ZION NATIONAL PARK

LAST YEAR, DAVE WENT ON A TRIP TO THE SOUTHWEST WITH HIS CHILDHOOD FRIENDS. I KNEW I'D BE MISSING A TRIP OF A LIFETIME, SO HE PROMISED WE'D GO BACK. SO LAST SUMMER I STUMBLED UPON VACATION RACES WHILE RESEARCHING FOR OUR TRIP AND DECIDED THAT I COULDN'T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO RUN A HALF MARATHON IN ZION NATIONAL PARK. WE PLANNED THE REST OF THE ADVENTURE AROUND THE RACE, WHICH ACTUALLY ENDED UP FORMING AN AMAZING ITINERARY AND ORDER TO THE PLACES WE PLANNED TO VISIT.

AFTER CAMPING AT VALLEY OF FIRE, WE HEADED NORTH TOWARDS ZION. WE MADE A COUPLE OF STOPS ALONG THE WAY FOR ESSENTIALS LIKE SNACKS AND GAS AND CONTINUED ON TO THE CUTEST TOWN OF SPRINGDALE, UTAH. THE RACE STARTED THIRTEEN MILES OUTSIDE THE PARK ENTRANCE AND SINCE THERE IS REALLY ONLY ONE ROAD IN AND OUT OF THE SOUTH ENTRANCE OF ZION NATIONAL PARK, WE ENDED UP DRIVING THE COURSE ON OUR WAY TO THE PIONEER LODGE. THIS ENTIRE TRIP, I FOUND MYSELF GAWKING AT MY SURROUNDINGS, SO IT'S NO SURPRISE ONCE WE ENTERED ZION TERRITORY MY CHIN HIT THE FLOOR. THE CLOSER TO THE PARK WE GOT, THE MORE RESTAURANTS AND SHOPS APPEARED ALONG THE MAIN ROAD. WE ARRIVED ON FRIDAY, THE DAY BEFORE THE RACE, CHECKED INTO THE HOTEL AND HEADED TO THE EXPO TO PICK UP MY BIB AND CREDENTIALS. 

WE WALKED AROUND SPRINGDALE THE REMAINDER OF THE DAY AND GRABBED PIZZA FOR DINNER, SITTING AT THE BASE OF SOME OF THE PRETTIEST MOUNTAINS I'VE EVER SEEN. WE WERE EXHAUSTED BY NIGHTFALL SO WE WENT BACK TO THE ROOM TO REPACK FOR THE FOLLOWING DAY AND ULTIMATELY GET SOME SLEEP. I HAD A 4 AM WAKEUP CALL FOR THE RACE AND NEEDED TO GET SOME REST.

SATURDAY STARTED WITH A WINTERY MIX, FOLLOWED BY THE RACE (FULL RECAP HERE) AND EVENTUALLY SOME HIKING THROUGHOUT THE PARK. SINCE THIS TRIP REVOLVED AROUND A TIGHT SCHEDULE, WE DECIDED ON A RELATIVELY QUICK TRAIL TO CONQUER POST RACE. SO AFTER A HOT SHOWER AND HEARTY MEAL, WE TOOK THE SUTTLE TO ZION LODGE AND WALKED ACROSS THE ROADWAY TOWARDS THE EMERALD POOLS TRAILHEAD. THERE, WE INTERROGATED A PARK RANGER WITH ALL OUR (MY) ANIMAL AND TERRAIN INQUIRIES, AND EVENTUALLY CONTINUED ON TO FIND A PAIR OF VERY LARGE WATERFALLS. THE FIRST FALL IS KNOWN AS THE LOWER POOL AND THE SECOND IS KNOWN AS THE UPPER POOL. BOTH GIVE YOU A SENSE OF JUST HOW SMALL YOU ARE. NATURALLY WE HIKED TO THE LOWER FIRST, THEN UPPER STOPPING TO ENJOY VIEWPOINTS ALONG THE WAY. THE HIKE IS EASY, WITH NO MAJOR DROP OFFS ALONG THE WAY. MOST COULD ACCOMPLISH THIS TRAIL. THIS MADE FOR A RELAXED HIKE, BUT STILL ALLOWED US TO SEE SOME MAJOR BEAUTY OF ZION. 

WE HAD TO MAKE TIME IN ORDER TO GET TO LAKE POWELL BEFORE SUNSET, SO AFTER OUR HIKE TO THE EMERALD POOLS, WE HEADED BACK TO THE CAR TO RE-PACK AND RE-CHARGE. I MADE US OUT-OF-THE-TRUNK PB&J'S AND WE DOWNED A BOTTLE OF GATORADE COLLECTIVELY. AS MUCH AS I WISHED WE'D HAD MORE TIME IN ZION, I'M SO THANKFUL WE GOT TO LAKE POWELL WHEN WE DID BECAUSE BOTH DAVE AND I AGREE IT WAS OUR FAVORITE STOP ON OUR TRIP. WE KNOW WE'LL BE SEEING ZION AGAIN, THERE'S STILL SO MUCH LEFT TO DISCOVER. IN THE MEANTIME, A RECAP OF LONE ROCK BEACH, LAKE POWELL IS COMING UP NEXT ON #EVBPLACES.