I had planned on hiking the newly re-opened Angels Landing in the main Zion National Park canyon this morning. A flash flood took out a large section of the walkway through Refrigerator Canyon earlier this year and Angels Landing has been closed for the biggest part of the summer. As THE most popular trail in Zion National Park I’m sure this came as a relief to park rangers and SARs (Search and Rescue) alike. With the trail re-established and open; cool temperatures prevailing and it is post Labor Day end of summer I figured crowds would be thin and I could make an attempt. Boy was I wrong.
The traffic began to back up at Rockville. I know I’m running a little late in the day, but it’s still and hour or so before noon and it’s a Friday. So where did everyone come from? I make my way through Springdale in bumper to bumper traffic hoping (against hope) that this is a lunch rush and the traffic will dissipate toward the main Zion entrance. Wrong again. Both lanes of entrance gate traffic are backed up past the hotel and old IMAX theater on the right hand side of the road. I don’t hesitate and make a U-turn right in the middle of the road. It is one advantage to being local I know where alternatives are to be had.
Back along Utah Highway- 9, I turn right at the sign marking the Kolob Reservoir turnoff and head toward the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park. This is a beautiful place to hike and climb. Not many trails exist in this section of the park and most are backpacking trails that connect Hop Valley, West Rim Trail to other sections of the park. The Kolob 5 fingers section of the park is closed this summer for road repair which makes access to Kolob Arch only through the long Hop Valley. A trail I’ve hiked, but not likely to hike again anytime soon. Kolob is a rugged section of the park and you really have to want and know how to be here.
I’ve posted a lot about Northgate Peak trail and peaks this year as I continue to suffer with plantar fasciitis this year. I received some (very expensive) inserts a few weeks ago and I am back to test my heel and comfort of the inserts. I am hoping beyond compare that this will solve the issue. I’ve been informed that the heel pain will be the last thing to go as the inserts work their magic.
Reaching the end of the trail, I drop down and work my way through the trees and bushes to the slickrock edge of Northgate Peak East. This is a lovely climb and I make my way to the top. I’m amazed at how good I feel and add it up to the inserts as well as some changes to my fitness training over the past month. I’m currently studying to take the CCP coaching certificate sometime this year with the thought of not only improving my own capabilities but hopefully be able to share my experience with others. I asked Linda to add another blog post entitled “Brick Barn Fitness” to the website and hopefully will soon start to post some thoughts and ideas.
Eating lunch on top of Northgate Peak East is one of my favorite things to do.
It is a stunning beautiful day as I enjoy the summit all to myself. Usually when I pass people on the Northgate Peaks trail and drop off the end, I’ll pick up a curious / adventurous person or two who will follow me to the summit. Not today and I am grateful to have the solitude. My heel pains me as I clamor back to a standing position. Not good. I hope this heals fast as this is my favorite time of year to hike in Zion.