On our last full day with Stefan, we headed to Kolob Canyons, the northwestern corner of Zion National Park. This part of Zion is much less trafficked than the famous hikes of Angel’s Landing or the Narrows, but has just as much to offer in terms of natural beauty. The upside to its lack of popularity is that we got to enjoy the La Verkin Creek Trail almost all to ourselves as we ran into only a few people hiking this 14 mile out-and-back.
The first part of the trail is a descent into the canyon. We had to cross the creek a dozen or so times which ended in a few wet socks.
About 5 miles in we made it to a small cascade and decided to break for lunch.
We took in the sights and sounds (and pb&j) with 2 miles left to Kolob Arch, our final destination.
After Ryan saw some panther tracks, and Stefan stumbled upon a giant unidentifiable skull, we decided to move on. We made a pact to stay together so that the panther couldn’t attack a lonely straggler.
After finding a giant impassable mud pit, I decided to rearrange the furniture and throw in a giant boulder for traversing. I underestimated the weight of the boulder and amount of liquid. After scraping mud off my body, we continued, pants never the same again.
After a bit of a scramble, we made it to the arch. It was a bit uneventful as we couldn’t get very close (erosion and such), so we sat and ate some snacks for the hike back.
We passed through Bubblegum Alley again, our name for the pink sandy pass. Zion, if you’re reading, Bubblegum Ally (TM) is yours.
We finished our 14 miles and looked back for a breathtaking goodbye before shuffling our stiff legs to the car.
We got three full days of hiking with Stefan and each hike was unique in its own way. If you get the chance to visit southern Utah, you will certainly not be disappointed. We hope to come back one day with a high clearance vehicle so we can check out the many hidden gems of the Staircase.
The next morning we drove to St. George and said goodbye to my brother. We had such a great time together, and I feel really grateful that he made the trip out to join us on this leg. We used to travel a lot together, and this visit made me think of all the laughs and adventures we shared when we were younger. Sometimes you can only look back on the good times you once shared with someone, but I’m blessed enough to keep adding more adventures with my brother to the list.
After our bittersweet goodbye, we had to cheer up, so we headed for our tour of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest no-kill shelter in the country. Best Friends sits in the Grand Staircase and is the most beautiful place for an animal to heal.
They are doing amazing things for animals at this place and are fighting for no animal killed in the country by 2025. They were the ones who took in Michael Vick’s former fighting dogs. Because they were able to rehabilitate them and adopt them out, Best Friends was able to change the future for many other fighting dogs who would have most likely been euthanized. They proved that no animal is too far gone. Our tour guide said it best: They don’t want to do those things. You couldn’t help but feel the love from each person who worked at Best Friends. It truly felt like the happiest place on earth.
If you are looking for a furry friend to add to your family, check out bestfriends.org. They even have a New York partnership, wink wink.
Kanab, you were a true treasure, but it’s time to say goodbye. Or perhaps, see you again soon.