Day #2 in Zion was strange. Deercreek and Cable mountain are side hikes from the East Rim trail. I picked up the East Rim trail near Stave Springs, where I stopped yesterday from the East Entrance. There's an alternate trailhead near the Zion Ponderosa Resort that puts you about 1.5 miles from Stave Springs. You can bypass Deercreek and Cable mountain and continue to the inner canyon about 4.5 miles and complete the East Rim trail or head back to the East Entrance 5.5 miles. I did an out and back as the shuttles back to the East entrance are shut down for the season. Didn't want to chance a hitchhike back. I'm sure there's an after school special about not doing that.
Again not a soul on the trails, either Deertrap or Cable Mountain. I saw tracks on the Stave Spring stretch from the day before but no others. The single tracks I saw yesterday at the Deertrap and Cable junction were again the only ones. I feel a bit selfish but to have the East Rim solo again was awesome. The trail was full of snow the entire way mixed with mud. It started at 24 degrees and was about 38 degrees when I finished. The views from Deertrap were spectacular but I have to say those from Cable were breathtaking. It gives a full view of the main canyon and the hikes on the other side. 11.5 miles is about dead on. My GPS logged 11.6mi but I did wander around to take pics, which will be posted later. Pics are fuzzy I'm sure I was trying not to vomit from my fear of heights.
The trail to Deercreek is up and down and the climbs aren't terrible. Cable Mountain is strange in that you actually decline to the cliff edge and the hike out is the hardest. Both trails are well maintained and clear. They consist of that sandy silt/mud rather than rocks for the most part. Several deer were encountered as were larger mountain lion tracks but didn't see any cats themselves.
Doing this in the same day with the East Rim/Stave Springs is doable but more of an overnight as the total would be close to 21 miles one way to the inner canyon and about 30miles if you hiked to the inner canyon and reversed. The shuttle from the inner canyon is supposed to stop at the end October but it is running on Sat/Sun throughout November this year. Traffic is allowed in the inner canyon as there was little if any snow there as opposed to the upper rims.
The park traffic is zero. I drove to the Zion Ponderosa trailhead on the Hwy 9 and back to the hotel without seeing a single car or person. All the cabins and B&Bs are empty. I was in a restaurant for a post hike beer with only an older couple in the whole place. Eerie but kind of nice. Reminds me of the Shining.