We just returned from our Zion National Park vacation to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We have never taken a vacation like this in the past and I can assure you this will not be our last. It was SPECTACULAR!!!!!
We booked this guided trip with REI Adventures. We have wanted to see Zion for some time now and thought this would be the perfect time. Well, as we found out, mother nature had other thoughts. We were to get ourselves to Henderson,Nevada and stay at or near the Green Valley Ranch Resort because this would be the pick up point of our trip. We arrived the afternoon before and spent the night here. The resort was beautiful and the rooms were very nice.
We got settled and walked to a near by shopping district to get some food for breakfast before the REI guides picked us up in the morning. Along the way, my husband loaded a geocache near our hotel so he could get one in Nevada. This was an easy find, in a nice little community area in the shopping district.
We got what we needed and returned to the resort for some relaxation by the pool before the next few days of hiking.
Not exactly what we were looking for in this vacation, but who could pass this up. Not us!!!
The next day we were asked to meet in the lobby at 8am. The REI guides showed up and we all gathered for a small chat in the lobby. There were 9 hikers and two guides in our group. We were informed immediately of some bad news, which turns out was not so bad after all. The road to our camp was washed out from monsoon rains overnight and the park had to close it down. Our first thought was, panic, we traveled all this way to be stuck in Nevada. I would have been devastated. Then they told us we would be lodge based instead and REI would be covering the cost of this arrangement. Well, if that is all that went wrong, I could handle that. So we loaded and left for the 3 hour trip to Zion National Park.
Everyone chatted along the way, and got to know each other a little better. Upon arriving in Springdale, Utah our first stop was for lunch at a city park.
We were told to stretch our legs and take a walk while our guides prepared lunch for the group.
Not 5 minutes out of the van and guess what my husband came across, a snake!
Lunch was a simple chicken veggie wrap with ginger sesame dressing, fresh fruit and homemade cookies.
Megan, our guide, informed us that one plate of cookies was made with a mesquite flour and one plate was made with a flour with a few “special” additives. Ground up grasshoppers and crickets, were the “special” additives:( Oh my, I thought, gosh its going to be an interesting few days! My husband gave them a try, me on the other hand, just couldn’t get past the thought. I had the bug free version on the other plate.
Then we were off to get our first glance of Zion. I was speechless, the beauty was almost magical. I had finally made it to climb the mountains, something I have only ever dreamed of doing.
We filled water bottles and our first and only hike of the day was the Watchman trail. (round trip 5 miles) It was a great first hike, hot and beautiful. Our guides were very knowledgeable and would share great information about each trail as we hiked. It was quite informative.
Then it was off to see the lodge we would be staying at called the Driftwood Lodge, just a few miles down the road.
We arrived and Megan got us all our assigned room keys. We were told to freshen up and meet back in the front in an hour for dinner at and area restaurant.(No camp fire food for dinner with the camp being washed out. All our meals were also provided and paid for by REI) We took our keys and all scattered to our rooms. Upon entering, I just wanted to cry. It was so beautiful.
Were were the only ones with a suite, being the only married couple on the trip together. And the view from our private patio was like a postcard.
Our dinner that night was at a place called Oscar’s Cafe.
Superb food, especially the brownie sunday that came on a platter sized dish. Brian, our guide, ordered this and asked for 11 spoons, one for each of us to have a bite or two.
After dinner we were all briefed on what was the plan for the next day, how much water to have in our packs and any other special supplies that would be needed for the days adventures.
It was a terrific start to our trip and I just could not imagine what sights we would see the next day.