It’s not quite 7 a.m. on this cold November day. The trailhead parking lot only has a park ranger vehicle with a gent smoking a cigarette inside the cab. I politely ask him if this is the start of the East Rim trail. He smiles and points to a marker a few feet away and wishes me well. It is the only conversation I have with another human for six hours.
No where close to the main attractions and views that one usually associates with Zion National Park, the East Rim is a quiet, if not a somewhat foreboding wonderland. I get going as rays of sunshine start to dance and play with the mountain tops. 15 degrees currently. I start the ascent.
My limited research seemed to indicate that you can start hiking the East Rim and eventually make it to the West Rim, and maybe even find a loop. Additional research though seemed to indicate that rock falls and other weather related hazards have sections of the trail closed or marked as unpassable.
I decide to just try and go as far as my body will allow. One step in front of the other and let’s see where it will lead…
Almost six miles later, I make it to an outcrop showcasing the West Rim of the park. I would need to descend a couple of miles straight down to the valley floor though, with no guarantee of finding a way to loop back.
I didn’t really want to do a descent only to find I would have to turn around and climb right back up the mountain.