The Pioneer Loop. Day 3: Headed Up.

22 September 2018.

(Location: Zion National Park)

Woke up properly and checked the time. 0715. Nearly a full twelve hours of sleep! I still felt a bit fragile but after a bagel with cream cheese and a latte at Cafe Soleil, and a trip to Sol’s supermarket, I was a bit more ready to get going, so we lotioned up and broke the hiking kit out of the suitcases.

It was clearly going to get hot. In fact, it was already hot…it was going to get very hot. As a result, I suggested that we head up to the Northgate Peaks trail, a predominantly level trail at higher altitude, outside of the main canyon. Springdale is at around 4,000 feet elevation, whereas the trailhead is at about 7,000 feet. The trail starts by winding across meadows before turning to cross a pine covered plateau out to a viewpoint of lava rocks, looking across the canyons of Zion. We stopped frequently, wherever there was some shade, to sip water, eat ShotBlock cubes, and occasionally take the pack of and rest. Not only was it hot (about 78F, not so bad as an air temperature, but the sun added probably 10F to that), the altitude also made it hard, as we aren’t exactly acclimatised yet. It was, though, beautiful, quiet and peaceful.

After completing our very slow (I can’t exactly describe it as leisurely though) hike, we drive back down the Koloa Terrace Road. The sun was in just the right direction to make the scenery spectacular.

Eventually we got back to our room (it is a 30 mile drive) where we washed and then headed back out on foot to walk to Zion Pizza & Noodle for tea. Only a 0.6 mile walk each way, but in town, the temperature was 91F. And still sunny. Tea was good. And the staff recognised us a ‘regulars’ so that was nice! Back at the room, showers and time to watch the sunset before relaxing for another early night!

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