Day 1: AVOIDING TRAFFIC
It was Thursday evening and all four of us (Cindy, Ed, Julie, and I) were beat from our full day of work. We all took time preparing for the upcoming trip with backpacks packed, food and camping arrangements done, and a plan of action for this coming weekend.
The plan was to do the Zion Narrows this weekend. It had been a long wait and the Half Dome hike with all its preparatory hikes in the weeks before then at least got Julie and I in shape to do the Narrows.
So after we had our dinner, we all met at my parents house at about 8pm. There, I picked up dad’s old MPV and we quickly loaded the minivan. And we were off to the Watchman Campground in Zion National Park a little after 9pm.
Cindy and Ed must’ve thought I was mad for wanting to leave this late on a nearly 7-hour drive from LA to Springdale, Utah. But my rationale (especially given the fact that we had visited Zion (twice), Bryce, and Monument Valley earlier in the year) was to avoid the traffic on the I-15 that was miserable due to the road construction and the hordes of people looking to go to Vegas on the weekend.
So we proceeded with virtually minimal traffic. The drive proved to be mostly uneventful under the bright lights of the nearly full moon. Ed kept me entertained with a number of topics (most of which was political) to keep me awake as it got past 2am.
We finally arrived in the Watchman Campground some time just before 4am. It was obviously too late to pitch a tent and make noise so we just had an uneasy sleep in the car for a couple of hours. But we had to make sure we got up in time for the Backcountry Office to open up so we could secure our permits.