Monday, September 26, 2011

2011 Zion Canyon Music Festival

3rd Annual Music Fest

Pressed Into Duty

A beautiful DeArmond Guitar
The 2nd act on Friday night was Shannon McNally and the Smoke Signals. She and her band left later that night to continue their tour. On Saturday night I arrived at the music fest and ran into Alex, the event coordinator. The following is the gist of our conversation:

Alex: Dave, when do you go back to Phoenix?
Me: Tomorrow morning.
Alex: Can you do me a huge favor?
Me: Sure.
Alex: Shannon McNally left last night and forgot a $2,000 guitar. She needs it for a show in Tempe tomorrow night. Can you get it to her?
Me: You got it.

Her band was playing at the Sail Inn in Tempe at 8:30, near ASU, and I delivered the guitar at 4:00 p.m. Mission accomplished. (Do NOT say like GW)

Hike to Scout's Lookout

Crossing the Virgin River at the Grotto Trailhead
 On Saturday morning, I took the Zion National Park shuttle to the Grotto to hike up to Scout's Lookout. From Scout's Lookout, hikers can continue on to Angels Landing or the West Rim Trail. I'd like to say that I did this hike to commune with nature and be in the Great Outdoors, but I really did it to push myself and gauge my current level of fitness and conditioning. And just to add another element, I did the hike fasted. (hadn't eaten in over 12 hours) I left the trailhead at 10:00 a.m., so the hike was still mostly shaded and the down canyon breeze still plugging along.


Roundtrip distance: 3.9 miles
Elevation change: 1070 feet
Ascent time: 38 minutes
Ascent pace: 3.08 mph
Descent time: 34 minutes
Descent pace: 3.44 mph
Footwear: Vibram Five Fingers
Water consumed: 24 ounces


While this is a spectacular hike and I've done it numerous times, I've always dreaded it, because it would beat me up. I have to admit that I destroyed this hike this time and I'll tell you why. First, I didn't take my first water break until the base of Walter's Wiggles. Usually, I've had 3 or 4 by this time. My second water break was at the top of Walter's Wiggles and a third at Scout's Lookout. I didn't have any more water until I got back to the trailhead. I got through the entire hike on only 24 ounces of water. Second, I was easily passing other hikers on the ascent when it's usually me giving way to let someone pass. Third, my ascent time was very close to my descent time and I was not lollygaggin' on the way down. Fourth, I buzzed up Walter's Wiggles in virtually no time, a first for me. All in all, very happy with my current level of fitness.

The trail surface varies between sand, gravel, rough-textured concrete and rock. My Vibrams performed like a champ. At the end of the hike, I had one hot spot on my left heel from the descent. Can't ask for more than that.

I love the "falling to your gruesome death" icon

Angels Landing

Mid-morning in the canyon

Sandbar in the Virgin River

Looking down canyon just before entering Refrigerator Canyon

Refrigerator Canyon

Base of Walter's Wiggles, a series of 21 switchbacks

At the top of Walter's Wiggles, taunting the namesake for his feeble attempt at slowing my ascent

Looking down from Scout's Lookout

Hikers continuing to Angels Landing

Angels Landing to the right, viewed from Scout's Lookout

Exiting Refrigerator Canyon on the descent

Back at the trailhead

Post-hike, post-fast lunch - rice bowl with teriyaki chicken and veggies

The Road Less Traveled

Taking a shortcut

 In the spirit of this blog, I took a shortcut. After 6.5 hours of driving, I was on Rt. 59 in Apple Valley Utah about 8 miles from the UT/AZ border. To get to Springdale, UT from this point, you can continue on Rt. 59 to Hurricane, UT and backtrack about 25 miles on Rt. 9. Or, you can cut across Smithsonian Butte to Rt. 9 in Rockville, UT, which is about 7 miles. Then, it's just about a mile to Springdale. It was slow-going on the dirt/gravel road, but very scenic.

About 7 miles across the butte

The West Temple


East Temple at the far left

A rocky, sandy gulch

Descent of the butte towards Rockville

Almost to Rt. 9

Crossing the Virgin River in Rockville