Last week, I read Into the Wild, the story of a man in his early 20s (not much different in age from myself) who goes off to live life as a vagabond. At one point, he decides to travel into the Alaskan wilderness, planning to live off of the land for four months. I often think about what motivates people to go places and have adventures. Part of being an Outfitter is getting to the root of the experiences people really want; sometimes folks are open enough to explain why they seek these experiences. No two people are the same, but there are many similarities between the people whose big adventure is simply driving through the Park, and others who want an Extreme Adventure Canyoneering day. Often, people want freedom. Some wish to experience awe. Many want to set eyes on things they have never seen before (except maybe on TV). For me, I want to experience wonder and peace.
The great thing about Zion is there are so many ways you can experience the Park or the surrounding areas. There are many levels of hikers out there. Be careful to overestimate your abilities, and perhaps more importantly, don’t underestimate them! There have been quite a few rescues in the area lately, but considering how many people are out there, the percentage of people getting into trouble is incredibly low.
Most technical canyons are full of water right now (Spry is a good exception), snow is melting quickly at upper elevations causing the Virgin River to swell (thus, The Narrows is closed), there is still quite a bit of snow on some of our northern hiking routes (West Rim impassable without snowshoes or skis), but there are many hikes and activities ready and available for the wary and adventuresome.
Some hikes are closed or fairly aggressive right now: The Narrows is current closed, and will likely remain so through most of May, The Subway is quite difficult right now (see other recent posts), and I recommend against it, and The West Rim still has quite a bit of snow past campsite 8. But… many, MANY hikes are open and fantastic this time of year, such as Angels Landing, Observation Point, Canyon Overlook, Emerald Pools, and many more!
For folks who want to push the adventure-meter while maintaining a reasonable risk environment, consider a guided trip. We are currently running canyoneering, biking, rock climbing, and hiking trips, and we’d love to have your group join us.
Hopefully your plans come together and you will find yourself out here in Southern Utah finding your own version of fun! There is a lifetime of stuff to do and things to see, of that I am certain.