We left the van at daybreak to avoid the heat of the day. It was in the 70s, cloudy, and breezy.
We took the shuttle to Weeping Rock. There a short walk takes you to an overhang where the wall is populated with ferns, columbine, oleander, and multiple other flowers. Because there is water seeping down the canyon year round, the valley is full of large Gamble Oaks, split leaf maples, and Box Elder. It was very peaceful sitting beneath the overhang and listening to and watching the water dripping off the lip.
After descending to the shuttle stop, we crossed the road and climbed down into the Virgin River floodplain. There we found a “social trail” that we figured would take us north to the next shuttle stop, Big Bend. As we walked along the river we saw deer, turkeys, chipmunks, and squirrels — just like home. In the floodplain of the river are lots of cottonwoods and sycamores — just like home. We did end up at the Big Bend shuttle stop.
We took the shuttle south to the Grotto stop. From there you can see the lines of people working their way up the Angels Landing trail. This trail, which is probably one of the most notable in the park, follows the river north for a while on the west side, then begins a series of switchbacks that have been carved into the sheer wall of the canyon. There are chains and railings to hang onto, but the trail is not for one with height induced vertigo (Janet).
Instead we took the short walk to the Zion Lodge, then crossed the river and headed down the Sandy Bench trail to the Court of the Patriarchs. Both trails are fairly level with views of the river and both sides of the canyon, but the latter is made difficult as horses are permitted and they churn up the sandy surface. We were passed by one group of riders who appeared to be tolerating, if not enjoying, their very dusty ride.
The temperature was an almost “cool” 93 when we returned to the van.