On the Road to Zion
Zion National Park, Utah
I had been to Zion National Park once and that was way before I appreciated landscapes the way I do today. It was back in my late-teens when everything sucked, especially extended family road trips, Griswold style.* And if I remember correctly, we only had time to ride the 80-minute roundtrip shuttle along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive before continuing on our way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for a few nights. I had been wanting to get back to Zion for a while, especially since getting hooked on photography and being unable to avoid the barrage of iconic Zion images out there in the photo-world. But despite the fairly easy 7.5 hour drive for me, a trip down there just hadn’t happened.
I was out to change that this Spring. Back in early February, we applied for permits to hike the Subway, one of the parks more popular and classic hikes. It had become so popular, the crowding had put a strain on the land so a permit system was implemented, including an advance lottery. Since I tend to not win anything at all (not even one raffle), we didn’t want to take any chances with a ‘lottery’ so we upped our odds and applied for two different weekends, figuring whichever one we were granted permits for would be the weekend we make the trek down there. In early March, we received the emails telling us we were issued permits for both Thursday, 5/8/14 and Thursday, 5/22/14…sweet! We figured, ‘Why waste good permits? We might as well go twice.’
We made the first seven hour trek down last weekend and Zion was everything I expected and hoped for – Simply incredible.
It sky-rocketed up my personal National Parks Power Rankings (that doesn’t really exist, yet…). With the 2,000 ft cliffs and a meandering river sculpting the valley, it actually reminds me of my favorite park, Yosemite. Except it’s in the desert.
There are a lot more posts to come, but we ended up camping for four nights at Watchman Campground and hiking somewhere around 25-27 miles over the course of three days. Overall, it was an incredible trip and everything I had hoped for.
And now we get to go back and do it all over again this coming Thursday…
*Thinking back, it was a really cool family trip – San Fran – Yosemite – Death Valley – Vegas – Zion – Grand Canyon – Sedona – Phoenix – but I didn’t appreciate it like I would today.