I’ve been meaning to hike Observation Point in Zion for several years–but it was only this week that I followed through when we were visited by a fellow type 1 climber, Andres and his friends from San Diego. They were visiting us in Utah for spring break and were looking to get some spectacular views of Zion National Park along with some hiking–and we initially thought of doing Angels Landing but opted against it because it’s insanely crowded and honestly, it’s far from the best view of the park.

Observation Point in Zion is the best hike that I’ve done in the park to date–probably because you have options about the level of physical output required to gain the rim of the canyon and the stunning overlook. The option exists to hike up to Observation Point from the floor of the canyon which is a great workout–if that’s what you’re in the mood for. You can also start from the east side of the canyon, high on the plateau and take a much gentler trail that is much less arduous–gaining and losing much less elevation.

I definitely want to do Observation Point from the bottom up at some point–but we weren’t looking for a workout as much as a casual hike to take some photos–and Stefanie wanted to bring Lilo so we headed up to the Zion Ponderosa trailhead around sunset, hoping to reach the overlook as the colors peaked and then hike back out to our vehicles in the dark, for 6.6 miles round trip.

I’m not a big hiker. There. I said it. I greatly prefer climbing and I typically view hiking as the suffering that guards the entrance to the vertical world rather than an end unto itself. Having Andres along really helped mitigate this lack of motivation because when I get to see Zion through the eyes of someone who hasn’t been here before, it serves as a powerful reminder of how beautiful this park is. Every now and then we need to get out of our own way and remember all of the amazing things that surround us. They don’t become less remarkable over time–but we do lose our “vision” and that is one of the principle benefits that I enjoy when I am able to meetup and hike or climb with other type 1s. It removes the haze from my sight.

This hike wasn’t an epic adventure. It was just good fun, feeling normal checking blood sugar and eating together–checking up on each other, counting carbs, comparing methods and remembering that these types of experiences belong to all of us. Type 1 diabetes is the reason to try a little harder and go a little further–and to take a partner along to share the journey.

hiking observation point in Zion National Park
Blood sugar check!
hiking observation point in Zion National Park
Andres and Kaila
hiking observation point in Zion National Park
The compulsory summit portrait of Andres.

I have been in a bit of a personal limbo over the last few weeks as our family is at a bit of a crossroads. It’s good to have to choose between good options–but it’s also a bit overwhelming too. I have been feeling like LivingVertical is reaching a point of maturity while other ventures, new goals and projects are peeking over the horizon. I’ll be writing about those things as they develop of course–but it was refreshing to spend time with Stefanie and Lilo in such a beautiful place.

We have a little more than a week before work will call us back to the east coast. It’s important to soak in the experience and the beauty–because that’s what we are investing in, after all. There is no sense to having it all around if you’re not going to fully dive in.

hiking observation point in Zion National Park hiking observation point in Zion National Park hiking observation point in Zion National Park hiking observation point in Zion National Park

 

Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. Have you ever been on an adventure with a fellow type1? How did that impact you? Drop a comment and let’s chat!

Or if you’d rather discuss in private: steve@livingvertical.org