I decided to do this TR first since this trip was a new backpacking trip/experience for us. We decided to do the Trans Zion Trek after I was denied backcountry permits to hike below the rim of the Grand Canyon. This trip was recommended to me by dez40 (thanks dez!) but at first I believed it was out of my “comfort zone”. I decided to learn more about it and read all I could to familiarize myself with what we were about to do. The more I read the more confident I became that I could do this!! It also came at the end of whirl wind trip starting at Grand Canyon South Rim on Sept 29th, on to Moab then Zion National Park.
Some back ground information; there were four of us all friends and all mid to upper 50’s in fair to good condition and we are all from the East Coast. I coerced, begged and pleaded for our friends to join us on this trek as I just didn’t feel confident in myself to go for help if something happened to my husband while on this trek and it was just the two of us. While I was and am confident in his ability to get help for me….I lacked the confidence in me to get help for him! I am grateful they decided to join us almost at the last minute!!
While this whole trek is designed to do as day trips, we opted to do it as a continuous backpacking trip. We did not do the whole trek (almost 50 miles) but we did do 42.9 miles of it over the course of 3 nights/4days. You are required to have permits for this trek as well. So with permits in hand we started our amazing trek!
Friday Oct 12th
The first day of our Trans Zion Trek is finally here!! We woke at 5:00am to rain!!! We had been keeping an eye on the weather talking to both the Rangers at the Visitor’s Center as well as the Rangers at the Kolob Visitor’s Center. They weren’t matching up! Seems we were in for some severe weather, more then what we had originally thought!! Off we went anyway.
I had arranged with Red Rock Shuttle in advance to take us to the trail head at Lee’s Pass so we would not have to make the drive back to pick up one of our cars. They set it up with us to meet them inside the park at the Visitor’s Center for 7:00am. We had permits for our vehicles to leave them in the parking lot there while we hiked. This worked best for us and we really appreciated the way Red Rock Shuttle responded to my plea after Zion Adventure Company brushed us off!! Red Rock Shuttle was prompt and we enjoyed talking to the driver while making the 1 hour/15 minute drive.
When we arrived at Kolob Visitor’s Center we had to “check in” and then we were on our way up a beautiful winding road to the trail head which is approx 5 miles. It had stopped raining by now and looked like the sun was going to make an appearance…yippi!!! Ok, didn’t last long though.
While we started the hike with semi-clear skies it soon decided to turn for the worse. After about an hour and a half the skies opened up and we continued to hike in the rain after donning rain gear! Onward!!
The trail here is easy to follow and is somewhat level. A few ups and downs but nothing extremely strenuous. We did have quite a lot of stream crossings….approx 10-15. As the rain continued to fall each one got a little deeper! The trail was very pretty with the Fall colors in full swing and we were enjoying ourselves!
The hardest part of this trail was the last two miles or so. With the rain continuing to fall the trail got very slippery both from the slick rock and mud. With our loaded backpacks we had to be very careful with our footing or risk an injury we didn’t want!!
After about 3 hours we came to the first campsite. Yes….almost there! Um…no we weren’t! The campsites are not close together so on we went. After another hour or so we finally make it to campsite # 8. The total hiking miles for today is approx 7 miles. This would be the shortest hiking day in miles and unfortunately the wettest!! There is also no piped water anywhere along this trek, you must filter and pump from sources available!
The rain let up just long enough for us to set up camp and eat lunch then down it came again!! Quickly packed up all our food stuff and secured it in the “critter” proof canister that was provided!! It was approx 2:00 – 2:30 so we decided to crawl into our tents and sleeping bags after changing out of our wet clothes to get warm! Little did we know that we wouldn’t come out again until morning!! From that point on it rained continuously until approx 5:00 the next morning! We went to bed without any dinner Luckily my husband found two wrapped string cheese in one of his bags so that was dinner folks!!
When we finally crawled out of our tents we had to quickly access the damage…yep, everything is wet so first things first….food! Hot coffee, oatmeal, peanut butter and granola for starters then on to the clean up and packing up process and day 2!