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Hiking in Bryce and Zion

Old Mar 26th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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Hiking in Bryce and Zion

We've never done a hiking vacation before. And although, we'll be doing the easy hikes (have two kids under 10) I want to make sure we're properly equipped for the hike. We'll be there April 4-7. What type of clothes should we bring? Is wearing jeans sufficient? We all have hiking boots. I want to be prepared so when we get there, we won't be wishing we'd have brought something with us (or purchased it beforehand!) Thanks!
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 07:44 AM
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Bring layers of clothes. It could be warm or cold in April.

A backpack or fanny packs that hold water bottles are good to have. You can carry snacks, rain slicks, and it's a place to put the layers of clothes you peal off.

Make sure that you have properly broken in the hiking boots before you leave on your trip. Moleskin might be helpfull.

Don't forget the sunscreen or your camera!

Have a good trip!

Utahtea

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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 09:10 AM
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Be aware that Bryce is at a very high elevation, so snow and ice are likely and hiking may not be possible. I went in early May a few years ago and all hiking trails were closed due to snow/ice. I wish I had brought my snowboots because we were trudging through knee-deep snow, going from the cabin to the car. Hat, gloves, and a warm coat are a necessity!

Meanwhile on the same trip, the temps in Zion were 80-85 degrees. Jeans would have been too warm.

So...bring lots of layers!
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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Have plenty of water (not soda!) and a first aid kit, or at least band-aids and anticeptic.
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 11:01 AM
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Before being sure of my answers, I really need to find out if you are backpacking with a tent and sleeping bags for overnighting. That would have some impact on my answers because sleeping out at altitude that time of year can subject you to cold weather.

Based on your questions, I am assuming that you were making day hikes only within the bounds of the park and assume further that you plan on sticking to the regular trail system that is marked and maintained.

Being an experienced hiker, I do not hike in jeans - period. They are heavy, neither warm nor cool, and they absorb sweat which makes them heavier.

In winter, I wear wool trousers; in summer I wear the trousers of the lightest cotton or breathable nylon that zips into shorts that I can find. No nylon is all that great I find because it is hot in summer and cold in winter. For a jacket, I usually have Polarfleece of various weights depending on the season. If it is really cool, I would have a down filled jacket. And always, even for short hikes, I have my day pack with my gear.
(I made a mistake once in the Smokies about 40 years ago. Short hike I thought, hence no need for much equipment. Result, rain storm. I was soaked and miserable. One good rain outfit and a sweater and all would have been fine, but it was back at my car about two miles away. Lesson learned!)

Usually I have a nylon shell to wear over the PolarFleece, and if there is a threat of rain or snow, I always have along my Goretex jacket and pants. For the American West, the most vital pieces of equipment I have are: my hat, which protects my neck and ears from the sun, sun glasses, and sun screen. That April sun can cook you even if the air is cool. The air is clear and thin, and the burning rays are intense.

As for all of the antiseptic and stuff, I never carry much more than a couple of bandaids. I am not on a military expedition.

I also pack water and lots of it, or I know with 100% certainty where I can resupply. I also take energy foods for excusions lasting more than 3 hours. Your biggest enemies are sunburn, fatigue, altitude, dehydration, blistered feet, and at certain times of the year, the wind, rain/sleet/snow and lightning!!

April at Bryce could well be a snowy business. The rim of the plateau varies from about 8,000 feet to 9,500 feet at the south end. I would call the park beforehand and see what is going on. Zion is about 4,000 feet lower and in a different climate.

Your best footgear includes proper socks. I have for years used a polypropylene liner sock with a Smart Wool or Birkenstock brand outer sock. Of course the footgear needs to fit well, but the trails in Bryce and Zion are not rocky. They are relatively smooth so lightweight footgear is ok. I think you need something high enough to protect the ankles, but you do not need a heavy pair of hiking boots that weight you feet like lead.

Some of these mountain shoes by Nike that protect the ankle a little and give some good arch support and cushioning are not bad. If you stick to the regular trails, I see no reason why a good pair of jogging shoes would not be enough. If the trails are snow covered, I doubt if you will be going very far anyhow.


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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 11:03 AM
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Before being sure of my answers, I really need to find out if you are backpacking with a tent and sleeping bags for overnighting. That would have some impact on my answers because sleeping out at altitude that time of year can subject you to cold weather.

Based on your questions, I am assuming that you were making day hikes only within the bounds of the park and assume further that you plan on sticking to the regular trail system that is marked and maintained.

Being an experienced hiker, I do not hike in jeans - period. They are heavy, neither warm nor cool, and they absorb sweat which makes them heavier.

In winter, I wear wool trousers; in summer I wear the trousers of the lightest cotton or breathable nylon that zips into shorts that I can find. No nylon is all that great I find because it is hot in summer and cold in winter. For a jacket, I usually have Polarfleece of various weights depending on the season. If it is really cool, I would have a down filled jacket. And always, even for short hikes, I have my day pack with my gear.
(I made a mistake once in the Smokies about 40 years ago. Short hike I thought, hence no need for much equipment. Result, rain storm. I was soaked and miserable. One good rain outfit and a sweater and all would have been fine, but it was back at my car about two miles away. Lesson learned!)

Usually I have a nylon shell to wear over the PolarFleece, and if there is a threat of rain or snow, I always have along my Goretex jacket and pants. For the American West, the most vital pieces of equipment I have are: my hat, which protects my neck and ears from the sun, sun glasses, and sun screen. That April sun can cook you even if the air is cool. The air is clear and thin, and the burning rays are intense.

I also pack water and lots of it, or I know with 100% certainty where I can resupply. I also take energy foods for excusions lasting more than 3 hours. Your biggest enemies are sunburn, fatigue, altitude, dehydration, blistered feet, and at certain times of the year, the wind, rain/sleet/snow and lightning!!

April at Bryce could well be a snowy business. The rim of the plateau varies from about 8,000 feet to 9,500 feet at the south end. I would call the park beforehand and see what is going on. Zion is about 4,000 feet lower and in a different climate.

Your best footgear includes proper socks. I have for years used a polypropylene liner sock with a Smart Wool or Birkenstock brand outer sock. Of course the footgear needs to fit well, but the trails in Bryce and Zion are not rocky. They are relatively smooth so lightweight footgear is ok. I think you need something high enough to protect the ankles, but you do not need a heavy pair of hiking boots that weight you feet like lead.

Some of these mountain shoes by Nike that protect the ankle a little and give some good arch support and cushioning are not bad. If you stick to the regular trails, I see no reason why a good pair of jogging shoes would not be enough. If the trails are snow covered, I doubt if you will be going very far anyhow.


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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 07:00 PM
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Ditto everything Utahtea and Bob Brown say. Bob is probably the most experienced hiker/outdoorsman on the forum.

In my book, the most important items are, again: double the water you think you need, sunscreen, hat.

Have fun!
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 03:16 PM
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Thanks so much everyone! Just returned from Galyans and bought about everything I needed (yikes our credit card bill is going to be thick!) We got some of those camelbacks for water. Anyone use them before? They came in small sizes for kids and I think they'll be great to off load some of the weight to them.
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Old Mar 27th, 2003, 03:23 PM
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Camelbacks are great. Makes staying hydrated ever so easy! No stopping and digging for water bottles in a back pack. It's right there by your mouth at the ready.
 
Old Mar 27th, 2003, 05:38 PM
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Hiking in Sedona and the Grand Canyon last summer--cmelbacks were the perfect thing for the kids. They remember to keep drinking water because of the novelty of the equipment.

As far as sunscreen goes, keep it handy for re-application. We did a horseback ride in Sedona that was meant to be 1 hour, and you were only allowed to bring a water bottle--no backpacks etc. Well the guide got lost, we were running out of water, and were completely exposed to the midday sun. Even though we had applied sunscreen, my daughter, who has very fair skin, ended up with a killer sunburn. That one extra hour with the top of her legs in the direct sun left a burn that you could make out the "tan Line" many months later.

On all of our other outings we were overly prepared w/ hats, water, and sunscreen and there were no repercussions.

Enjoy your trip!
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