The morning sun tried in vain to warm the cold desert air at our Dalton Wells road campsite as we all packed and arranged our respective vehicles for the next leg of the trip. We were striking out towards Zion N.P. Cate had found us a prospective dispersed camping area on Sheep’s Bridge Road, about a 25 minute drive from Zion National Park. The kids again took up the role of scouting campsites, a luxury we seldom enjoy. They left out earlier than us while we did our final cross checks and pulled out across the snowy landscape before heading north on US 191 and eventually merging onto I-70 for the four hour trip to La Verkin and our campsite. The drive there was fantastic, Black Dragon Canyon Viewpoint is a must stop.
We turned onto Sheeps Bridge Rd near an affluent subdivision and the road condition deteriorated rapidly. We dodged potholes, ruts, and rode out the washboards but were eventually able to track down the spawns at a nice dispersed pullout they had chosen. The usual routine of unhooking and setup was performed, followed by a bit of drone flight. Far in the distance the mesas and peaks of Zion glowed in the evening light over our sagebrush plain.
Overcome with excitement we made a quick trip into Zion to catch the sunset. Back at camp, we made dinner and enjoyed a fire before turning in for the night.
The next morning we all piled into the truck for the short drive to Zion National Park. January is a phenomenal time to visit the park due to the decrease in visitation and access to roads that are usually only open to park busses during high season. It would be the only time that Frankie would be able to visit certain sections of the park!
Mx decided they wanted to do the Angel’s Landing trail which is one of Zion’s most infamous scary hikes. At 5 miles with an elevation gain of 1488 feet, Angel’s Landing is no joke. Given MX’s job as an aerial arts instructor and performer, I was somehow not surprised. That being said, I would NEVER do that hike, to heck with falling 1500 feet to my death (like 13 people since 2000), I’d just have a heart attack! The video posted below is not ours but will give you a sense of what this hike is all about!
Kepler on the other hand decided on a solo trek linking several trails like Court of the Patriarchs, emerald pool trails, the grotto and more to get the full Zion experience. In the meantime, Cate and I hiked the pet friendly trails along the Virgin River.
The next day was a paint day for Cate and Kepler decided to take it easy around camp and do some truck organizing….a welcome break from our frenetic pace. MX and I headed back to Zion one last time in search of a slot canyon, and after a false start on a beautiful trail, we did eventually find a doozy at Shelf Canyon in the upper East part of the park.
Next up, The Valley of Fire!