views that Angels Landing provides.