07/23/2008 West Rim Trail

With some car shuffling done by friends I was able to start at the upper end of the West Rim Trail in Zion National Park near Lava Point on the Kolob Terrace Road and walk the 13 miles through to the Grotto on the main Zion Canyon Road. I anticipated a long and productive day taking pictures and enjoying the outing. There were several unanticipated problems I ran into on that day. The first 6 miles were through burned-off land so the early summer sun's heat was pounding down most of the way. There were only about 4 places that served as viewpoints in those miles. I had taken what I considered an adequate amount of water and food. I discovered that about 8 miles into the hike I was in trouble. I had not taken enough high-energy food and as I progressed I got hungrier and hungrier and I was becoming unsteady on my legs. Although the elevation over-all was downhill about 4000', there was also a fair amount of uphill going along the way, sometimes steep. I had the great fortune to meet a young lady along the trail when I still had 5 miles to go. She had hiked up from the bottom and was turning around to go back down. Mandy is an EMT from Las Vegas who helps manage the computerized stages for the Cirque Soleil. She recognized immediately that I was in trouble and she had an apple which I readily accepted and devoured. She stayed with me most of the rest of the way out, carrying my camera equipment, making sure I made it out OK. Had it not been for her encouragement and help I might not have made it out that day. It took me 3 days to recover from that hike muscle-wise and sunburn-wise. Some problems with my feet will take much longer to heal properly. This album is dedicated to Mandy as a totally inadequate thanks for her help that day. Without her I don't know how the day would have turned out. I learned a number of things that will help me on my next longer-distance hike, principally that I will not do it in the summertime heat! Also it reminded me that steep downhill is no easier, perhaps harder than uphill hiking. This album has been completed and no more photos will be added.

©2008 James W. Booher


Uploaded: July 28, 2008