Day 6: Grand Canyon, Zion

We drove to a few overlooks at the Grand Canyon in hopes of seeing more than the day before. There were still way too many clouds…

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Since the Grand Canyon wasn’t very visible, we drove back to Zion and did two short hikes. These were very crowded with tourists.

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Top Emerald Pool

 

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Virgin River

After checking out the Narrows, we grabbed dinner outside the park, and then start the drive back to Vegas.

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Leaving the park

Day 5: Grand Canyon, North Rim

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View from the car driving in 

We drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon once finishing up hiking in Zion. The trees were in the middle of changing colors making the drive very pretty!

Once we got to the Grand Canyon we found out it was supposed to rain the next two days.

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We went on a short 4 mile hike to an overlook, but once we got there we found it to be too foggy to see anything.

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On the way back to the car, it poured! We were soaked! Luckily, we were able to get a campsite from a cancellation at the main campground as the Visitors Center and put our clothes in the dryer.

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View from campsite

The Visitors Center was about a mile from our campsite so drove over there. They have a nice restaurant as we as coffee shop/bar overlooking the canyon. We then bought some Elk Chili and a bottle of red wine which we took back to the campsite.

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Zion – Day 4 : West Rim Trail, Part 2

We woke up early to a dark sky. It looked like it was going to pour at any moment. Instead of making coffee and breakfast, we decided to pack up and try to get a move on before the rain hit.

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It drizzled for a few minutes, but no major rainstorms. None of us were really prepared for a down pour so we were quite relieved.

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Avery walking down one of the switchbacks carved into the mountain. It is a straight drop off to the right. 
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Further down the mountain.
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If you look closely, you can see the line where the trail cuts across the mountain. 

We were making really good progress until we got just above Angel’s Landing. Apparently this was the day they decided to remove all of the poop from the bathrooms at the top of Angel’s landing. The rangers strapped barrels of poop onto a helicopter and then toted it off. The parker rangers blocked the trail while this was done as they did not want anyone walking under the helicopters. This meant Avery and I had to wait for 1-2 hours.

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But we ran into our friends Jason and Rick again!

Finally around noon we were allowed to continue down the trail. This part of the trail is heavily traveled by tourists and paved.

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More switchbacks
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Virgin River flowing through the valley

By the time Avery and I reached The Grotto (where we crossed the main canyon road), we were exhausted, and we had wasted a lot of time because of the trail closure. To make matters worse, the weather was starting to look pretty foul. We decided to cut our trip one day short and not hike the last 8 miles on the East Rim Trail. Instead, we took the shuttle into town and had a nice cold beer and real food. Later that afternoon, a few heavy rain storms passed through. While I am sad we didn’t hike the entire Trans-Zion, I believe we made the right choice to stop when we did. Our entire trip came out to around 38 miles!

Zion – Day 3 : West Rim Trail

Although shorter than the day before, this was still a pretty strenuous day. We finished up the last leg of the Wildcat Canyon trail and hopped on the West Rim Trail.

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Wildcat Canyon
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Old Farm Machinery

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West Rim Campsite 5
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Enjoying some adult beverages waiting for the sun to set

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Zion – Day 2 : Hop Valley and Wildcat Canyon Trail

This was a loooong day. By far the hardest day of the trip. We started the day on the La Verkin Creek Trail and quickly turned onto the trail Hop Valley. We came across some fairly large mountain lion track so we decided not to waste time and quickly hurried along to Hop Valley.

 

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Start of the day
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Mountain Lion tracks
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Starting the descent to Hop Valley

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Leaving Hop Valley

It seemed like we were in Hop Valley forever, but we finally exited… only to find ourselves in the hot sun surrounded by more cows.

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On the Connector Trail between Hop Valley and Wildcat Canyon
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Meadow in Wildcat Canyon
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Wildcat Canyon

Shortly after this last photo we found a spring where we were able to re-supply water and then setup camp. At the end of the day, I think we hiked somewhere between 12 and 14 miles, a lot which was up hill.