Zion – Angel’s Landing in Winter

Our first full day in Zion and we needed some fuel so we stopped at Cafe Soleil .  I ordered the breakfast burrito and dirty soy chai latte ( chai latte with shot of espresso! ). Very filling and great. zionnationalparkimg_2227

Next we headed to Zion Outfitter to inquire about hiking the Narrows the following day. How much for gear rental, weather conditions etc. This place was recommended to us by our bartender the night before as having the best equipment for the Narrows. I don’t have anything to compare it to but I had a great experience with everyone who worked here. I highly suggest purchasing your crampons beforehand ( much cheaper!) but they also had the good crampons not just yak tracks.

Finally headed into the park, lines get longer the later it gets. Loved this ‘RL GOOD’ license plate!  After stopping at the visitor center and getting information about trail closures etc…  we decided to start hiking at Lower Emerald Pool Trail and see how we were feeling. We had NO.. I repeat NO intention of hiking to Angel’s Landing. The park ranger specified how dangerous it was and that if we were to fall there would be no rescue party – yowzaaaa so we decided we would just build our own hike and see where it would take us. zionnationalparkimg_2230

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PC : John Thomas

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From Lower Emerald Pool Trail to The Grotto Trail and Kayenta Trail then finally towards Angel’s Landing Trail itself. Once we were there we decided to just see how far we could go.. we all had crampons and hiking poles which made ALL the difference. People were hiking without but I don’t know why you would.zionnationalparkimg_2243zionnationalparkimg_2249zionnationalparkimg_2254zionnationalparkimg_7679zionnationalparkimg_7681

MADE IT TO THE TOP! WOOHOO – Amazing feeling, can not begin to describe! Don’t think I would do it again but it was invigorating. I almost feel that in the winter it might be better… this is because with the crampon you really dig into the snow instead of just climbing on rock.

I would definelty reccomend Angel’s Landing in winter but you 100% should have crampons and hiking poles! zionnationalparkimg_7682zionnationalparkimg_7686zionnationalparkimg_7689

Someone even took the time to make a snowman!

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PC : Chelsea Thomas
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PC : Chelsea Thomas

Heading back down – on the way up this trail was full of people… now it is deserted.

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SO many switchbacks! I don’t know how I would have survived this without my poles or crampons.. I will keep saying it.. they were lifesavers!! zionnationalparkimg_7698zionnationalparkimg_7703zionnationalparkimg_8293

Felling really amazing after this hike!zionnationalparkimg_8298

Spotted some wildlife!zionnationalparkimg_2255

Now headed to Zion Mountain Ranch… our home for the next two days! Time to relax. zionnationalparkimg_2389

Go to Tonsai!

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It was night when we got to Krabi. We took a taxi from Krabi to the beach side town Ao Naung.

Try not to stay in Ao Naung at all costs. It really is tourist hell! The beach is not beautiful and it’s filled with tourists!

However, we did find a little slice of heaven at the hotel we found. It is up off the main street and for the life of me I can not remember what it is called but it is run by a Swedish man and they have a Swedish Flag out front. It is across the street from an authentic Thai place.

Since the terrible snorkeling debacle at Anthong National Park in Koh Samui, we were ready for a successful snorkeling experience. The night we arrived we raced around trying NOT to book at a tour booth – but alas- every dive shop was closed so we were stuck going to a tour booth. Horror upon horror. We booked a ‘small boat tour’ – what a SHAM – they had about 20 speed boats all going to the same spots. How intimate…not!!

It was a mistake for the most part. We did go to three cool snorkeling spots, but the rest of the day was filled with a truly terrible tourist speed boat experience. It was so bad that most of the day my friends and I were pretty depressed.

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That night we went to Tonsai Beach to sign up for a rock climbing adventure known as deep water soloing. TONSAI is amazing! If you like what I like than Tonsai is the place for you.

We loved Tonsai Beach. It’s not authentic Thai but compared to tourist hell on Ao Naung. Tonsai was a fresh breathe of backpacker heaven. We were so delighted to happen upon this reggae – rock climbing loving slice of beach.

Deep Water Soloing was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life. I didn’t climb high but rather traversed and then when I was ready I jumped in the water! It was fun and refreshing and I wish I could do it everyday!

We didn’t want to leave Tonsai but did want to see Chang Mai. So at the last minute we rushed from the beach to the airport and barely made it on a flight to Bangkok and then booked another ticket to Chang Mai for early the next day.

To Sum up our Krabi/Ao Naung/Tonsai experience.

DON’T stay in Ao Naung. DO Stay in Tonsai.

Go Deep Water Soloing. You don’t have to be a rock climber – you just have to be ready for adventure.

Be prepared to never want to leave.

Eat at Mama’s Chicken/Kitchen as many times as possible.

If you climb, and will be staying on Tonsai for awhile it is a good idea to bring your climbing shoes. However, you can always rent a pair from Basecamp on Tonsai.

If you have time Koh Tao was recommended to us for snorkeling!

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