It is a bright, cold, and freezing morning. There is frost all over the ground. I reluctantly get out of the tent, but I am rewarded with a group of deer sleeping in our site. They don’t seem too alarmed to see me and just walk around doing what deer do. One tries to get another up by nudging it and it gets a bit mad. It snaps at the one and it ends up on its hind legs and making a weird noise. I guess that is kinda like how I am at home when someone tries to get me up when I don’t want to in the morning!
It is hard to get going, just because it is soo cold and for a second morning in a row we have NO COFFEE! But we know the end is in sight today. We layer our clothes today and make good time getting out of our site. There is no rush though, because we are not meeting Gannon until noon. We head down the West Rim trail and that is when my fear of heights strikes me! It is a very narrow trail on the edge of a very tall cliff. It switchbacks down this cliff and I am not happy about this at all. There is a small stream that we have to keep crossing that makes the trail very slippery. I know that with one false step in that water, I will fall to my death. So…knowing all of this, this is when Cordlan decides that he is going to filter some of this water for us. Serious panic mode now. He asks if I can help him and I tell him no. I stand next to the wall with my hand on it and look at the wall or him. I am doing everything I can not to totally flip out. I am fine. God please protect us. Many people hike this everyday and don’t die. This won’t last forever. He is getting us much-needed water. Oh, please hurry up! What is taking so long? We are higher than the birds! This is by far Cordlan’s favorite area and he loves the view. I am sure it is nice, but I can’t really look. Most of our photos in this area are taken by him.
We live through the harrowing experience of getting water on the side of a cliff. We are slowly making our way down the West Rim. An hour or so down, we run into our first people. A hiker, then a family of canyoneers, then another bigger family of canyoneers. I really didn’t know there was canyoneering up here, but wow…they are brave people. None of them can believe we spent the night up here. We are lulled into a comfort that we are only going down from now on. Mistake, mistake. We have another steep climb to get over to the area where most of the people are at. After this climb, we descend to the popular area called Angels Landing. Even though Cordlan hates it, I ask a nice young guy to take our photo at an amazing view-point. I know in the future, we will be happy we have it. There are a lot of people up here today and Cordlan decides he does not want to do Angels Landing with 100 other people. I don’t blame him at all, but I would not do it for all the money in the world. I think we have established my fear of heights. Also, another random fact…there are pit toilets up here. How strange to see. But I guess they are needed for the volume of people who are up here daily.
Down, down we go. No one seems to be bothered by our smell, so that is a good thing. There are a lot of other people now and even those crazy people who run up and down these trails. We are the only backpackers coming down the trail and many people are stopping to ask us questions and are shocked to hear we have been out for 4 days now. It’s like we are minor celebrities. Haha!
We make it to the bottom of the canyon to the area called the Grotto. We are planning on taking the shuttle to the museum area to meet up with Gannon. As we walk off the trail, there is literally a shuttle right there and we don’t even have to break our stride as we walk right onto the shuttle. We take our seats with packs still on. We cannot believe we are done! There are not many people on the shuttle, but of course there is a weird guy that wants to talk to us. He has all kinds of ex-wife issues, he’s moving to Florida now, living out of his truck, etc, etc. Cordlan is nice and talks to him more than me. I am a bit overwhelmed by being back and need a minute to process. 2 girls from behind us get off at another stop and congratulate us on a job well done, as they heard about our hike from up on the trail. How nice of them to say that to us!
We are at the museum and finally meet up with Gannon. Hooray! We did it! 47 miles in Zion in some crazy weather and trail conditions.
We find a restaurant and get a nice big burger, fries, and a beer. Gannon is able to get us a room upgrade and by 3:00pm we are taking showers and getting clean clothes on again. Gannon puts all of our clothes in trash bags to be able to get them home without too much stink in the car.