Sunday, November  17, 2019
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Well, as it turned out, it didn't actually rain the previous night - we were greeted to a leaden sky but otherwise conditions were dry and calm. Roland and Pu hadn't done "It" before, so we decided "why not... let's do it again". The "It" I am referring to, of course, is Angel's Landing - the perennial favourite among hikers to Zion. I have truly lost count now of how many times I've done Angel's Landing. I think I can be confident in saying that it is the one specific hike on this Earth that I have done more times than any other.

You'll notice that all of the pictures taken on the Angel's Landing hike are not from my camera - I figured I'd taken more than enough photos of this hike!
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Lower West Rim Trail
Walter's Wiggles
Bad Weather a-brewin'
courtesy PChen
courtesy RHanel
Heading for the ridge
Snowy and exposed
Zion is a busy place in the high season, and in high season, the main Zion canyon drive is closed to public traffic and you must take a shuttle bus. This wasn't the case for us (high season starts at the beginning of April), so we drove the pleasant few kilometres to the West Rim trailhead. Not long after we started off on the West Rim trail towards Angel's Landing, our dry weather came to an end with a little sprinkle of rain. Didn't seem too bad, so, on we went. Up, Up, the wide, winding, paved switchbacks. Pu and Roland were (as most people are) impressed with the engineering and building effort that went into this trail.

By the time we reached the end of the first set of switchbacks at the entrance to Refrigerator Canyon, the drizzle and turned to flakes of snow. Since the upper ridge to Angel's Landing is exposed, both in terms of height and to the weather, we needed to be careful. It wasn't yet time to turn around, but we needed to be aware.
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Steep final section
Weather getting closer
Pu atop Angel's Landing
The final, exposed stretch to the summit of Angel's Landing was made much trickier by patches of slippery snow. Usually I don't bother with the chains anymore when climbing Angel's Landing, but today I held on to every link. Every precaution in these conditions with this kind of exposure!
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
courtesy RHanel
North from the summit
Another shot looking south
Pelting snow
A wall of bad weather was approaching us from downcanyon. We debated about turning around then and there, but we were so close that we figured we could make a quick dash to the top first. We had to practically take Pu's camera out of his hand because he was stopping and taking tons of pictures and not paying attention to the coming weather! hurry up, Pu!

At the top, we took a few quick we-did-it pictures and then high-tailed it back down. The wind started to pick up and the flakes grew bigger and thicker. Worse yet, there were occasional rumbles of thunder!! Definitely was time to get outta there. By the time we made it back down to Scout's Lookout (where the exposure ends and the regular trail resumes), the snow was being blown completely sideways by a stiff wind. Looking back, we couldn't even see the ridge and Angel's Landing. I felt a bit sorry for the one or two parties up there behind us on the ridge. Must be scary!
courtesy RHanel
courtesy RHanel
courtesy RHanel
Angel's Landing Obscured
Snowflakes in the Refrigerator
Snowy canyonscape
Now that the tricky stuff was behind us, it was a simple but slightly slippery stroll back down the nice trail.
Video Clip: Descent From Angel's Landing
An approaching snow squall prompts a fast-paced descent of Angel's Landing!
Length: 1m:30s
275 Kbit/s video stream

Macromedia Flash required
courtesy PChen
Clearing out
Clearing out
Clingy Mist
As we reached the trailhead, the snow squall had passed, and there even a few bits of blue here and there in the sky. The thick clouds had begun to break apart, and they were clinging to hollows and crags in the canyon walls. It was like a Desert-meets-Chinese Cloud Painting sort of scene. Pu, of course, was beside himself with this. We left him on the side of the road in one spot, and he spent a good 30 minutes taking what seemed like 300 pictures!
courtesy RHanel
courtesy PChen
Ethereal Drive
Angel's Landing from afar
Misty Closeup
Our final adventure now over, it was time to head back to Las Vegas and (hopefully) a nice satisfying dinner. The ride back was highlighted by all sorts of unsettled and highly scenic weather conditions. Pu captured all of it very thoroughly!
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
courtesy RHanel
Pu's Clouds #4
Andrew driving to LV
Hog Dinner
Arriving in Las Vegas around 5pm, we first spent a good hour or two packing all of our bags for the flight back.

Instead of a traditional big-casino dinner, we opted for dinner at the Harley-Davidson cafe on the strip. I found my order to be okay, but nothing especially great. We spent the rest of the evening wandering around, seeing what was new, watching a few iterations of the fountains of the Bellagio, and in general having a relaxing evening.
courtesy RHanel
courtesy RHanel
Hog Eagle
The entertaining fountains
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