Friday, May 30, 2014

House Divided

Rex and I went separate ways in Zion this morning then met later for some birding and an evening tour. I'll explain our respective adventures below and say more about the ranger-led excursion in another post.

This morning the king of our castle completed Angel's Landing, the most infamous and perhaps most popular hike in the park. It's second only to the Narrows, which Rex walked earlier in the week. Neither of these hikes appeal to me because they are so heavily traveled. In fact, walking in Wal-Mart comes to mind. But Angel's Landing also includes a 1/4-mile of narrow "path" (really a slick rock with some cables) and a 1,400-foot drop on either side. I could have done it, but I would not have enjoyed it so why do it? Rex at least had the right idea: be on Angel's Landing by 7:30 a.m., before 80 percent of Landing hikers are out of bed. Rex promises photos at a later date, and he claims to have been the first one to the top today--save one German half his age.

Meanwhile, I went for a run then strolled the two miles out and back to the Narrows. The path I took, at the end of Zion Canyon scenic drive, leads hikers to a spot where they must walk in the river to continue--and many, many do so that they can see the cliff walls narrow to about 20 feet apart and nearly 2,000 feet high. The crowds erased any interest I might have had in the Narrows, but only wild horses would keep me from seeing an American dipper and that is why I walked, very slowly, the first paved mile this morning.

 Beginning of the Narrows hike up Zion Canyon, in the North Fork of the Virgin River

According to park literature, American dippers are common in Zion. Even so, I've only see them three times in my life and each was thrilling. This morning was no different. Despite assurances from a ranger that the bird frequents the river above the Temple of Sinawava, after 90 minutes of walking and looking I saw none. Finally I spotted one and was rewarded with a long look at a dipper foraging in the middle of the river. Only when a small child ran by on the path, screaming, did the dipper disappear. So much for wilderness.

Anyway, seeing the bird was euphoria. If you've ever watched this creature, which looks like a chunky robin but is actually a wren, you might understand my excitement. It has the most unusual habit of walking on the stream bed while chasing down insects. In deeper waters it runs along the bank and dives in, disappearing for several seconds at a time.

I appreciate that Rex loves a scary, challenging hike, and I am thankful that he also gets a kick from waiting out a beautiful bird, as we did yesterday. More on that, the chat, tomorrow.


  1. Hello, Colene! It's me, the girl from the ranger-led shuttle ride in Zion! About this blog post, I think my mom and I saw the American Dipper. We nicknamed it "The Bouncing Bird" because it would bob up and down whenever it turned in intervals of about ten seconds. It was some comic relief while we hiked in the Narrows! Oh, and by the way, we did go hike on Angel's Landing and finished 0.2 miles of the last half mile. It was cold, then hot, then windy. All in all, the hike was wonderful, though we didn't beat your husband's record of one hour but we'll work on it.(haha!) Also, here's my blog address in just in case: Well, I'm glad your trip went well and I hope you have a good rest of the week. Tell your husband that I say hello!

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  2. As far as I know, Rex still hold the record of 1 hour to top of Angel's Landing. Jade and I hiked on Sunday: 4.74 miles at Time of 3:26:44...we will starts NEW training program soon. have a great day.

  3. Ha Ha! I think if Rex was honest, we would admit that his "record" is something more like 70 minutes, not one hour. ;-) I'm so happy and impressed that you did this hike TOGETHER! Keep climbing on!