A bit about how I planned this trip. We had a limited number of days since we were doing this over kiddo’s Fall Break and a long weekend. Hubs was just along for whatever, so it was up to me and kiddo to make this happen. She already had her must-sees in mind: Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. I was up for those as well, and based on some research, I added the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Sedona to this itinerary. I was determined to make the most of it while we were in the area. I have a friend who is an excellent vacation planner and had been to Zion and the GC, so I enlisted her input, plus whatever I could learn online.
This trip was to be all about the hiking. I had grand plans about being in great shape and super prepared. Ahem. I have grand plans about a lot of things.
From the journal:
Day 2, continued: Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022
We parked in Springdale after seeing the parking lot at the actual park was full. Shuttled into Zion and went to the visitor’s center for a map. We decided on an easy trail – Lower Emerald Pool Trail. Got back on a shuttle to stop #5 – Zion Lodge and headed out. It was gorgeous. I tried to stay out of my head about my limitations and just focus on the beauty of the park and the fact that I am here … that’s the most important thing. Took the shuttle to stop #9 and checked out the beginning of the Riverside/Narrows trail. Kiddo wants to go back and do the Narrows tomorrow, so we’ll see. I’m sure I won’t make it far but am going to enjoy it regardless. We shuttled back to Springdale and our car and stopped off at a grocery because it was getting late and I was afraid the store in Cedar City (recommended by the AirBnB guy) would be closed. Oh, almost forgot, we did stop by the gift shop before leaving Zion for kiddo a hoodie and postcards, magnets, and such.
Left Springdale and headed for the AirBnB -hoping to find food along the way, but no luck. AirBnB is in the middle of nowhere and it was dark and a bit of a stressful drive but we made it here about 9:30 p.m. It’s a cute A-frame cabin. Three floors so a separate bedroom for each of us – thank goodness. Ate a sandwich for dinner and chatted with kiddo a bit about what we’re doing tomorrow. To bed now for me. I’m pooped.
/end journal entry
If there is one place that I wish we’d had more time at, it would be Zion. I feel like we only scratched the surface, and I definitely want to go back someday. I missed so many things in my sad journalling attempts and will try to recount some of the highlights as best as I can, even if many are probably out of order.
Like all good tourists, our first stop was the Visitor Center (after we’d shuttled into the park proper from Springdale) to pick up maps, figure out the shuttle system, and get our bearings. Lower Emerald Pool Trail was a good start; very easy and there’s not a bad view anywhere. Note: I quickly found my hiking strategy for this trip — encourage hubs and kiddo to go ahead, as they are very fast hikers compared to me, while I take my time without feeling any pressure to keep up.
After that first hike, we witnessed the aftermath of a wedding ceremony under a humongous tree in a lovely open space surrounded by mountains. Better than a church wedding any day. We ate a delicious lunch at the Park Lodge, then made our way to the Narrows via the Riverside Walk. Beautiful, gorgeous, spectacular, etc. There aren’t enough adjectives. But also, crowded.
Miscellaneous: There were lots of families with small children. I remember sitting behind one such family on the shuttle and the woman had done the Narrows with a toddler riding in a carrier on her back. She was talking about the unstable footing in the river and crossing it with a kid strapped to her like it ain’t no thang. I could never. Bad ass momma. Another cool thing – We saw some climbers on Angel’s Landing from afar. Rock climbers amaze me, and I LOVE all climbing documentaries.
We left the park that evening and made our way back down to our parking spot in Springdale to make the 2 hour drive to our first AirBnB. Yeah, I didn’t plan that part out so well. Sidenote: Springdale is a really cute little town, but we didn’t explore it much except for my little excursion into the grocery store. Made it to our sweet little A-frame cabin and dreamt of more mountains tomorrow.