Day 60, 20 miles
The girls leave early this morning. It was very windy last night and it still is. I pass them later cooking breakfast on the trail.
Apparently it’s a thing to run across Zion. I saw some runners yesterday and this morning as well. During the last descent towards the weeping wall there is a big group of them hooting and hollering. It’s quite obnoxious.
The first part of my descent this morning didn’t always have obvious trail and cairns are scarce but the last part is almost like concrete switchbacks. Lots and lots of day hikers come up as I walk down. I must have said ‘Good morning!’ at least fifty times.
It’s weird to finish in such a busy area. I get to the weeping wall trailhead which is the official end of the trail and take a selfie at the sign. It looks kind of dumb. I walk over to check out the wall and there is quite some water dripping down. A few teenage girls are checking it out too.
I cross the road and hop on to the shuttle bus to the visitor center. There is one couple on the bus and they ask all kinds of questions. It’s fun to talk about the hike. The bus driver is very interested in what I’ve done and we talk all the way to my stop.
At the permit center I ask if there are any permits for the west rim and there aren’t. I do get a permit for a camp site in the La Verkin creek area which is 7 miles or so from Lee Pass for tomorrow. I guess I’ll just camp outside the park tonight.
On my way to buy some more snacks I surprisingly run into Janos! My Hungarian friend from the Grand Canyon. I knew he was going to be in Zion at some point but didn’t think our dates overlapped. He’s chatting with Tour Guide another thru hiker who just hiked through Zion and will do some AZT to get ready for the CDT this year. We all chat for a while, it’s so fun!
When she hikes on, Janos and I buy some snacks and a coffee. We catch up, he had a good hike out of the canyon and has visited Bryce. He also tells me that there is camping at Lava point campground even though it’s closed. Maybe I’ll head there tonight, distance wise that might work.
After some phone calls it’s back to the trail for me. I want to hike the Zion extension since ending at Weeping wall just feels a bit weird with all the tourists and this way I get to see more of the park. Also the hitching might be easier. Springdale is a complete zoo with cars and tourists everywhere. Lee pass should have fewer cars but they’ll all be hikers.
The line for the shuttle bus is insane! At least fifty people if not more. I decide to walk the half mile to the next stop and get on there. A guy behind me has the same idea and we walk together. There is no line at the next stop and the bus slowly makes its’ way to the Grotto stop where the trail to Angel’s Landing and the west rim starts.
The Angel’s Landing trail is packed! I lose most of them after Scout point where I hang a left and they go up the cables to the right. I’d hike it again if it weren’t so busy but at this point I’m passing. A little bit further on I hear my name. It’s Brenna and Nicole! Yay! They did go up Angel’s Landing and it took them a long time because of the other hikers. I join them on their break and we head up to the rim together. When it gets steeper I have to let them go on since I can’t keep up.
The trail is so cool! The views are awesome! On top there are some pine trees and it feels a little bit like Yosemite. A very different feel than in the valley. I don’t see Brenna and Nicole and assume they’re still ahead. I’m thinking they were headed for Lava Point as well and push on to get there. I didn’t quite realize how much out of my way it is to go there but once I’m committed to it I continue. I never do see them up there but the view is really cool. The sun has mostly set but there is still enough day light left for me to see. I leave the viewpoint and just as it’s getting dark I lay down my pad underneath a giant pine and sleep comfortably. I wonder where Brenna and Nicole are.