We are back at Zion National Park. The thin November crowd makes the park visit much more pleasant.
Before heading out for any hikes, we had to go to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Kanab to see if we could get lucky with getting one of the walk-in permits for the Wave trail.
The Wave trail located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is only accessible to those with a permit, which is given out through a lottery system. There is the online lottery that is held 4 months prior to the desired hike date, and then there is the walk-in lottery held the day before the desired hike (between mid-November and March, Friday walk-in lotteries are drawn for the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday hikes).
The online lottery gives out 12 permits (max 48 people total) a day, and the walk-in gives out 4 permits (max 16 people) a day. Since I wasn’t able to secure an online permit on 2 occasions, we decided on the walk-in route hoping that it would be easier. Unfortunately, 200 other people had the same idea.
At this point we knew our chances of securing a permit was low – 12 in 99.
Knowing our odds, we didn’t hold out much hope. Saturday and Sunday’s permits came and went. Monday’s first 3 permits were also spoken for. There was only one permit left. Finally, with ball in hand, the announcer called out, “This is for a group of 2 people from California…number 14”. We both whooped ecstatically as we couldn’t believe that we had won the very last permit!
After the 15-minute debriefing, still not quite believing our good luck, we made our way back to Zion National Park to begin our hikes.
Since it was already too late to hike Angels Landing without encountering crowds on the trail, we decided on a less popular trail on the east side of the park – East Rim Trail.
After the somewhat “underwhelming” hike, we drove towards our next trail.
Luckily, the day was saved by the Canyon Overlook trail located right outside the eastern tunnel entrance.
Tomorrow morning we’ll set off for our last Angels Landing hike before the lottery permit system is put in place in 2022.