Yes, that is a shout out to Laryn Hill.
We LOVED Zion National Park! Last Monday we made the drive from L.A. to SW Utah, where, thanks to our good friend Teby, we stayed at a really cool, free campsite outside of the park (If you ever plan to go there, just check out mile marker 24 on Hwy 9). The next morning we headed in to the park with a few ideas for what we wanted to do but no definite plans. When we found out we could get a backcountry permit for the night we quickly said “yes” without really going over the map to look at mileage and elevation (rookie mistake, i know, we were just too excited to backpack in Zion).
We started our day by hiking out to Angel’s Landing. It is a narrow rock formation measuring over 1,200 feet in which you can walk the .5 mile hike out on to the point using chains (and a lot of sturdy footing) — it is windy and even though neither of us are usually afraid of heights, we were afraid of these heights where the trail narrowed to a few feet. After this excursion, we strapped our packs back on and started up the trail to the West Rim Trail (here’s the part we didn’t know was coming). We hiked up, up, up and 7 miles of uphill later we collapsed at our campsite. Just to give you and idea of how beautiful the sunset was, we were camping near a campsite that was voted “Best Campsite in America” by Backpacker magazine a couple years ago. We had a beautiful view overlooking the tops of mountains and mesas.
The next day we hiked DOWN the 7 miles and despite hurting knees we regrouped, ate a big lunch, and took the shuttle up to the northern most stop in the canyon to do part of the Narrows (we just couldn’t pass this one up). The Narrows was rated #5 in the National Geographic rating of America’s best 100 Adventures. Enough about stats, this hike is amazing and we were blown away by the beauty and awe of hiking through a canyon in the Virgin River, the river that has slowly carved out the valley over millions of years. We wore running shoes and took our trekking poles and simply made our way up the river, stepping over rocks in the river and constantly looking up at the sheer rock faces on either side of us. The canyon is so deep that it doesn’t see much sunlight, but there is a warm glow of light that manages to penetrate even the deepest caverns. In some places the canyon walls are only 20 feet wide! Someday we want to come back and hike the entire 17 mile thru-hike, but for now we were happy to do a fun up and back for the afternoon.