Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Getaway: Zion National Park

Overdue for a weekend getaway a friend of mine was kind enough to host me and some pals at his parent's vacation home in Springdale, Utah. Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Zion National Park the house is a perfect getaway offering both adventure and relaxation.

This was my fourth trek out to this wondrous, beautiful, jaw dropping, magical place. I wasn't dead set on conquering Angel's Landing (done it) or ruining my knees on Observation Point (been there). My agenda was simple: drink whiskey, eat a lot of cheese dip, hike a bit at a steady pace, laugh a lot, and shut my brain off. 

Some of those things did happen, some did not, and some adventure in between fell upon us. Quite literally, keep reading. My carpool didn't make it to the house until 3am. After seven hours on the road I was acting like caged animal. After hugs and hallelujahs of finally making it we crashed. All cozy in my bed I somehow woke up just four hours later. It was about 10:30 am and by some miracle we had the energy to go hiking.

Winter presents some hazards at the Emerald Pools.

We made our way to the Emerald Pools to find out the trail was mostly frozen over and chained off. Being confident and stupid I went over the chain to investigate. It was no joke. The trail had no wiggle room for hikers without an ice pick. A few years prior we had managed to hike around the ice. 

On to the next! We knew Watchman Trail was a good easy hike that was mostly in the sun. Despite feeling like hell I kept a fast pace. I suppose I just wanted to get it over with. Once we got to the end of the trail I could feel my energy levels plummeting. My body was giving me a huge bitch slap for treating it so poorly. 

On this trail I broke into a sweat despite it being about 30 degrees out. I was wearing two pairs of pants to keep warm, and despite my clever layering feared I might be bleeding through. No period stains just sweat, hoorah!

As soon as we returned to the house I retreated while everyone else drank and played games. So proud my FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) didn't take over. I slept for three hours until I was awoken with an abrupt knocking on my door. "The restaurant closes in an hour! We gotta go!" I bolted out of bed and threw on shoes and out the door we went. 

Here's where things went wrong. I didn't eat lunch. I went straight to napland. NEVER do that folks. Hunger pangs gripped at my intestines so tight that the sound, smell, and sight of food was repulsive. Twice I excused myself anticipating projectile vomit. Luckily it didn't happen.

My friends being awesome made a stop for saltines and ginger ale. My diet helped me lose four pounds over the weekend! Was it worth it? Not really. As I didn't get to drink that whiskey I wanted.

The next morning feeling a bit more refreshed I looked out the window to see snow! It snowed ALL 
DAY LONG. The gang bundled up and PLAYED. We threw snowballs, we attempted to build a few snow men, and we gawked at the winter wonderland around us. SoCal natives in total awe. 

Zion experienced 15 inches of snowfall in a 24 hour period making it the second heaviest snowfall since 1894. 

My goodness, just look at how plush it is. Not only was it absolutely majestic outside my appetite was back in full swing. Hello flavor! We didn't get on the road as quickly as we liked considering we had to dig and push our cars out of the snow. A special thanks to the neighbors who stopped to help pull us out of the tiniest hill that kept us from the main road. 

Thanks for the help! See ya next time, Zion. 
Is it a bit cold where you are? Might I suggest the game ...Things and Celebrity. These simple games kept our group entertained for hours indoors. Being the sober person on the trip I can attest these games will make you laugh.