Last Sunday, I dropped Sari off at the airport in Vegas and picked up my cousin Samantha. She just graduated from college, and I offered to take her on a road trip as her graduation gift. She has worked so hard to complete her degree, and I am so very proud of her. We drove to Zion National Park in Utah and arrived at midnight where we were welcomed with thunderstorms. We got our tent and tarp set up at the Watchman Campground, then promptly went to bed. When we were in Banff last summer, we learned that the tent was not especially waterproof, so I came prepared this time with giant tarps and bungee cords. I was honestly so impressed with us that we not only stayed dry, but it was well secured through the windy night. It doesn’t take much.
When we woke up Monday morning, it was pouring. I was worried that the park would be insanely crowded since it was Memorial Day, but walking around, it seemed almost empty.
We were planning to do some hiking that day, but with a forecast that showed a full day of rain, we decided to shuttle around the park to sightsee. I LOVED their shuttle system. No cars are allowed on the valley road and you can only access it via their park shuttle. It was so quick to get around and we did not have to spend any time stuck in traffic or finding parking. I really hope Yosemite does this sooner than later. Those roads are a parking lot for most of the year. We did not let the rain stop us, and we got out at each stop to enjoy the unique views of the park enveloped in clouds. We were freezing and wet, but it was GORGEOUS.
During a particularly bad downpour we huddled at the lodge and got a beer to enjoy. The outdoor area also sold coffee, but once it started raining harder, the guy had to close down to protect his equipment and computer. An older white man (ALWAYS) came out and started yelling that he was told he could get a latte and it was unacceptable that he was closed.
The park employee very kindly told him he would get it back open as soon as the rain slowed, but that he couldn’t let the machines and computer get damaged. The man then proceeded to rant that this was poor customer service and that someone should get fired. FIRED OVER A LATTE. The gall of people. A latte is a luxury. Calm the hell down man. I hate people SO MUCH sometimes.
Thankfully, we shared a good laugh with the staff member and shared customer service horror stories while hiding under his umbrella. Once the rain let up a bit, Sami and I did part of the short Kayenta Trail to the Emerald Pools. Unfortunately, the trail was closed due to damage and we did not make it to the pools, but we enjoyed to solitude and views nonetheless.
With how lush and green everything was, we felt like we had landed in Jurassic Park. We managed to make all the stops, but by the last one if was raining so hard we decided to call it a day. One can only shiver for so long as it turns out.
We rode the shuttle to Springdale to go get something warm to eat at the Zion Canyon Brewing Company. I enjoyed a truly spectacular burger and a beer. While we were hanging out, we saw that the sun was peeking through the clouds, and we hightailed it back into the park. We were rewarded with even more majestic views with the valley partially bathed in sunlight.
We decided to check out the Canyon Overlook trail and what a view! It was fairly easy to get to, and it is a great spot is you are not wanting to do a real hike.
We skedaddled back to our campsite and called it an early night because we had BIG SCARY PLANS for Tuesday.