Last night after training, I headed up to Zion National Park. I took the scenic route: taking the 14 away from Cedar City, through the lava flows with Aspens bursting through (as if volcanic the rock was fertile); then turning on the 89 into lower country with more of a mountainous desert landscape; and then on the 9 at Mt. Carmel Junction. The closer I got to Zion National Park, the more rock shops appeared alongside the road; one in particular caught my eye, the shop itself was shaped like a giant rock. The sign next to the shop proudly proclaimed that they also functioned an expresso bar. I didn’t get a pic but here is a pic of it from Katie and John’s blog
Entering Zion from the east requires going through a 1.1 mile tunnel in the mountain that was bored out in the 1920’s. It’s a remarkable feat. Google it and check out pictures!
I had a hard time, not so much with the tunnel, but with the drive into the park in general. The landscape along the entirety of the road was beautiful — maybe even the most beautiful part of the park — but I didn’t feel connected to it, nor did I feel I could fully experience it from the car. The car, sadly, is the mode in which we are required to experience this part of the park. There are pull-off points along the road, but I feel that in order to truly experience the landscape and the supreme beauty of the area, I need to walk and hike most, if not the entirety of it. A lot of the beauty I think comes from the journey you take with the landscape. On this stretch, the journey is disconnected from us physically by rubber, metal, glass, and man-made concrete. I feel the world, on this stretch, has lost a great adventure.
Check out all the stops on the maps. It takes you to all the Zion neighborhoods, museums, restaurants, and parks!
I got off at The Grotto stop and took the Angels Landing Trail. What an experience! According to the FAQ section on the Zion National Park website, five people have fallen to their deaths on this hike (I didn’t know this before I started the climb). It’s not too hard to see why. Angels Landing is a monolith which for the most part is quite narrow with drop-offs on each side thousands of feet.
Or, how about the Court of Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
I was also inspired by the determination and character of some of the trees. I need to look up what kind of tree these are (maybe Juniper?).