Even in the rain, Zion National Park is one of the most spectacular places I have ever been. We drove in Monday night with hopes of a cleared skies on Tuesday. Those dreams were quickly crushed when a flash flood warning came over the radio. Despite the rain, we managed to set up our tent and get a restful nights sleep.The clouds had cleared just enough in the morning to give us hopes of being able to hike to Angel’s Landing, one of Zion’s most iconic viewpoints.
With low clouds looming, we broke down our wet camp and managed to cook a quick breakfast. Over my lifetime my dad has accumulated enough camping gear to house a small army, which is great because it makes my camping adventures that much easier. I was able to put together our old Coleman camp stove and get a hot enough flame to heat some water and cook some eggs. It is by no means “glamping,” but it was nice to have a warm cup of Mochatonix.
Unlike many National Parks that allow you to drive around at your own leisure, Zion has a bus system that runs up and down that Canyon. Our goal was to ride the bus simply to get to “The Grotto,” the stop for Angel’s Landing. As soon as we pulled away from the Welcome Center, the monsoon rains returned. This wasn’t the kind of rain you get a little wet but are ok in a rain coat, it was the kind of rain that you were soaked all the way through as soon as you step outside. Rather than getting off the bus at The Grotto, we decided to continue our bus tour.
The positive side of seeing Zion in the rain, is being able to see features most visitors never get to see or experience. The waterfalls off the canyon walls were spectacular. They show up the instant it starts to rain, careen 50 feet off the walls, plunge hundreds of feet to the river below and dry up 10 minutes after the rains stop, leaving evidences of its power, sometimes for days.
Our bus driver, Mikey, really helped heighten the experience when he got out of the bus to move
some boulders that had been washed into the road. Though not exceptionally large, they definitely took some strength to move, and he got the whole bus laughing when he flexed his muscles on his way back to the bus. Mikey was great. He really opened up to us and helped make an otherwise gloomy day, and amazing experience. We were forced to turn around before the end of the canyon because of a mudslide, but Mikey let us open the windows and take pictures. We were a little scared to leave the safety of the bus, so that he took the time to give us a little added value and made our bus tour totally worth it. All in all, we are pretty happy with the photos we were able to take from a distance.
Before those experiences, I definitely would have laughed at people who thought spending a day in Zion in the rain was a good idea, but it was totally worth it.
We spent the afternoon crossing back and forth over the Arizona/Utah boarder making our way to Lake Powell. We found a campsite on the beach a few feet from the lake to spend the night and it has really made me miss all of those trips to the lake when I was little.
…Off to Canyonlands!