Monday, May 1, 2017

Mother-Daughter Weekend 2017: Zion

Camille and I spent this past weekend together in Zion National Park.  The park was on her "bucket list" of places to visit (her previous visit, camping there with us as a small child, didn't count since her memories of that trip are slim).

I knew Camille wanted to hike (and, seriously, what else would you do there) and she wanted to tackle the most famous hikes in the park: Angels Landing and The Narrows.  The Virgin River, which flows through the Narrows, was running fast and full of debris.  The trail was closed (you hike that trail in the river) -- the river was four times higher than the "safe" volume.  Angels Landing was open so I spent the weeks before our trip training -- long walks at lunch and climbing the hills behind our ranch in the evenings.  Lots of yoga for strength and balance.  And prayers that I could handle the steep drop-offs since I am not a fan of heights.

Friday, we arrived in Zion in the early evening.  We dropped our bags and headed into the park.  We managed two hikes before dark: The Emerald Pools and the Kayenta trail.

The sun cast long shadows on the rock, and it was cold in the shade, but it was so beautiful we hardly noticed.

Saturday, we ate a quick breakfast in our room and headed to Angels Landing.

The trail is divided into three sections.

The first section leads to the base of the cliff, and then climbs, on switchbacks carved into the rock, to a narrow canyon about a third of the way up.

I surprised both of us by handling the steep climb, and the drop-offs, fine. The trail was wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side, and I never looked down, over the edge.  We took a couple pictures at the top, before walking through the canyon.

At the end of the canyon, there were more switchbacks.  21 steep, quick switchbacks, carved into the rock, and nick-named "Walter's Wiggles" after the ranger who carved the trail.

I made it to the top, with a short pause at every other turn.  "You doing okay, Mom?"  "Do you need a break?"

At the top of that section, there was a wide area of smooth boulders where people were sitting, eating their lunch, or waiting for their hiking partners to return from the last leg of the trail.

I stayed on the rocks and waited for Camille.  The last section was narrow, with a chain embedded in the rock, along the narrow spine of rock that climbed and crossed to the Landing.  She had to pull herself up, using the chain, in sections.  Most people turned around.  The trail required more upper body strength than leg power.  I saw people returning, wearing leather gloves.

I rested near the warning sign that stated seven people had fallen to their deaths on the trail since 2004.  We looked it up when we got back to our room, 15 people have fallen since the trail was created.  Camille didn't take pictures along the way -- she had promised me that she would not take her hands off the chain.  She hiked the last section with a young couple; the wife had done it before and she took a picture of Camille on the Landing.

Afterward, we hiked next to the Virgin River, to the mouth of the Narrows.

And we both slept like rocks that night.


  1. What a beautiful area and what a great idea to have mother/daughter time. I've never been there, and I'm not a fan of heights either, but it may be worth a try someday.

    1. We've been doing mother-daughter weekends for a number of years now -- five or six, I think. We always have a great time together but we agreed that this one was the best. We started doing the annual weekends after I took her to France and London as a high school graduation gift. We had such a good time together that we decided to do an annual, more local, weekend trip. Zion was amazing -- just make sure you go in the spring or fall when it isn't 100F plus.

  2. I love reading about your mother/daughter trips. What a great relationship you and Camille have. :D

  3. what a wonderful way to spend time together. That park is beautiful.

  4. Those are beautiful pictures!!! It makes me want to go! And my Mom and I try to do a mother daughter trip over a long weekend every year. It is always fun!


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