Coalpits Wash

10 October 2020
Coalpits Wash
(5 miles, +800/-800 feet).

Like most people these days, my buddy Jay who is also a professor has been going a little stir crazy, cooped up due to COVID.  When I suggested we do a small backpacking trip he jumped at the chance.

We are both busy with teaching and research, so we had to do a quick trip, but California is still on fire.  The closest place I could find that was not too hot for a trip was Zion National Park.  So I snagged a permit in the Desert section of the park and we hit the road early to be on trail by late afternoon.

Here we go!

This part of the park is gorgeous just like the others, but it is definitely more austere.

The red cliffs of Zion, rising above a sea of sagebrush
Still blooming!
Lovely asters

It was only 3 miles to our designated campsite, but the last bit required us to climb up onto a mesa.

Our mesa

Scoggins Wash was easy to follow, and we made good progress, but we were running out of light and so I thought it might be a good idea to head cross country up the last couple of hundred feet.

You want to go where?!?
The view from our climb

Unfortunately, between the heat and a lack of sleep, Jay had a very tough time and started feeling very ill.  We decided to backtrack to the wash, and then back to an unoccupied campsite, where we watched the sun set and the stars come out.  After taking a good break, we decided it might be better to go ahead and hike out just in case we needed to get help.  So we donned our headlamps and headed back the way we came.

On the way out we passed the group that had reserved the unoccupied campsite, so it’s a good thing we didn’t camp there!

It was kind of fun hiking in the dark.  It was finally cool so Jay was feeling better, and the stars were really pretty.  And in no time we were out and on our way to civilization.

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