Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Angel's Landing - Zion National Park

This post is a bonus feature to my earlier post about Zion National Park.  When I wrote about my visit to the national park I wanted to include some pictures from my hike up to the summit of Angel's Landing.  Soon I realized that I had so many pictures from that hike that I might as well give the hike its own post. 
One of the most adventurous hikes in Utah, Angels Landing is not for the faint of heart.  The trail takes you from long switch backs in the hot sun, to a canyon with cool breezes.  From there you navigate 21 tight switchbacks known as Walter's Wiggles.  This brings you to Scouts Lookout.  From there you have the choice appreciate the view and then turn around, or you can continue up to the Angel's Landing Summit.  The trail becomes increasingly difficult, requiring you to hold onto chains during some parts.  The view and the sense of accomplishment that you receive at the top are worth it.   

Location: Halfway up Zion Canyon in Zion National Park.  Take the park shuttle from the Visitor's Center to the Grotto shuttle stop.

Cost: Admission into the National Park is $25 per car.  There is no additional fee to hike up Angel's Landing.

Operating Seasons and Hours: Because of the steep drop offs along the trail, this hike should only be attempted during daylight and when the trail is dry.  Check current trail conditions at the Visitor's Center.

Official Website: http://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm.

Date of Visit: Saturday, May 15, 2010

Recommendation: This hike should be on every hiker's bucket list.

Hiking to the top of Angel's Landing was always on the list of things to do on the Southern Utah Road Trip that my husband and I went on in 2010.  Both of us looked forward to challenging ourselves on the strenuous and dangerous trail.  After we'd completed the hike Brandon and I made up a morbid game called, "Will They Survive?"  As we hiked down the lower portions of the trail we'd pass hikers in flip flops and carrying a small water bottle (if that).  We would try to guess when those hikers would realize they were unprepared and turn around.  This post is to help you know what to expect so you don't try to climb up Angel's Landing unprepared.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zion National Park - Day Trip Ideas

Description: The Virgin River has carved this beautiful canyon from red sandstone.  The canyon is full of lush vegetation.  The park has numerous hikes of varying degrees of difficulty.  Even non hikers will find something to do at either the Visitor Center, the interpretive center, or Zion Lodge. A free shuttle bus connects you to everything in the canyon for most of the year.  

Location: Southwestern Utah, less than an hour east of 1-15.  St. George is the nearest large city.  It is an hour away from the park.

Cost: Admission to the main part of Zion National Park is $25 per private vehicle.  Admission is valid for 7 days. If you want to hike into the Zion Wilderness you will need to obtain a Zion Wilderness Permit.  Those cost from $10 to $20 depending on the number of people in the group.

Operating Seasons and Hours: Open 24 hours every day of the year.  Some areas of the park may have reduced hours during holidays and less busy times of the year.

Official Website: http://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm

Date of Visit: Friday, May 14, 2010 and Thursday May 16 - Saturday May 18, 2019.

In 2010 this was the third stop on the Southern Utah Road Trip Brandon and I went on. We left Cove Fort and drove 2 hours to the entrance to Zion National Park.  We passed some interesting scenery on our drive, but nothing prepared me for the beauty inside the park.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cove Fort - North of Beaver Utah

Cove Fort is the only LDS pioneer era fort that is still standing. And it's free to visit!

Location: Where I-15 and I-70 meet. Cove Fort isn't located in a town.  The nearest towns are Fillmore (35 minutes to the north), Beaver (25 minutes to the south), and Richfield (40 minutes through the canyon to the east.)

Cost: Free

Operating Seasons and Hours: 8:00 am - dusk from April to October.  9:00 am to dusk from October to April.

Official Website: https://www.lds.org/locations/cove-fort-historic-site or http://www.covefort.com/

Date of Visit: Friday, May 14, 2010

This was the second stop on the Southern Utah Road Trip that my husband and I went on in May of 2010.  We left the Territorial State House in Fillmore, Utah and drove 32 miles down to where I-70 meets I-15.  This is the location of Cove Fort.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Packing Tips: Air Mattress Pump

I bought a new air pump for our air mattress a few weeks ago.  Our previous pump plugged into the wall - which was great when we were using it at home.  But it wasn't so great when we were camping.  Trust me, it's embarrassing to have to fill up your air mattress while plugged into an outlet in the bathroom.  I was very happy when that pump finally quit working, and gave me a reason to go buy a new pump.  

The new pump has a battery that charges.  As long as it's charged I can use the pump where ever and when ever I need to.  I took the air mattress and pump on a recent camping trip.  During the trip the box that came with the pump fell apart.  I was worried that I would loose the little electrical cord that I need to charge the pump.  I decided that I'd make sure the cord and the pump couldn't be easily separated.

I decided to fasten the charger cord to the pump with Zip-Ties.  You could also use string, yarn, twisty-ties, or similar items.
The process was fairly simple. I started by plugging the cord into the pump so I wouldn't make everything too short by accident.  Then I gathered the cord in my hand and secured it with a Zip-tie.  After that I took a second Zip-tie and threaded it through the loops in the bunched up cord.  I also threaded it through the handle of the pump.  Then I pulled everything tight.  
I figured that 9 times out of 10 the pump won't need to be very far away from the electrical outlet while it is charging.  So it's okay to fold up the length of the cord.  On the off chance that I do need the whole cord I can always cut the Zip-Ties and replace them with new ones later.  

I trimmed the ends of the Zip-Ties to reduce the amount of loose ends.  The trimmed edges ended up sharper than I expected.  I worried that they could hurt someone or damage the air mattress.  I solved that problem by melting the ends with a match.  (Sorry this picture isn't better focused.  I was more concerned about not burning myself.)
After I secured the cord to the pump I decided it would be a good idea to store the pump and the air mattress together.  I did this several years ago with a different pump and air mattress, but for some reason I stopped doing that and used the bag for something else.  

I needed a bag so I found an old pillowcase in the bottom of the draw where I store linens.  It's was an ugly pillowcase, but I'm okay with that because I plan on taking it camping where it will probably get dirty anyway.  I loosened some stitches in the casing around the end of the pillowcase, and used a safety pin to slip in a ribbon to act as a drawstring.   

I like the peace of mind of knowing that everything is together.  Next time I need to pack the air mattress for a trip I won't need to worry about forgetting the pump or the charger.  You should try this yourself.

PS. Here are two things to keep in mind about re-chargable air mattress pumps.  

1. They have to be charged for about 10 hours before the first use.  So you can't just buy one at the store and expect to use it right away.

2. They won't work while charging.  In fact, some models don't even work if the cord is still plugged into the pump.  So if your pump is fully charged- but won't work- make sure the little plug is unplugged from the pump.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Territorial Statehouse - Fillmore, Utah

For a brief time Fillmore, Utah was the capital city of the territory of Utah.  Plans were drawn up for a large capitol building with four wings and a dome.  However, only the south wing was completed before the legislature moved the capitol city back up to Salt Lake.  Today the building is a museum housing artifacts from the early days of Utah's history.  

Location: 50 West Capitol Ave Fillmore, Utah.  Fillmore is located along Interstate 15 about two and a half hours south of Salt Lake City.

Cost: $2 per person.  There is a family rate of $6 for up to 8 people.

Operating Seasons and Hours: Tours are available 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.  The grounds of the Statehouse are always accessible.

Official Website: http://stateparks.utah.gov/park/territorial-statehouse-state-park-museum

Date of Visit: Friday, May 14, 2010

Recommendation: A good place to stop and stretch your legs.

The Territorial Statehouse was the first stop on the Southern Utah Road Trip that Brandon and I went on to celebrate our third wedding anniversary.


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