Mountains and Canyons. Day 8: Strenuous Observations

(Editor’s note: internet issues may limit photos…)

So, after a day of relatively light hiking yesterday, we decided we should do our old favourite and classic hike, Observation Point Trail. We were still a bit sluggish getting up and ready though, and still headed to Cafe Soleil first for a strengthening scramble breakfast. The clouds were hanging around the tops of the mountains.

We drove to the visitor centre, caught the shuttle bus, alighted at the Weeping Rockstop and  got ourselves ready to go, by about 1130. I’m trying my new boots today…they may never look this colour again, and we are trying out new hats – a matched pair! So, a round trip of 8 miles and 2,000 feet elevation gain, here we come!

Regular readers of this blog may know this hike and the sights nearly as well as we do by now, but I’m still going to share some of the many photos taken! As ever, the first section of uphill switchbacks was hard. In a way, it was fortunate that it was a bit overcast as it kept the heat down.

After that it was in to the Echo Canyon section, passing autumnal trees. No water (or ice!) in the Canyon this year.

Onwards and upwards…through the backcountry section and past the turn off for the East Rim Trail. I love the rock colours, the light, the scenery, the smell of the pine trees…probably my favourite part of the hike.

An more up…along the cliff face, to the red dirt section before reaching the sandy and oak scrub mesa which leads to the Point.

And we’re there! At the top, looking down on Angel’s Landing, Scout’s Lookout, the Pulpit, and the West Rim Trail. It was pretty and we found a quiet spot for our snack lunch with only one chipmunk.

My snack bar tasted and had the slight crunch of mint flavoured Matchmakers!

After some rest and more photos, we set off down the trail. Andrew’s foot and my knee both started giving way with the constant down gradient, but slowly does it…

The sun had moved round, allowing for some different shots, especially in Echo Canyon which now only had warm reflected light.

Then it was those switchbacks again, nearly enough to finish us off! We climbed aboard the shuttle bus and sat down with some relief. The clouds had rolled back in and sunset was washed out, so it was straight back to the room for restorative beer and salty crisps!

After showering (I’m not known for quick showers, but this one is powerful and hot and after hiking all day takes me even more willpower to turn it off) it was time for a final pizza. I was asked if we lived here or were just passing through. The waitress remembers me from last year…

And that’s if for Springdale and Zion. This holiday is going by too fast… “Rest day” tomorrow as we drive to the Grand Canyon.

And if you have a spare 8 minutes to watch the video, here is a flavour of the hike: Observation Point Trail

(If it works-I haven’t been able to check!)

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