Friday, May 22, 2009

Zion National Park

I know it has been awhile, but it has been rather hectic since my wife and I got back from Zion, so I am just now getting around to talking about it. It was an amazing trip, as always, and it was difficult to return to the demands of our regular lives after spending three days in this natural wonder. It is a place of peace and grandeur that defies my efforts at describing it. It really must be experienced in person. Go if you can. Spend a couple of days camping, hike some trails, and get to know as much of this park as you can. You will come back.

This is The Great White Throne on Zion National Park. For those who have never been, this is just one of many massive stone mountains that make up this breathtaking park. As you travel up Zion Canyon from the visitor's center, the scenery changes dramatically and there is always something new to catch the eye. Because the canyon runs roughly north-south, early morning and early evening provide the most dramatic views of each side of the canyon.

This park is the home to the famous Angel's Landing trail that leads to a view point almost 2,000 feet above the canyon floor; a trail that is less than three feet wide at one point, with sheer drops of hundreds of feet to either side. It is also home to the Narrows; a slot canyon trail that often involves wading and swimming in the Virgin River. It is a park of contrasts, with hanging gardens and high desert existing within just a few hundred feet of one another. It even has a desert swamp.

I cannot adequately express what these places mean to me. If I could, I would spend my time exploring places like Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Bryce here in my home state, partaking of the beauty that is found there and the peace they bring to my soul. Arches still holds a special place for me, but these natural wonders have the power to awe and inspire if you take the time to truly see what is there and experience it on a personal level. Yellowstone, Glacier, the Grand Canyon...our national parks are precious gems that too many see in haste; catching glimpses as the speed through to the next site. If you take time to get out of your car and, if possible, get away from the crowds, there is really nothing else like it.

Here is food for a starved soul; partake and be renewed.