Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Backpacking in the Southwest

I just returned from an amazing 10-day trip to some of the nation's great National Parks, including Zion and Yellowstone. 

On the first leg of the journey, we flew from Seattle to Sedona in about 6 hours with 2 stops to refuel. The weather there was a comfortable 90 degrees, a nice break from our gray-ish Seattle summer. We spent the first couple days swimming and hiking. 

Pine Flats Campground, Sedona, AZ

Flying over the Grand Canyon

Upon arrival at the airport in St.George, Utah, we were immediately sweating and blasted with 104 degree dry sauna-like heat! We soon made our way to Zion National Park, where we did two of the most amazing hikes I have ever experienced. The first was Angel's Landing, 5 miles round trip with a 1200 ft elevation gain leading to beautiful canyon views. 

View from the top

Part of the trail

The Narrow's Hike, named after the gap created by the Virgin River which runs through the park, is a 16-miler where the majority of the time is spent traversing through the river between 1000 ft high canyon walls. Your feet get wet and stay wet! We got lucky and were granted a permit for an over-night stay, which made the hike a bit more leisurely. 

The last leg of the trip was in Yellowstone National Park where we hiked to Mallard Lake for an over-night. It is a small, beautiful lake (Mallard's were actually swimming there) with 3 camping sites but we had the whole place to ourselves. We slept away from where we cooked, hung our bags, and took all necessary precautions against those grizzlies!

Campsite #2 at Mallard Lake
A storm rolls in...

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling refreshed and ready for my next adventure. Bring it on!