The Kolob Canyon area of Zion National Park is only about 2 hours from Bryce Canyon. We zoomed over to the visitors center to get our backcountry permit and then hunted around for a place to camp. Our first choice was booked up due to a cycling event. Though the owner was super nice and offered to let us pitch a tent in her front yard, we decided that would be our last resort.
We ended up at the KOA in Cedar City Utah, about 20 minutes from the park. It was weird to camp in the middle of the city but they had SHOWERS and laundry. So it was a bit of heaven really. As a side note I wasn't sure how I would react to the limited showering situation but with baby wipes, dry shampoo, biodegradable hand soap, hand sanitizer and face wash that doesn't need water I stay pretty darn clean. That being said I haven't worn my contacts because I don't trust the above listed cleaning supplies to save me from pink eye. I am probably just being paranoid but sticking my finger in my eye seems out of the question while out in nature.
The next morning we started out early in an effort to beat the heat. This was my first overnight backpacking adventure so I was a bit nervous. Backpacking is a learned skill. Packing your bag, staying fueled while you hike, staying upright with 50 lbs on your back down a steep canyon trail, crossing streams and rivers without falling in, this all has a learning curve.
We hiked the La Verkin Trail which has 13 designated overnight camp spots. After some research I wanted and was able to get number 13 which was secluded and shady. But also the furthest from the trailhead. The morning was cool when we started down the canyon. We met a Brit named Gary at the trailhead and chatted for a bit and we took off while he stayed to photograph the sunrise.
The first mile was a knee shattering downhill where poles came in super handy to slow the skid down. After a bit the trail leveled off and crossed back and forth across a creek. The weather stayed cooler but all that weight on your back causes some serious sweating to happen. Before long Gary caught up with us and hiked a few miles with us as we quizzed him about England. It was fun to hear his excitement for America's amazing outdoor areas. Made us appreciate even more that we are able to do this.
We parted ways to continue on to our campsite. And hiked and hiked and hiked and ended up in a side canyon and realized we were off trail and had probably missed our campsite. We backtracked and found it quickly after that thankfully cause by that time we had hiked over 9 miles and I was toast.
Carrying all that weight is a challenge for sure and when you take your pack off you feel so light and bouncy. We set up camp and ate lunch and then took a nap cause so tired and why the heck not. Not much else to do when camping. Late afternoon we put our sandels on and played in the river for a bit. The cold water felt amazing. We didn't see anyone else the entire day which was pretty cool. After dinner we hung out reading until it got dark and then went to bed and it was all fine and dandy until the thunder and lighting started.....