Although it might seem glib to say that Zion National Park is the Grand Canyon turned upside down, those of you who know what the Grand Canyon means to me, will understand that this is not just a comment about the topography.
While we saw amazing rock facings at the GC last summer, they pale in comparison to Zion. My pictures won't do it justice, but I've selected a few. Like at the GC, I felt dwarfed, but this time, the huge walls of Navajo sandstone were almost comforting...as if we were simply nestled in the canyon.
But the neatest element of our Zion experience was the contrast of water with the semi-arid climate. Life was so very abundant. Even the rocks seem to be alive. It makes perfect sense why native American mythology is filled with stories about living mountains.
Springdale, which lies just at the foot of the park, runs a shuttle up to the park which is amazingly convenient and so much better than the situation prior to 2000, when cars and trucks could drive all the way up. Being a weekday, the park was very quiet and for the first couple of hours we saw very few people. We got up to the park about 8:30 and decided to tackle the Emerald Pools (a far more elegant name than the Algae Pools, which would be more accurate). The "hike" was rather moderate and even paved in some areas. The lowest of the three pools was the most beautiful, and the largest. The springline from the mountains create temporary waterfalls which sprinkle down and create these gorgeous and calming pools. On our way back down, we began to see more people which made us grateful that we had hit this most popular trail very early on.
After a brief snack and a visit to a gift shop, we went on the "Riverwalk." It was fairly clear that we were tuckered out from the last few weeks and it was starting to catch up with us. The "River Walk" is a very easy pleasant walk along the Virgin River toward the place where the canyon narrows. One of the highlights was having this guy close enough to touch:
We watched a fairly cheesy but informative 22 minute film on Zion NP and then took the shuttle back to the hotel. There is so much more we'd like to do, but it is going to have to wait for another trip. I'm assuming I'll find my energy again sometime in September.
I seem to have this knack for visiting national parks immediately after a significant loss. And I always find the experience incredibly healing. I know this must mean something. Hopefully I'm not missing my true calling as a park ranger...