The countdown to Zion has begun!

In just 16 days, we will be arriving at Zion National Park for our next big adventure. As you can imagine, we are in full planning mode. We wanted to give a brief rundown of the types of things we are doing this close to a big trip as part of our planning and preparation.

Gear
We have been evaluating our current gear as well as ordering any gear we may need to add before our trip. Our recent Amazon order included wetsuit shirts, needle nose tweezers (an inventory of our First Aid kit revealed that ours had gone AWOL), new Ace bandages, a Hill People Recon Kit Bag, and upgraded camera lenses for the iPhone. The Recon bag is something Mike has wanted for a while. It allows you to carry items on your chest or abdomen, making it easier to reach items such as camera, snacks, and maps without having to remove your pack or contort yourself into a pretzel. I have a smaller Osprey version that I would be pretty miserable without.

As well as making sure we have our gear, we are maintaining and preparing our existing gear. Treating our tent with waterproofing, laundering sleeping bags, checking condition of boots, packs, and other items are just some of the things we are checking and doing. We will also do a couple of practice runs with packing before we narrow down our list to what we will actually bring.

Fitness
This is one area we have both been slacking on lately. But fortunately, we both maintain a pretty good level of fitness at most times, so we are confident we will be ready in time. By taking daily 45 minute hikes around our property with fully loaded packs, to running for cardio, to doing some high intensity interval training, we will be able to get back in our fighting shape in no time. Nothing really prepares you for hiking like hiking, so we have been hitting the trail whenever possible to keep our “trail legs” strong. Zion adds a higher level of difficulty in the difference in elevation and more extreme terrain, so that’s where our additional conditioning and training efforts will pay off.

The view from one of our daily mini-hikes
The view from one of our daily mini-hikes

We have also been much more aware of what we are eating and treating food like fuel after a winter in hibernation mode. If you are what you eat, we are a lot of protein and vegetables. 🙂

Technology
In addition to our regular gear, we are testing and practicing with our technological gear, like our DeLorme InReach satellite communicator and GoPro Hero 3. Both are new to us, so the learning curve is steep. Practicing with it at home will make life much easier and less frustrating on the trail. We are on a month to month plan with DeLorme, so we will activate our service long enough before a trip to give us time to load GPS coordinates and other info as well as letting friends and family know how to track us.

Logistics
The last piece of our preparation is all the logistical stuff. Double checking flight, rental car, and hotel reservations. We ensured that we have our permits accounted for and which ones we still need to get at the park. We also will be sharing our itineraries with our loved ones and setting times to check in with them so that if we miss a check in, they can alert the proper authorities. Part of the logistical planning is also fun stuff, like watching videos of some of the hikes we will do, researching the best places to eat, and seeking out day hikes for our rest days. Because planning a backcountry adventure can take months, all of this really helps us get excited about the trip all over again.

All in all, we are feeling excited and ready for our upcoming trip. The TransZion Trek is an amazing way to see a huge chunk of the park, and we are probably most excited to explore Subway canyon. What does your preparation routine look like? Anything you would do differently? Let us know in the comments!

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