Today was a day of mixed fortune. Tasha wasn’t feeling well today so I ended up going to Zion alone while she rested at the hotel. We had planned on doing the Narrows hike, a slot canyon containing the Virgin River, but since I’ve already done it and she wasn’t there, I was thinking really hard about doing the Angel’s Landing hike instead in the morning before it got too hot. Then I got into the endless traffic jam that is the park now, and there wasn’t a single parking space big enough to squeeze into (even for the Echo) anywhere in the canyon.
So instead of trying to drive back into town, and get on a shuttle bus to ride up to the trailhead, I just went up the switchbacks to the East side of the park and parked at the trail to the Canyon View overlook. But…instead of taking that, I climbed up into the little side canyon right below the pulloff. It’s a bit of a tough scramble at the beginning but levels out after a half mile or so…and becomes a true slot canyon. Barely wide enough to squeeze through at one point, with walls going straight up hundreds of feet on either side. Wohoo! That was one of my goals on this trip…to get into one of those, and it was completely awesome.
After hiking out of the cool, breezy slot canyon, the weather became just insanely hot, so I drove out of the park and looped back around on the next highway North (UT Hwy. 14). My plan was to check out Capitol Reef National Monument, then another part of Zion called Kolob Canyons just off
of I-15. I got slightly side-tracked on a Forest Service road (deliberately), and saw some neat forest scenes in the higher mountains. After hitting the main road again, about 4 miles from Capitol Reef, a huge truck roared by in the opposite lane and kicked up a golfball-sized rock, right into the windshield.
The rock smashed a half-dollar sized circle of glass to bits, and cracks radiated all the way from top to bottom. For an instant when I saw it coming, I thought that thing was going to come right through and kill me. I pulled over and gave the broken windshield some pressure tests and it seemed to be holding alright, so then I found a cell phone signal and tried like hell to find a place in the town we’re in that could replace it – but no luck until Monday. By then we’ll be in Colorado, so I gave up on that idea. I skipped Capitol Reef and Kolob Canyons, and drove back to the hotel without incident.
As long as we don’t get any rain or more flying rocks, I’m hoping it will be OK through the weekend, until I can have the windshield replaced. So all in all, it was a pretty mixed day of fortunes, but awesome nonetheless.
Just glad the windshield deflected that rock from my face! See more pictures (including the smashed windshield), uploaded to the gallery now.