This is a Throwback Thursday post, a throwback to when it was warm, well warmer. This is a post about one of my absolute favorite activities, hiking; more specifically hiking in Zion National Park!
For those who have not visited Zion National Park, I advise you to go. It is by far one of the most beautiful canyons in Utah, if not in the world. The name Zion was chosen by the early Springdale settlers who thought of the canyon as too beautiful for mortals to view. This park, which is located approximately 40 miles northeast of St. George, was Utah’s First National Park. Visitors of the park can enjoy the scenery by backpacking, bicycling, bird watching, camping, canyoneering, climbing, horseback riding, river trips, and hiking to name a view (or all of them).
In May of last year Lynden and I, along with five of our friends visited the park for our second time. Being somewhat of a “last minute trip” we scrambled to choose a hike. Like others who have visited Zion, we all had our eye on what we would consider “the prize”, aka the Subway. Individuals who seek the adventure this hike provides must reserve a Subway Permit in the Advance Lottery 3 months prior. We were as you might say somewhat late by oh 2 months and 1 week. Zion does allow for a last minute drawing, and since we felt mistakenly lucky we applied.
In the days prior to our trip my mom and stepdad Bill were actually in Springdale, UT, the community at the base of the canyon. Bill periodically sent me photos of the Springdale and Zion during their stay. With every new photo I was becoming more and more discouraged (and lets face it annoyed). Each photo he sent highlighted how cold and rainy it was, with the last one including a light blanket of snow. Trudging through icy waters in 45 degrees Fahrenheit did not sound fun, especially since I felt a cold settling in my body!
As we continued to prepare for the trip I secretly hoped we were unlucky in the last minute drawing, (a secret I shared with my friends and Lynden later on). Trust me I would love to hike the Subway, it is on my bucket list; however it is not on my bucket list to contract bronchitis or pneumonia because I was stubborn and ignored my parents childhood advice “you don’t go swimming when you are sick, especially in cold water!.”
Finally, after a week of waiting, we received an email regarding our Subway fate. The answer was … (insert drum roll here!) NO! Even though everyone felt disappointed, given the cold weather we ended up being thankful for that no. Instead we chose to hike Hidden Canyon, which has been on my “Good Day to Hike” Pinterest board for years! Needless to say I was excited.
For those who have never heard of the Hidden Canyon in Zion Hikespeak and Joe’s Guide to Zion National Park are two great resources for additional information on Hidden Canyon. Although numerous other sites exist, I found these two to be the most beneficial during our planning, ahem last minute planning.
The beauty seen in Hidden Canyon was worth the strenuous 3 hour or so hike. I wish I could suggest all Zion visitors set aside time for this trail, however it is not for the faint of heart. Hikers have to climb up almost a mile of paved switchbacks before reaching the trail head. At the trail head a hiker has the option to hold onto sections of chains for the ascent up the mountain. Finally, once you actually make it to the top scrambling awaits those wishing to further explore the canyon.
With all its challenges however, the Hidden Canyon Trail and its beauty taught me a few things. (Of course I think all hiking adventures are also lessons).
- I can overcome any obstacle – I was sick, probably sicker than I had been in a few years. However, I didn’t let it stop me. I gave it my all and enjoyed a once in a lifetime experience.
- Looks can be deceiving – Seriously they can. Our hiking group consisted of 4 guys and 3 girls. Who in that description should be afraid of heights? I am confident enough to admit that it people would expect it to be me. I am the shortest person and the thought of a straight free-fall is well yikes! Yet I was not the one shaking on the chains. He, yes he, who was shaking shall remain nameless, although I doubt he would care if the world knew.
- Hiking strengthens our relationships – Whether it is my relationship with Lynden or with our friends, every hiking adventure strengthens our bonds. Together we have to work as a team to overcome obstacles. Hidden Canyon was no exception. We worked together on the way to the canyon and as we scrambled through the canyon.
- The world still has some genuinely nice people – Like most popular hikes Hidden Canyon was packed. We met several people along the trail who were friendly and helpful.
- Food is more appreciated after a hike – Yeah I know this one is a no brainer, but it is true. Diving into my Chili Verde Tamales at Oscars Café was heaven. Even if they had been disgusting, they were not, trust me, it still would have been amazing.
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