I know, this pt. 2 is just a tad late – my excuse is that I had 3 precious exposures left on this roll of film, and it took me forever to decide what to shoot after the trip/ I lost the photo-taking mojo for a short while. Nevertheless, I am back with pt. 2 today! I hope you enjoy reading.
Tuesday, 7th November: The big one AKA Angel’s Landing
We woke up a little later this morning and focused on a hearty breakfast to help us tackle Angel’s Landing. We hopped onto the shuttle to the Lodge, and started the hike. It began with a gradual incline, with some really spectacular views of the Virgin River carving its way through the canyon. It quickly turned into steep switchbacks called Walter’s Wiggles which allow you to get a 360 degree view of the canyon and the river lined with golden yellow aspen and cottonwood trees – a perfect excuse to stop and catch your breath (I needed it, let me tell ya).
After that, it was time to get to business. Another set of switchbacks take you to the very top, where you see the last stretch of the hike before you – a steep staircase with 1000ft drops on either side and a steel chain to hold on for your dear life. These chains help you haul yourself up at certain points, as some parts are wider than others. Getting to the top feels like an accomplishment, and you can take the time to take in the most incredible view. We were lucky enough to spot a California Condor riding the thermal stream upwards – what a magnificent creature.
(a little blurry/overexposed but this is the point when you think you’ve conquered Angel’s Landing…and then you look ahead and *gulp*)
The journey back down Angel’s Landing is significantly quicker, but a lot tougher on the ol’ knees. We took some time to appreciate the view a little more – I feel like I just stormed past a good chunk of it on the way up.
Wednesday, 8th November: Mt. Carmel Drive and Bighorn Sheep
We made a wise decision starting the day opting for the Mt. Carmel scenic drive, as we were tuckered out from Angel’s Landing. We saw the great arch and drove through the tunnel that was blasted through the canyon in the 1930’s.
On our drive back we got extremely lucky and saw a group of bighorn sheep grazing on the side of the road. The landscape is only enriched and ameliorated by the variation of interesting wildlife in this park – to be frank I had no idea there would be this much going on! I was pleasantly surprised.
We took the rest of the day pretty easy, preparing for the monstrous 10.5 hours drive back home on Thursday! No park visit is complete without a tourist’s purchase of a magnet and t-shirt; so we crossed that off our list and headed back to the tent to spend the rest of the day at a slower pace.