Nature, Travel

Hiking to Angels Landing at Zion

My client meeting in the morning goes well and after that I enjoy breakfast at the hotel. I like hotel breakfasts as they usually have quite some choice for what you want to eat. I start a bit healthy with yoghurt and granola and then finish it off with some waffels (that you can bake yourself), sausage and scrambled eggs. That’ll be enough fuel to go on the hike. I expected there to be a long line at the entrance of Zion National Park like last Summer, but there are only a few cars in line this morning. That’s a nice surprise. I drive into the park and park near a shuttle station. You can’t drive all the way to the trail, they have free shuttles that take you there. It’s been a few years since I hiked to Angels Landing. Back then you didn’t need a permit for it, but they’ve changed that since it got too crowded. Despite the permit system, there are still many people out here and later I find out that’s because you can still hike most of the trail without the permit, only for the last part climbing up the mountain you need permission. I’m one of the lucky ones that can go all the way to the top. I haven’t worked out for weeks and feel quite a bit challenged by this hike. I think it’s one of the toughest trails I’ve been on, but the great views at the end are totally worth it. Fortunately this morning it’s not so hot and there is even a little bit of rain. I’m happy about that, because it makes the climb a lot more comfortable. In about two hours I reach the top.
Yesterday at the local grocery store I had found a lunch package with a sandwich, a cookie and a bag of chips and I enjoy it at Angels Landing while looking at the views of the Zion valley. I stay for quite a while at the top, making worth the effort it took to get there. The way down is quite a lot faster and, since the sun is breaking through now, also a lot warmer. I talk with some people on the way down and one girl tells me how she has overnight parked at the visitor center and that no one came to check that, so it’s fine to camp there. That might be a good idea for a place to stay tonight. I first drive further through the park to see the nice scenery and then go back to the visitor center at the south entrance. I check the campsite, but they’re fully booked, so I park near the visitor center next to a campervan. I start a conversation with the girl sitting in the van. She’s from Germany and traveling with her cousin Mike through America. They also overnight parked here last night and tell me it was all fine. I’m glad I found nice neighbors. Around dinner time they have to do some groceries in town and I walk to the local pub which is just a few minutes out of the park. They have nice burgers, but especially their Zion Pale Ale beer is really great. I’ve had it before a few years ago and I think it’s one of the best beers I ever had. At the pub they have a special machine with which they can can beers. That was not a typo, but let me rephrase, they have a machine that puts beers in cans to take home. I bring some beer back with me to the campsite to drink with the Germans. It’s a beautiful night as the sky clears up and there are many stars out tonight. I haven’t yet decided where to go from here, either south to the Grand Canyon or east to Bryce Canyon.

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