Zion Turktacular 2018: Plan C It Is!

  • Updated: November 22, 2018
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

November 22nd, 2018

This was the initial day of this year's Thanksgiving trip aka the 2018 Turktacular!  This year I was out in Zion Utah climbing a series of smaller peaks. For the other days see the tag Turktacular 2018 and for what I've gotten up to other years see the tag Turktacular.

This trip was rather last minute even by my standards. Due to various life events the original plan of flying down to La Paz and doing a paddle centric trip similar to the San Juan Islands trip fell through leaving us scrambling for something to do within driving distance.

Further complicating the situation a storm was coming in and seemed to be hitting everywhere. Friends up in Bishop reported snow down to 6,000 ft and every forecast we checked across California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah all predicted precipitation.

Granted we've had forecasts like that before and still managed to have some fun. It did mean a lot of the initial ideas I had like Snow BM just were not going to be feasible.

We settled on chasing some lesser known peaks on the east side of Zion and decided to drive out Wednesday night...which due to various last minute complications also didn't happen.

We ended up having to drive out the next morning and left the house at a rainy 4 am with the plan of getting out to Zion and possibly climbing Observation Peak before finding a campsite and making Thanksgiving dinner.

The drive out to Vegas can be a little tedious but there are things to see along the way if you know where to look...

We rolled into Zion around 1 pm and were told at the front gate that all campsites in Watchmen were full and that there was no possibility of a last minute opening. I had my doubts about that particularly after driving past but I decided arguing with stressed out park employees probably wasn't the best use of my time.

They did suggest a place just outside the east side of the park which might have room and after doing the math and factoring in the requisite shuttle ride, the slightly threatening weather, and the fact it was getting dark before 5 pm we decided to save Observation Point for another day and get situated.

High Point Campground is an RV park just outside the eastern entrance. I'd stopped at the store (awkwardly named The Get) before but never tried to stay here.

The sites were $36 a night but on the plus side they had quite a bit of room and the non-excitable lady behind the front desk pointed us at site N on the 4x4 side of the campground. It was a nice site up on a hill and reasonably far from the road and we were happy enough for the inside bathrooms and showers (with wifi!) It was basically it was like a hotel except your sleeping on the ground and it's in the 20s at night.

They had other sites near the entrance that were passenger car friendly and even the supposed 4x4 part could have been done in any sort of a high clearance vehicle unless it was raining.

Which is was but only just a bit. We started getting snow flurries as soon as we were out of the jeep and rushed to get the tent set up in case it was going to get worse.

It didn't and Kristen went to work cooking a full-on Thanksgiving dinner while I stoked a fire to life. Sadly the wind combined with the slightly anemic amount of firewood we had meant it was hard to get pleasantly warm.

Next up, nipples! Jenny's Nipples to be specific along with an evening stroll up Nippletop!

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