Friday, May 7, 2010

Zion National Park

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In southern Utah, at the end of a two lane road winding through sleepy valley towns, you’ll find Zion National Park.  Towering vertical cliffs rise from the leisurely meanderings of the Virgin River, where, 12,000 years ago mammoths, camels and giant sloths, grazed in the shadows of giant peaks.

Today, the wildlife may IMG_0697be smaller, but is certainly no less wild.  Country squirrels wouldn’t stand a chance here.  All around are signs  warning of squirrel bites, and sure enough, the squirrels on the trails showed no fear of humans.  Keep a keen eye.  You never know who might cross your path.

A few years ago, the National Parks Service closed a large portion of the park to private vehicles.  Now, shuttles run every few minutes, dropping park visitors at sites well worth seeing.  One of my favorites was Weeping Rock.  A half-mile, moss-covered traIMG_0676il leads up to an enclave of stone, cut by water dripping through the mountainside.  Wherever the source, thousands of feet up, it can take up to 1200 years to pass through the rock and drip onto park visitors.  Click the picture to see its tears.

The deeper you go, the more the park amazes, as the canyon narrows.  In some places, only accessible when the river’s flow ebbs, opposing canyon walls practically touch.

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IMG_0674 Waterfalls grace the sky.   Wildflowers dot the land.  Mountain sheep graze upon impossible perches.   The weather can change without warning.  Drive up the mountain pass, straight through the rock, and you’re car is only inches from plummeting over the edge.

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No matter how much time you spend here, it won’t be enough.  Zion is, for my money, the most beautiful, most monumental, most stunning example of what nature can do.  If you have the opportunity, and I suggest you make it, get yourself to Zion National Park.  You won’t be sorry. 

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IMG_0673If you’re still hankering for adventure after Zion, do take a drive through nearby Colorado City, Arizona.  Creepy.  Creeeeppyyyy.

5 comments:

Lt. Cccyxx said...

We loved it, both the main park and the Kolob Canyon section. Angels Landing was a terrific hike.

Erica Chapman said...

Very Cool. Haven't been out there myself, but the pics are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing ;o)

Southpaw said...

I love Zion, my last time out there I did the trio with Bryce and Arches. I’ve not met a National Park that was marvelous.

Natalie said...

Zions is incredible. I agree, it's the most amazing National Park I've been to.

Kate said...

I haven't been to Zion, but I did spend a week backpacking in Canyonlands a few years back. I've always found the canyons of southern Utah more awe-inspiring than the grand canyon. I like being in among the canyons not just looking down from above.