I had met a man from Kentucky at Bryce who suggested I should overnight backpack in the Kolob Canyon section of Zion since it is less populated than other areas of the park. Along the way to get there I took route 14 in Utah. The sign at the beginning of the road said that in winter one must have chains or snow tires on their car before entering. Although my rental car was not winterized in such a manner I ventured forward anyway. The road was absolutely spectacular in winter, I saw lots of mountains, snowmobilers and pretty views. Yes, the driving was more than a little treacherous.
Along the way I stopped off at Del Taco in Cedar City, UT.
This joint has managed to marry the worst aspects of American and Mexican fast food. Although the fish taco was excellent and served with a tiny lime slice, the combo burrito was pathetic. I don’t know why they felt obligated to serve french fries with almost every order, French fries seem to be a staple food in Utah. I have never eaten so many French fries in my life. The service was dismally slow, I actually had other customers in line help complain about the slow service for my order. Although my food was prepared and ready, the high school student behind the counter couldn’t grasp the concept of moving the food from the prep area to the customer. The little sauce packs were better than Taco Bell, I brought some home, very tasty.
I found the Kolob Canyon area of Zion right off of Interstate 15. I asked for a back country permit and the rangers were somewhat amused that somebody actually wanted to backpack in 60 degree F weather. I guess it was too nippy for these folks in the west but just fine for an east-coaster. The rangers told me I had the entire area to myself.
I only was planning to backpack 2 miles to the nearest back country site. Along the way I met two people from Utah who were fly fishing outfitters. They said to me, “Watch out for the cat!”
I replied, “What cat?”
They said, “You know, the cougars. Their paw prints are all over the place.”
I jumped about 3 feet in the air. I have some familiarity with bears but not cats. I did not want to be a kitty smorgasbord that evening. The two hikers did their best to calm me down. They told me that only the cougars in California eat people, not the ones in Utah. How did they know that the California cougars weren’t visiting their cousins in Utah? Afterall, it is so close to the holidays. Luckily, my evening was cougar-free.
I had desperately wanted to hike Angel’s Landing the next day, however, my feet were pretty beat up. This was the second time in my life I was not able to hike this trail. I guess it will just have to wait for another time.
Pics are as follows: