Monday, November 24, 2014

Thawing Out in Zion

Click Pictures to Enlarge

We left Salt Lake Wednesday morning in hopes to find a warmer climate where our waterline (and us) would thaw and we would have running water again. We drove I15 south for about 4 ½ hours to Zion National Park, the temps were in the mid 50’s when we pulled into Watchman Campground so hopefully things would thaw out in short order. We had not made reservations as we peeked at the reservation website and saw that it was not that busy and we wanted to see the sites before picking. We pretty much had our pick of sites and set up in B22, a beautiful site with great views. We only booked for two nights as we were hoping to find a boondocking location for the rest of our stay.
Prior to driving down, we had been in contact with fellow full-timers FOSJ who we had met in South Dakota last year. They are working in the Lake Mead area for the winter and said if we were ever in the area they would meet up with us. Well, to full-timers 2 ½ hours is considered “in the area”. You will not find nicer people than Steve and Joan, they drove up to Zion to meet up with us and show us the area. They have been to the area numerous times in the past, in fact, this was their 4th trip this year! They know the area very well and showed us many of the usual places as well as a few lesser known areas that we would have never traveled to on our own.  There are so many beautiful sights, it is hard to know which pictures to include.

Our tour guides, Steve and Joan

Barb saved my life!
This is absolutely the most beautiful park we have been to so far, the views, nature and rock formations are second to none. As Joan pointed out, the views change throughout the day as the sun hits the rock formations at different angles. The pictures don’t do it justice but we did the best that we could. We also created a short video of this adventure which you can view as well. Steve and Joan stayed two days and headed back to Lake Mead leaving Barb and I to fend for ourselves.

One of the first orders of business was see if we could get the water running. In additional to something freezing up, the water pump stopped working as well but we should be thawed out after two days in the upper 50’s. It seems like they put the waterpumps in the most inconvenient areas. But after accessing it through a panel in the belly I discovered an inline fuse was blown. After replacing it, I go back inside and hit the switch, turn on the faucet, and we have water! Shower time!
We were not able to find a place to boondock so we needed to reserve our location for the next couple of nights so we went to the office and it was not available, as a matter of fact there were no site available for two consecutive in the entire park! Who knew that Thanksgiving week would be so popular in Zion? We were able to get a different site for that night and another site for the next. So we moved and were ready for our day.

Our next order of business was to head to our “must do” hikes, Angels Landing. It is described as: “The Angels Landing Trail is one of the most famous and thrilling hikes in the national park system. Zion's pride and joy runs along a narrow rock fin with dizzying drop-offs on both sides. The trail culminates at a lofty perch, boasting magnificent views in every direction. Rarely is such an intimidating path so frequented by hikers. One would think that this narrow ridge with deep chasms on each of its flanks would allure only the most intrepid of hikers.”
We headed out full of anticipation and enthusiasm, the first part of the hike was not too bad, a few switchbacks and beautiful level area between two rock walls. This was followed by some more severe switchbacks to a plateau where we had lunch and prepared ourselves for the most intense part of the hike. The last section is an intense hike up the “narrow rock fin with dizzying drop-offs on both sides” described above. There were chains to hang onto in the most dangerous spots and believe me when I say we had a tight hold of the chains! Neither of us are great fans of heights so we focused on the area right around our feet and only took peeks at the surrounding scenery. After numerous breaks we finally made it to the top and it was definitely worth the trip. I made a 4 minute video of this adventure and this is one you cannot miss!

The next day, we had to move sites (once again) and I stayed home trying to get rid of a cold while Barb went hiking. She did the Hidden Canyon route and took some great pictures while in a narrow canyon.


Another cool thing about Zion is the wildlife, we saw mule deer, bighorn sheep, turkeys and a multitude of other creatures. Being late in the fall, it is mating season for the deer and bighorns so the bucks and rams were busy chasing the ladies around. I was able to get some good video of the mule deer chasing each other around, follow this link to see the video.  On the morning of our last day when Barb took Daisy out for her morning walk and only made it about 15 feet before she was charged by a deer! She turned and ran for the rig dragging Daisy as the deer chased them! It wasn't until Barb and Daisy hit the stairs that the deer veered and ran within 3' of the trailer!

Today (Monday) we are packing up and making our way back up to Salt Lake in preparation for Thanksgiving. Hopefully, it has warmed up enough to stay until Christmas, if not, we will head south to thaw out again!


  1. Hey! What happened to my comment? I guess I'll just have to do it again!

    Your video of Angel's Landing is awesome! I only saw one other person besides you two. Did you pass many people? Maybe one of these days......

    We had a great time! I never get tired of visiting Zion. We're ready anytime. You'll have to show Steve how to operate the gopro and make movies. You've really mastered it. Have a great Thanksgiving!.

    1. It actually was not that crowded, there were moments we had to wait during some of the tight spots but overall we hiked at our own pace. I think during the weekends or busy summer weeks it would be pretty crowded.

      Thanks again for coming up! Have a good Thanksgiving.

  2. Looks like a fantastic place to warm up in! Nice pics. Zion was on our list, now I can't wait! Happy Thankgiving to you both.

    1. Thanks Scott, it is an awesome park with some great scenery and hikes. Love the creativeness of your blog posts. Nashville looks like a lot of fun.

      Have a good Thanksgiving as well!

  3. We agree that Joan and Steve are wonderful people. We were glad we were in the same area that they were for awhile. We had several outings. Lake Mead is an amazing area with a ton of hikes.

    Zion is amazing! We spent a month there March of 2013. We hiked 27 days! There are endless hikes on the east side of the park. If you should return, use this website:
    Joe kept us busy for the entire month.

    We are heading to San Diego Dec 3rd until Jan. 15th. We will then head to Anza Borrego SP for a week. From there...probably back to AZ. Does your path go to any of these places?

    1. 27 hikes in a month, that is intense, we were sore after one!

      After spending the Holidays here in Salt Lake we will be heading down to Arizona then head east to Florida to visit family and friends.

      Thanks for the Zion guide, we will use it when we return next year!

  4. How fun to meet up with others and share a hike and company. Beautiful pictures. It's a good thing Daisy is small enough for you to pull her to safety! How scary!

  5. Although she may be small in stature, she thinks she is the biggest dog around and would take on any deer!