Sunday, October 29, 2017

Separation Canyon, Land of Balanced Rocks and Bighorn Sheep


The east side of Zion National Park is a wonderland for hiking away from the popular trails in the main canyon. During our last week in Virgin, UT our gang of spry seniors hiked in a couple different canyons where we just made our way however we could. Our first hike was in Separation Canyon, where we followed Joe’s Guide. It’s a pretty steep climb up at the start to get into the canyon, and Laurelee and I had a moment when we thought we couldn’t go on, but Andre came to our rescue and we made it. No photos were taken during our panic attack.


It was a lot of walking uphill over slickrock, and Mark kept telling us to just trust our shoes. Not always easy to do if I look down and think about how far my body could roll if I slipped.






Andre and Mark decided to try and make it to the top of Separation Peak. It turned out to be a bit more challenging than they thought. At one point Andre threw his backpack down to Mark to get the weight off his back, but Mark missed catching it. It rolled down the mountain a ways, knocking off the mouthpiece of his water bladder hose, never to be seen again. Mark then decided not to continue, and Andre very slowly made his way safely back down. There were a few tense moments as the rest of us watched from down below.


After the excitement we came across an area of interesting fallen rocks.


Walked uphill through some deep sand looking for a high spot with a view for lunch.


And a little shade for some of us.



After a snack, Mark and Andre went off looking for a way to make a loop back to the cars. They spotted a herd of bighorn sheep, but by the time the rest of us got there they were gone.


Andre climbed another ridge but couldn’t find them.


No sheep but great views.


Happy hikers Andre, Laurelee, Mark, Rose, Bobbie and Chris. I took the photo and Jim stayed home again with Libby. I’m afraid he’s going to want a dog after hanging out with her so much these past couple weeks. Actually the main reason he’s missed some of our hikes is that we’ve been leaving by 8:30 and he just can’t get himself up and moving that early.



Mark came up with a way to loop back and at one point we came across an area of creative-looking balanced rocks. Here are Bobbie and Andre trying to capture the perfect shot.



Isn’t nature grand?



Then we got to go down all those slickrock slopes we climbed.



And came across more sheep. They are quite the handsome creatures and weren’t very concerned with our presence. In fact Andre and Mark got pretty close to them so I’m hoping they got some better close ups.







This is the steepest part of the hike where we had a little difficulty getting up. It was actually easier going down by employing the butt-scoot method.


This was a fun canyon to explore, and we saw nobody else the entire time. It’s always hard to believe there are so many quiet places in such a busy national park.


  1. Sounds like a tough hike but the rewards were awesome!!! Great pics of a magnificent area!!

  2. Loved the hike, love your photos and love the gang’s camaraderie in the backcountry of Zion.

  3. We did do Separation Peak!! After you told me about it the other night, I went back and looked at our blog. Low and Behold, there it was! The only part I really remember is the one short steep straight up climb where I took the skin off my knee. That climb really scared me with little to grip and little slop. Love those tripod rocks! So glad you saw darn cute:)

  4. Somebody had to stay off the top and get Andre down :)).
    Another new hike! So cool to be alone in the "crowd."

  5. Woohoo! Gotta love a hike in a Nat'l Park without other people! Love those balanced rocks and of course the big horns! Cool!

  6. That was a great day. It's good to hike a new area in the company of my spry senior comrades ;)

  7. Just have to get off the advertised trails to find that quiet. The most awesome balanced rock Ever! Also nice to see the sheep.

  8. Looks like another great hike! I would have probably been apprehensive about some of those slickrock sections.