Last Monday Mr. Mate and I returned from an enjoyably warm 5 day jaunt to Las Vegas, St. George, and Zion National Park. Most of the trip temperatures measured between 80 and 90 degress--perfection!
We "did" Vegas the first night by spending time at the shaded (damn it!) Monte Carlo pool, attempting to walk The Strip which ended up being a pain in the ass because Vegas is anti-pedestrian and pro-distraction, eating way too much at the Paris Buffet, and then playing the penny and quarter slots. We stretched $25 for an hour before losing it all.
The next day we drove two hours to St. George where we found our motel, went to pick up his marathon registration, bought Mr. Mate's first ever pair of sunglasses, ate at dinner at Cracker Barrel at 4 pm, went to the grocery store. We were back at the motel and getting ready for the pool when Mr. Mate discovered he'd forgotten to bring a hat for the race, so we headed over to a local running store which informed us they'd taken every single running hat down to the marathon expo and registration.
Baffled at this, we then went to a hunting store that had an awesome orange polyester hat that would have done the trick for $3.99. Mr. Mate is apparently too cool to wear a fluorescent orange hat, and before heading down to the expo, I decided to get an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins. While deciding on a flavor (Rocky Road), I found out there was a camping store nearby. Happily they carried hiking hats that Mr. Mate deemed respectable and thus we headed back to the motel and pool and had an early night given that the race started at 6:45 am the next day.
Mr. Mate rose at 3:50 am and left to catch a bus to the starting line around 4:30. He ended up having a great race and finishing with a personal best of 2:46:52 (chip time). We had lunch with two friends from high school who also their first and fourth marathons. After a long visit and yummy sandwiches they headed back to Salt Lake City and we headed to Fiesta Fun for a round of miniature golf. We completed 16 holes (we skipped two holes in order to avoid dawdling behind two families), I won and we decided to head back to the pool given the 93 degree heat.
Sunday we woke up at 6:30 am and were on the road to Zion National Park by 7:30 am. We made good time and parked, checked out the visitor center, rode the tram, and started our hike at The Grotto by 9. It was chilly and windy, but about 15 minutes into the hike I was glad I was wearing shorts, a tank top, and just a long sleeve tee shirt. Our friends had recommended the hike to Angel's Landing as really beautiful, but challenging. We got up to Scout's Landing without any trouble and with perfect weather--sunny and warm and the sky a gorgeous blue with just a few clouds.
The view from Scout's Landing to the top of Angel's Landing was intimidatingly steep. I'm not sure I would have made the half mile trek to the top by myself. But with a bit of encouragement from a couple who were hiking down, we started up. The trail has heavy metal chains bolted into the rock to aid hikers up the steep trails.
We made it to the top thirty minutes later. We enjoyed the views, took some pictures, and ate before heading back down. It was hot by then and there were lots more people coming back up the trail.
Once we hit Scout's landing and headed back down, I was elated. I was happy I'd made the hike and even happier that we weren't plodding up the trail in the heat.
We took our time going down and stopped by the river to soak a handkerchief and cool off a bit. Once back at The Grotto we took the tram one stop south to do an easy walk on the Lower Emerald Pools trail. Most of this walk was in the shade which was a relief, but while lovely, didn't have anything on Angel's Landing.
After this we headed back to town as my legs were quivery and Mr. Mate was tired. Thunderstorms passed through St George later that afternoon and we had a mellow night full of baseball and HGTV.
The next morning we went for a short hike in Pioneer Park and a yummy latte under the awning at 25 Main while it rained. I was surprisingly warm wearing only a shorts and a tee-shirt. We headed back to Vegas around 11 am and hit areas of extremely heavy rain. Luckily the rain only lasted a couple minutes at a time and we were able to return the car with minutes to spare before heading into the slot-filled airport.
We left the clouds and rain and returned to much of the same. It was a great way to cap a summer with little heat and see a new part of the country.