Posted by: athike2011 | July 21, 2011

Days 7, 8, 9–Salt Lake City, Zion, Capitol Reef

Day 7

Woke up this morning at Dan’s place as he was getting ready for work. We said our goodbye and I thanked him for an awesome weekend. After a few quick stops I was on my way to Salt Lake City. I’ve been to SLC once before, but for a very brief passing through. This time was no different. The drive to south is a nice enough drive, nothing that impressive to comment on. However, I did pass a local jerky stand and picked up some sweet/hot buffalo jerky. I haven’t tried it yet, I think I’m going to wait until I finish a really challenging hike and have it as a reward.


I stopped at a Starbucks and did some research for where to go and hike in Zion, as well as where to camp the night before. I found that my app no only does hiking trails, but also bike trails, scenic drives, off road driving, and a bunch more. I looked up a bike ride in Salt Lake for tomorrow and found my hikes and tentative camp spot for Zion.

Tonight was a Walmart camping night. Not my favorite, but it worked in my favor as the heat today was insane. The night proved to be no different. I was dying in my car. I went into walmart and bought two new mosquito coverings for other windows and a small battery powered fan to rig up above me to keep me a little cooler. Hopefully there aren’t too many more nights like this.

Day 8

I woke up early today as the heat never really went away. A quick breakfast and I headed out to where I was going for a bike ride. The ride follows up a tolled canyon road, it was a 10% grade a lot of the way up and thoroughly kicked my ass. after 7 miles of climbing in 80-90 degree sun, I decided I had earned my reward and turned around. averaging 40-45mph it only took a few minutes to undo all I had just done.

Once the ride was over I decided lunch was in order. I texted my friend Amanda who lived in the area for a while when she was a kid to see if there was anywhere I couldn’t leave town without eating. I was told Crown Burger was a fast food chain but still quite good. I typed it in to my GPS and was surprised with something I would have never forgiven myself to have missed.

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No longer living in California, In-N-Out is a rare treat that I would have never forgiven myself for missing. After putting down that delicious double-double animal style, like it was my job, I figured I also should probably not leave without seeing the salt lake itself. I wasn’t all that impressed… in all honestly, the best part of going to see the lake was the cheapest gas prices I have found so far on the way back…

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On to more impressive landscapes, my travels lead me to Zion in southwestern Utah. The views on the drive were phenomenal. While talking to my mom, I told her it was amazing to look at, as it felt like you were staring at time. The history of the earth carved out in front of you in such a beautiful way. I found an off-road trail that lead out of Rockville, UT, which is only 15-20 minutes from the entrance to Zion. I took that for a ways and found my camp spot for the night. I cooked some dinner, played some guitar, and called it a night. Again, the heat was miserable.

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Day 9

The desert heat was once again my alarm clock, I’m feeling a trend here. An early morning got me all packed up and ready to go once I got to the park. A nice drive down the pitted, tracked out dirt road and I was back into Rockville. I headed east to Zion. The park is very popular for it’s obscure location. In 2000 they started a tram system. Unless you have a special permit, which requires you to stay at the lodge you have to park at the visitors center and take their shuttle everywhere. I parked and filled every water bottle and bladder I have, sprayed on 100spf sun screen, put Sierra’s cooling vest on, and headed out. I was impressed that I did not get one bit of grief from anyone regarding Sierra. I didn’t ever have to say, “she’s a service animal” to one park official. We to the tram to The Grotto, which is where the trailhead for Angel’s Landing and the West Rim trail is. Halfway up the trail I learned from other hikers that the last 1/4 mile of the trail was closed. Apparently a climber had taken a fall the day before and was injured and stuck on the face, so there was a serious search and rescue mission going on. The Angels Landing trail is the most dangerous in the park. The trail climbs up a knifes edge ridge with 1,400 foot drops on either side. Six people have fallen to their deaths since 2004. After the turn around point Sierra and I headed for a ways around the west rim before the sun became too much for me. It timed out well as I still had a bit of a drive to do today.

We headed out towards Capitol Reef, our next destination. Again, I found a small off-road trail that lead us out of a town about 20 miles from the park, and found a nice camp spot. It’s not quite as nice as last night, but it’s significantly cooler, maybe it’s because we are at 7,700ft, either way, I’m quite content. I relaxed outside with Sierra for a while then crawled into the car for the night.




  1. In-N-Out!!!! Last time I was there we were in California. Yummm

  2. Wow, what beautiful photos of Zion! Thanks for sharing those, Chris. You look pretty happy so I’m assuming you’re not being plagued by mosquitoes (not in that dry heat) or black flies.

    Good to see you on your new adventure.
    xo Alice

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