Utah: Mighty 5 National Parks


We visited all 5 of Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks. Originally, Utah wasn’t even on our itinerary.  We had wanted to go to Yellowstone.  But after feeling the chill in Washington and Oregon, we diverted our route further south and set our sights on Utah based on a recommendation from a friend.  Annie said it best: “The entire state of Utah should be a national park.”  What made our visit to Utah even better was that we had a chance to spend some quality time with Adam’s family.  


Angel’s Landing

This hike was the most adventuresome of our climbs in Zion.  We heard it was scary, but our trekking egos were a bit swollen from our Kilimanjaro hike.  Signs along the trail warn prospective hikers that multiple people have died on this climb.  Adam’s sister and her boyfriend decided that they’d seen enough and bailed out before the summit attempt.

Angel’s Landing is a serious hike.  There are metal hooks and chains lining the majority of the trail so that you can hold on.  We passed one hiker who was descending in tears and we saw others paused on the side, debating if they should continue higher.

The view from the top is incredible. The peak is at the center of a gigantic canyon, which means 360 degree views.  Unfortunately for the more nervous members of our crew, the climb down was actually scarier than the climb up.

Observation Point

Our trek to Observation Point was longer and more relaxed compared to the thrilling Angel’s Landing hike.  When we reached the top, a lightning storm was rolling over the peak.  We tried to pull some courage from our trek up Kili, where we’d experienced lightning strikes every 5-10 seconds for an extended period.  Kelly and Andrew were more than a little freaked out, and wanted to go down, but fortunately we all made it to the top this time.

Sammy, the Friendly Dog Next Door

At the end of every hiking day, we would arrive back at our Airbnb to find a friendly puppy that wanted to play.  It was the neighbor’s 6-month-old black and white collie and we named him “Sammy.”   He was young, dirty, untrained, and had a bite that was a bit too strong for him to just nibble on you.  He loved chasing Annie around the yard and tugging on her sweater.  We worried that he didn’t have anyone taking care of him, but we met his owner at the end of our stay, which made us realize that “Sammy” leads quite the wonderful life.