We met at 4:15, eight of us, in the parking lot of Sheldon's, an all night coffee shop in Pacific Beach. The theory went that no one could be late because there would be no way to call the others and beg off, but if someone was late anyway, the others could at least have breakfast at Sheldon's. All of us -- Bruce, Steve, Dave, Beth, Steve, LeAnne, Erik, and Nanae -- were pretty much on time, so in three vehicles equipped with CB radios, thermoses of coffee, and Beth's zucchini bread and cookies for breakfast, we were on the road by 4:30 in the danged morning.
We stopped a few times for gas, drinks, calls of nature, and once for a sit down breakfast, sadly not at the Rio Hotel and Casino and not even in Las Vegas. We made it to Zion National Park by about 2:30 p.m. Mountain time. After a brief but successful scramble for three camp sites next to each other, we unloaded the vehicles and made camp.
|The Virgin River, raging through Zion|
After dinner, we built a campfire, sat around for a while, and retired fairly early.
Three more of our party -- Keith, Melissa, and Danny -- arrived at about 9:00. After a leisurely breakfast, we piled in several cars and drove to the Emerald Pools trail. The hike was mostly uphill, and we weren't even allowed in the pools once we got there, but nevertheless, the views were worth the effort. The pools were very clear, and there were a number of little waterfalls, a few even that dripped on our heads as we hiked back down. Since it was sunnier out than on the previous day, the coolness was refreshing.
The highlight of the day was the afternoon hike on Angels Landing. There's a steep trail leading up to it, and a path along the narrow top of it with steep drop-offs on either side. The path on top is marked by chains set into the rock and at some points, one has to hold on to the chains in order to navigate over rocky outcroppings. From the end of the trail, there is a great view of the canyon, but not as good, I think, as the view of Angels Landing itself as seen from above on Cable Mountain. See my last Zion Trip report for a picture of that.
David Fondler arrived sometime during our afternoon hike. He joined us for dinner. After dinner, we built a campfire, sat around for a while, and retired fairly late.
Five of the group planned to go on an overnight trip on the west rim. The plan for the rest of us was to accompany them
|The full crowd, starting on our hike|
|Danny resting after lunch, enjoying the view|
The nine others besides me spent the day hiking up to Observation Point. They had wanted to hike Cable Mountain, but the road to the trailhead was impassable. Meanwhile, I went
|An old Grafton building with a nice view|
After lunch, I pedaled back into the park and rode the length of the paved portion of Zion, which is the only area on which bikes are allowed. Along the road I stopped at numerous spots to take pictures. It was very convenient to be able to stop in places where there is no room for cars to pull over. By the end of the afternoon, I was back at the camp site and the day hikers returned soon after. The overnight hikers were not too much later either, and we had dinner, as on all the other nights, before sundown. It stayed light out until almost 9:00 p.m. so that really wasn't much of an accomplishment, but it made cooking and cleaning that much easier. Campfire began promptly when cleanup was complete.
|The full goon squad|
A few people got on the road early. Most everyone else went on one last hike. I stayed at the campsite and cleaned up, packed up, and secured my bike on my car. When the hikers returned, we were on the road by noon.
The drive home was not very eventful. We did hit monster traffic between Las Vegas and Barstow, but Danny successfully navigated us, via CB, to old route 66 where we probably cut two hours off our drive. As it was, it took us over 11 hours to get home, but we sort of expected that, it being Memorial Day. I don't know about the others, but I was in bed by midnight, and was unpacking and cleaning stuff all through the following week.