Yesterday was our day to visit Zion National Park and have our senses overloaded by the awesome beauty. Today we hiked one of the trails in Snow Canyon State Park and viewed scenery on a smaller scale, but of no less beauty. Since we are amateur photographers at best, there was no way to adequately recreate the visual experience for sharing with friends and family. But we gave it our best shot (or should I say our best “shots”).
The last couple of days have brought a change in weather. It has been overcast and highs only in the 70’s. Cloudy skies presented more of a challenge in capturing good images, but it did mean that we could enjoy today’s tromp through the desert without the heat that we experienced over the weekend.
If we had more time to spend at Zion yesterday, a hike there would have been ideal, too. As it was, we did the basic tourist shuttle bus tour to get a sense of what’s there. We came through the South Entrance of the park and the Zion Scenic Drive that leads up into the canyon is open to shuttle buses only. The buses were very convenient, passing frequently at the scheduled stopping points and on the way up providing a narrative of the history and features in the park.
We waited to get off until the end of the drive. Here the Riverside Walk trail makes it possible to continue on foot a mile or so further into the canyon along the Virgin River, to what’s called The Narrows. At this point, if the river is not too high (which was not the case yesterday) it is possible to continue the hike by wading, walking and sometimes swimming in the river. Even if we had been planning a hike and if the river wasn’t too high, I’m not sure that hike would appeal to me.
Two hikers got on at the Big Bend shuttle stop and described their day’s hike to us. Now that’s a hike that has more appeal to me. They had just completed the hike to Angel’s Landing and I was very envious when I peered out the bus window up at the huge formation they described ascending. Maybe someday.
We did a second short walk at Weeping Rock, just high enough to see the feature. Another trail branched off from here to a winding 8-mile ascent through Echo Canyon to a viewpoint of Zion Canyon. By craning our necks upward we could see hikers way up the cliffs above us making their way slowly to the top. Sure made me feel like a wimp to go back down to the shuttle stop and wait for the bus.
I was glad we got to see as much of the park as we did. There’s a peaceful feeling that you get there that’s hard to put into words. The canyon was named Zion by early pioneers because it provided such a sense of peace and safety. Dwarfed by the outsized features and incredible landscape many of the names given to the stone monoliths were inspired by Biblical references. One of my favorite spots was Court of the Patriarchs where the peaks had been named Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in 1916 by Frederick Vining Fisher, a Methodist minister.
Today we did get out and do some walking on a couple of the trails in Snow Canyon State Park. When you view our photos on Picasa, after the few meager offering of Zion photos, there are some selected from the many that we took today. It was hard to resist not only the views, but also, the treat of seeing many different flowers in bloom. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to research the names of the flowers.
Hope you enjoy the photos. I just wish it were possible to do a better job of sharing all that we have seen and experienced in Utah.