So, as I was getting ready to type this. I lost all of my notes that I wrote from Day 2 to Day 6 & I’m pretty distraught about it. I have had an exhausting day & getting back in the groove of things in life have been difficult when living so carefree (:
Anyway! I’m not going to let technology hinder my spirits of sharing my journey! Day 2 of Zion we wanted to wake up early in order to do Angel’s Landing & the Watchman Trail. Since we had such a horrible first night trying to sleep, we decided to sleep in a bit. We sort of regretted that decision when we headed to the shuttle line. The line was as long as Disneyland lines! Maybe not like waiting in line for the Toys Story ride (wait times up to two hours), but took about an hour to get on one. Instead of waiting in line, we decided to hike the Watchman Trail since it was nearby and hoped the line would die down.
The Watchman Trail
Roundtrip: 2.0 miles
Elevation: 456 feet
These pictures don’t do any justice! The views were amazing and there was an optional loop that we ended up doing to return back down. The trail was fairly easy and we enjoyed seeing cacti and adoring the rocks all around us!
From the top of Watchman, you could see the line for the shuttles and they were still pretty long. So, we decided that we just needed to tough it out just like you would to ride the Cars ride in California Adventure and all of the fast passes are gone. It was getting close to 10AM and I was worried about starting Angel’s Landing any later because I didn’t want to get caught hiking uphill in 104 degrees >__<”
Roundtrip: 5 miles
Elevation: 1488 feet
We were lucky enough to catch some shade as we climbed up along the canyon wall, switchback after switchback. Once you reach to the top, it was a pleasant walk through Refrigerator Canyon. It was shaded and cool, just like it’s name! While we were walking, we spotted an owl taking a nap in the trees! During this stroll, I was mentally preparing myself for the uphill battle in the sun and wanted to take the shade that was on my skin and let it soak in.
The next part of the trail was the amazing Walter’s Wiggles — 21 switchbacks that are short, but steep. Every sliver of shade I found in the corners of the switchbacks, I thanked. They were my saving grace.
We finally reached the chains and I knew that it was time to face one of my biggest fears — heights. I am not a fan, especially when you are on a narrow trail with an edge of a cliff on one side of you. The trails were so crowded that it made me even more nervous. We took our time climbing the chains and let groups above us finish making their way down before climbing up. Jordan held onto my backpack, ready to throw me against the canyon wall in case I slipped off the edge. That is true love everyone ❤
There was one moment where we were on our way going up and a huge group decided to start climbing down. They all stood against the chains and told us to go up first, but there was no way I would climb up without holding onto anything. I froze and asked a stranger if I could hold their hand since I couldn’t reach the chains and that I was deathly afraid already. Soon after that, the person behind them reached out for their hand for me to grab. These kind souls were the real MVPs!!! I seriously thanked every hand I held and so did Jordan for having them help me up the trail.
We reached to a viewpoint and we thought that we made it. We even celebrated! We started taking pictures and then the moment we turned to the left… We saw another narrow ridge, with chains, and people climbing to the top of Angels Landing Summit. Of course we weren’t there yet lol.
These chains were no joke. They were also a little hot since it was 104 degrees out. As we climbed our last chain up, it was the biggest feeling of accomplishment I have ever felt!
We thought that after this hike we would do another, but we were ready to lay around near the water by our campsite by the time we finished our snacks on the top. The sun was unforgiving on our way down and the shaded areas that blessed us on the way up, were completely gone. We ran out of water on our way down and by the time we reached the bottom, Jordan dipped himself in the stream nearby and I used my filtered water bottle to desperately drink water. It was sooooo hot!
This is definitely a hike you don’t want to do midday or else you’ll be miserable. At least we were feeling the heat on the way down and not on the way up. On the shuttle back to camp, we overheard on the park ranger’s radio of someone having a possible heat stroke on the Angels Landing’s trail.
Things I learned hiking in the desert:
- BRING WATER!
- Shade is your friend
- Watch out for cacti, sometimes the trails are narrow and they are right at the edge of them
- You can actually see dried up salt from sweat on your skin that has evaporated back into the air – waaaaaw, science!
- Wearing a hat to shade you will save you
- Wear long socks because you will get A LOT of sand everywhere, especially in your shoes
- Trying to catch your breath while smelling/inhaling horse poop has got to be the worst thing
- BRING WATER!! + electrolyte tablets (these saved me from cramping!)
- Take breaks when needed to prevent heat exhaustion that can lead to heat stroke
Thanks for reading!! ❤