We left Phoenix in mid-February and made the 300 mile drive to Palm Springs CA to meet up with my sister and her husband. They’re golfers and Palm Springs is a golfer’s paradise. We only stayed a week and even though we’re not golfers, we loved it. Palm Springs has lots of upscale RV resorts so I can see us spending future winters here when and if we start to slow down.
Lake Mead & Hoover Dam
Cindy and I are headed to Yellowstone for our annual winter “vacation” and this time we plan to leave the RV at a commercial RV park in Salt Lake City. The route to Salt Lake takes us through Las Vegas, a city that doesn’t interest us but it’s close to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, a place we’ve always wanted to see.
Cindy and I camped at Lake Mead RV Village at Bolder Beach, a commercial full-hookup campground located inside the government’s fee-use Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA). Since I have a Senior National Park pass, we could enter the NRA for free but Cindy was unable to go to town without me otherwise she’d have to pay the entrance fee on her return.
Return to Zion National Park
Cindy and I first visited Zion National Park in October 2015. I had only hiked the Narrows, a trail that proceeds up the middle of the Virgin River but didn’t hike up to Angel’s Landing, the most popular hike in the park. My hiking buddy Yun had hiked Angel’s Landing trail but stopped at Scout Lookout. Beyond this point, hikers must use anchored support chains to continue up the trail with sheer cliffs on both sides. I’ve always teased her about this and bragged that I would return one day just to outdo her.
Two weeks before we arrived, I had called the park about hiking conditions and was told the trail to Angel’s Landing was free of snow. I was also warned this could change. And change it did. Despite the warm weather on our arrival, the ranger said most people hiking Angel’s Landing were stopping at Scout Lookout. She also advised the use of crampons, something I did not own at the time.
The best part of hiking Angels Landing in February is the lack of crowds. I did see dozens of hikers along the way but I’ve read this trail can be packed with people during peak times.
Once I got about halfway up, the trail leveled off and passed through a shaded section known as Refrigerator Canyon. At this point, I encountered snow and ice on the trail and since it was level, the going wasn’t too bad. But then I got to Walter’s Wiggles…
Without crampons, I was able to climb about half way up Walter’s Wiggles by hiking in the snow on the sides of trail. I wasn’t the only one without crampons but all I could think about as I was going up was the greater challenge of coming back down. I kept thinking it might get easier as I got higher but this was not the case. Suffice it to say, I didn’t even make it to Scout Lookout so Yun gets to retain her bragging rights for now. (Message to Yun: “I now own a set of crampons and we’re going back in early April.”)