We got an early start into Zion this morning and were thankful for it. My fears about a busy Easter Sunday proved true, and I feel so sorry for the folks that showed up in the afternoon without a bus ticket hoping for a last minute opening. Somewhat sorry, that is. Why put a day at risk like that? Do your research. Go elsewhere if you don’t have an entry ticket. I’ve heard there are some other nice places here in southern Utah.
Even though we arrived about 6:45am for our 7am bus, there was enough of a line that we didn’t make the first bus duo. They are only seating about 33 folks on the double busses, having removed a lot of seats to allow for social distancing. No worries though as we were first on the second bus and started on the trailhead at 7:30am.
The climb was still rough but the weather was perfect. It was windy too, but surprisingly not at the peak but mainly on the saddle / neck you cross just as you are heading to the final ascent. We saw a lot of folks bailing out at various stages of the climb. It isn’t terribly technical or difficult, but it can be harrowing at times and I can’t imagine doing it with a fear of heights.
We had better weather this time (than three years ago): blue skies with just a few white clouds, and perfect temperature at the summit. Interesting note: Julie wondered what time we made the peak last time, and I checked my photo records and we were within one minute of our prior ascent.
Not content with just climbing Angels Landing, we ventured further up the west rim trail for another 3 or 4 miles to climb to the top of the west rim. Total elevation gain was probably more than Angels Landing for this portion, but much more spread out over the miles. The relative peace and quiet was worth it. Saw quite a few birds, more lizards, and the Indian Paintbrush is just starting to bloom. We hope to see a lot more wildflowers in the coming weeks.
We had a critter friend great us on the way back down. Also… a Black-Throated Gray Warbler was calling out to us when we parked our van back at the site. I think this is the first sighting I’ve had of this bird.