On Day 11 we were finally at Zion, considered by some to be the jewel of the national park system. After sleeping mostly comfortably at the RV park, we were ready to explore.
Zion has buses that take you from parking facilities to several stops with different hikes and attractions.
Here's a closer look at the rock surface.
Here's a view from inside one of the buses, which had nice skylights.
We decided on a hike that would take us to the famous Angel's Landing, a pretty difficult hike that includes some genuinely dangerous parts--narrow ridges where one is clinging to metal chains to help pull you up and stay attached to the mountain (often while someone is coming down the other way).
Here's a "starting out" selfie.
Here's the switchback trail that began our journey in earnest.
And here's what that same trail looked like on the way down.
Then up some carved out switchbacks mercifully in the shade.
And to the Angel's Landing part.
There are some shots of those metal chains I mentioned.
We decided to hike up to the mid-point ridge and not to ascend to the top. This was in part because of the advice we read on Ryan and Christina's blog (that the view from the very top actually wasn't worth the effort), and in greater part because it looked pretty freaking scary:
The views from the mid-point were plenty amazing for us.
Apparently this part of the trail ends here:
Here are shots of Missy and me at the mid-point. If you look closely over our right shoulders you can actually see the chains that lead up to the top a bit more clearly than in the shots above.
We stopped for a break on the way down and I had some competition for use of my backpack.
On the switchback on the way down.
After our main hike and a break for lunch we took a short hike to a "weeping rock."
Here's the view from behind some of the dripping water.
Well-deserved beer selfie after a great day of hiking and exploring. We put the beers in a cooler underneath the car and miraculously they were still cold at 3:19 pm when this photo was taken. We tried to give some out to fellow hike-finishers, but had few takers.
Two tired and happy cousins.
In order to get from Zion to Berkeley, one must first drive south through Vegas. Missy had never been to Vegas, so we drove the strip. Here's the only pic I have from that little detour.