April and I used to belt out that Tom Petty line on various road trips from Provo to Missoula when my parents were still living there. I really think it's been that long since we took a road trip together sans children.
We planned a trip to Zion National Park for a quick weekend getaway. April had been once years ago and though I'd been a number of times, I'd primarily seen the main tourist circuits at the southern end of the park, aside from my Kolob Arch hike a few years ago. So we settled on hiking the West Rim trail from Lava point, a 13 mile trail that meets up with the Angel's Landing trial at the saddle. We'd drop our packs to summit Angel's Landing and then explore some of the shorter trails.
I'd honestly been kind of burnt out on Zion having gone a few years in a row at the end of football season. The whole idea was usually that it would be a warm getaway, but late November isn't really that much warmer in St. George area than it is in Salt Lake. Warmer, but not significantly so to base a vacation around warm weather. This time was different though and I credit that to the awesome hike and it being earlier in the year so all of the greenery was still abundant. That being said, we were subject to hiking in over 100-degree weather on day 2.
We started out on Friday, September 11 driving down to the south visitor's center park and getting our backcountry passes. We met up with Tyler who was doing some work in St. George for the day and willing to be our shuttle driver to the trailhead. He dropped us off around 3:30-4 pm and we got started.
It was an easy 4 miles to our campsite that night, and I wasn't expecting much as far as scenery until we got further along the trail but I've attached samples below of what we saw that first day, I was pleasantly surprised:
Tree graveyard in the meadow
Campsite at Potato Hollow springs
There we stayed our first night. The spring was not very promising, more like a little mud hole, and we only filtered 1 bottle of water, knowing we had enough to get by until we met Rim Springs the next day. But I really thought it was the best campsite after seeing all of the other sites along the trail. A friendly deer nibbled on grasses the whole time April and I were eating our dinner. We went to bed just as it got dark because it was much cooler up there than we had anticipated, but more deer joined our friendly one and we both heard them about the campsite for a long while before falling asleep.