Tag Archives: Hiking Articles

Trading Up:  Leaving Las Vegas (For Zion National Park)

There is nothing better than escaping a trade show in Las Vegas for the backcountry and fresh air of Zion National Park. After a 3 hour drive Fuller and I arrive in Springdale, UT and stay a short distance from the park. Our first mission is to hike the Hidden Canyon Trail. 

We climb 850 feet and link up with a steel chain that guides us around a cliff with an insanely sharp drop off.  It is at this point that I remember that I might have a slight fear of heights.

And to make things more interesting, we round a corner and see the Trail covered in ice.  Hmmm – better hold on to that chain!


I try not to look down – because damn it's a long way to the valley floor.  Get me off this ledge!

Fortunately, the Trail Gods smile on us and we reach the mouth of Hidden Canyon without incident.  

We hike along a sandy and rocky canyon floor, then scramble across some boulders to walk deeper in to the canyon.  It's a cool place and well worth the trip.

We even discover this mini-arch less than 15 minutes from the end of the maintained Trail.  

But the forecast is for rain within the hour, and neither Fuller nor I want to get caught on that cliff with wet, slick, and icy rocks.  So we start our decent to the trailhead.

The Hidden Canyon Trail is supposedly a warm up for Angel's Landing in the park and just across the Virgin River from us.  Damn!  I can't image what that is like.  Guess you are soaring with the Angel's if you miss a step.


We make it back to the trailhead without incident, and decide to squeeze in another three miles on the Watchman Trail before the rain comes.  From here there are great views of Zion Canyon to the north and Springdale to the south.   

And after 6+ miles of hiking and 2436' of elevation gain/loss today – we are hungry and tired.  So we grab a sandwich and Fuller slams a margaritta at the Zion Lodge restaurant.

Then we retire to the comforts of the hot tub at the Desert Pearl Inn.  Here we are with a Nalgene of brew watching some bursts of sunshine light up Johnson Mountain at sunset.  A great day to say the least.



#7 Listen to music

Just read an article at Appalachian Trials on “9 Things A Former Thru-Hiker Wishes She Had Known Before Hitting The Trail“.  And what was on the list?   My personal favorite….

#7 Listen to music:

” It will help keep you positive in the present as you hike and afterwards the music you listened to will become a time machine back to exact moments on the trail. You may not know the place or even the state but the song will bring back a perfectly rendered memory. “

Many go in to the woods to leave technology behind.  I work in technology, and I promise you that when I go in to the woods there’s nothing more that I want to do than leave technology behind.

But when you are hiking ~ 2200 miles to Maine – it’s a long, long way to walk.  Yes, music helps – believe me.  Actually, everything helps – hiking in silence, listening to the birds, talking with a day-hiker or fellow thru-hiker, and  ….. even listening to music for an hour or two.  (It’s an 8-12 hour thru-hiking day, you get that.)

So this week, I’ve been listening to cassette tapes that a group of friends made me for my hike in 1994.  I summited Mt. Katahdin 20 years ago this October, and the music does bring me back – as the article states.  There truly is a soundtrack to a thru-hike (and your life.)  And yes … all the memories do come flooding back.

Even if it originated on cassettee tapes that were played on a yellow waterprooof Walkman.   On a thru-hike … the music does matter, maybe not today – but tomorrow.