I live less than an hour from Zion National Park, and although that place is amazing, I also have trails right outside my door. Seriously, in less than a mile on pavement, I can be on a beautiful network of dirt trails that seem to never end. Guess the secret is out now.
Anyways, after looking at a few maps, a couple buddies and I decided to do a photo hike/run linking a series of trails that would traverse a desert reserve just north of town. The trails would go from scrambling through high desert juniper forests to ancient lava fields, and sand, through lots and lots of sand.
We planned for 30-ish miles. My Strava logged 44 miles with about 5,000 feet of elevation gain by the end of the day. The unknown is what makes these sort of trips fun. We could’ve signed up and ran any 50k and have the exact mileage, elevation gain, and even have volunteers feeding us with candy and electrolytes every few miles but instead we mapped out and planned the best we could. We traveled on trail that was actually off trail. We saw more of the reserve than most people see in a year and we did it in one day.
This 44 mile section was essentially a test run through the area. My project for the spring is a link up of this route with another 20 miles that ends up on the opposite side of the park for a total of 64 miles if all goes to plan. Seeing how my mileage ended on this test, I may be in for more than I am planning.
*Originally posted on January 19, 2017