Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our National Park Adventures - Zion National Park

The Secrets of Zion are whispered each day in the gentle  waters of the Virgin River~~

Excerpts from my travel journal ~~
"Named in the early 1800's by Mormon settlers - Zion is truly a place of incredible sanctuary and beauty.  Surrounded by mountains of inexplicable color and form, this place is simply unbelievable."

  We began our incredible journey and tour of National Parks in Las Vegas.  We packed up our rental car - along with our dearest friends Bob and Jan - and set off to see our National treasures - up close and personal.  First stop - Zion National Park.   (You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them!)

The soaring mesa tops of Zion are cathedrals that inspire the soul with their beauty.  

Entry to Zion National Park

The heart and soul of Zion are the enormous cliffs.   With Biblical sounding names they evoke the sanctuary that for  hundreds of years, people have come here seeking~~ The Great White Throne, The Three Patriarchs- Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, The Alter of Sacrifice, Angel's Landing, Temple, and the Watchman.  


Zion National Park is the only National Park to prohibit it's guests from driving into the park.  The use of a shuttle system has totally transformed the experience of visiting this great National Park.  It's quiet - totally quiet - all you hear is the sound of happy people, the rush of the wind in trees, the gurgling sound of the river, and the "skree" of a red tailed hawk.  

From my journal-  "Water in all it's forms, has shaped this land.  When you walk out here - you walk where the water has been."  

"Nothing can exceed the wondrous beauty of Zion... in the nobility and the wondrous beauty of the sculptures."  wrote geologist Clarence Dutton, 1880.  

 So~ we began our first encounters with the magnificent place that is called Zion~~ 

Upper Emerald Pool Trail

(photo credit - Bob)

Weeping Rock Trail

(photo credit - Bob)
From my journal - "On our first day we hiked about 5 miles to places with picturesque names like Weeping Rock and the Narrows.   At the Narrows we followed a long trail that led to the Virgin River bed. From there the river flows shallow to a narrow crevice between two mountains. We were not equipped to wade the rest of the hike ( next time)- but the river was crystal clear and it was HOT- I felt the gentle ripples calling my name - so I gave in to the temptation and went in - clothes and all!

I'm still dripping here!

A trip like this takes a lot of planning - meet the "planners" ~~ me and Bob.

On Day 2 of our Zion adventure Bob had this great crazy idea - "lets do the Hidden Canyons Trail", he said~~

 No where on that trail description did it say ANYTHING about scaling a slick rock mountain face hanging on to ~~ CHAINS!!!

Feel free to leave comments telling me that I am SO BRAVE!!
                                              (or crazy!)

 The steep trail to Hidden Canyon gains nearly 1000 feet in the first mile.  The rough surfaced trail zig zags up the face of Cable Mountain.  The drop off is 6,974 feet~~~

In places it is so narrow and steep that you need to steady yourself with CHAINS before reaching the water gorged canyon between Cable Mountain and the Great White Throne.  The final entry into the slot canyon is by way of steep steps chiseled into the slick rock~ 

 From my journal- "Inside this secret canyon, I felt as though I was in a place where time stood still.  The stone corridor narrows and winds and I find myself fascinated to know - what is on the other side." 

I kinda wish I had seen this sign before I started this trail!  
         Did I earn my badge of courage?

With my feet finally steady on solid ground - we had time for one more hike at the end of the day~

Sunset and the evening glows in Zion National Park~~

My friend Jan - patiently waiting while we hiked.  (She is actually the only smart one in the bunch!)

The magnificent Checkerboard Mesa

We spent 2 spectacular days in the Zion National Park - not nearly enough!  We hiked the following trails:
  1. the one mile paved path to the Narrows.
  2. the Weeping Rock trail
  3. the first section of the Angel's Landing trail
  4. the Upper Emerald Pools trail
  5. the Kayenta trail to the Grotto shuttle stop
  6. the 1.5 mile trail from the Grotto shuttle stop to the Zion lodge
  7. the Hidden Canyon trail
Total mileage covered in Zion National Park - just over 12 miles!

Next stop on our National Park adventure -Bryce Canyon and those amazing hoodoo formations. 

(I'll be back with more unbelievable photos from our travels in a few days~~)


audrey said...

Vicki, Zion is SO beautiful!! I applaud your bravery and strength to hike those hills and tiny pathways with drops that probably took your breath away. In spite of that, the area is gorgeous ~ so filled with color ~ and I love the fact that it is quiet there and you can hear the birds and the water. Lovely.
So happy that you had a wonderful time and are sharing it with us once again.
Spectacular photos, by the way!!!!♥ audrey

Retired Knitter said...

These pictures are so magnificent, I am beyond words ... and that doesn't happen very often. :-)

Deb said...

Vicki ~ I loved ALL the gorgeous pics! They brought back so many wonderful memories. We went to Zion and Bryce 6 years ago for our 25th anniversary...however, we didn't have the hiking adventure you did!! Wow!! Now, I would have been the one to stay and keep Jan company. :) It looks like you had another marvelous trip with lots to share with us. Thanks for taking us along.

Shell said...

Gorgeous,gorgeous photos, my Friend! Looks like you had a great time too~

I'm not what you would call a religousor "Church-going" person,,,,but I think I'm pretty spriritual.....and those photos are a reflection of GOD...His creation and it reminds me of how blesed we are!Thank you for sharing! Enjoyed them all SO!

Look forward to catching up in days ahead! My Love to you my dear friend!

Hugs,Love and a "travellin'" Bus on the Cheek!

Joyful said...

wow! Stunning photos. Beautiful, beautiful place. You are brave ;-)

knitalatte said...

Yes you are crazy brave! But from looking at your photos, well worth it. Such beauty and magnificent views. Glad you and the Gardner had another great adventure.

suziqu's thread works said...

Welcome back Vicki. Those photos are stunningly amazing - Just nothing like the real thing and being there but boy we do get just a little taste.
You may like to enter my Giveaway and see a real bird's nest on my blog.

PoetessWug said...

WOW Vicki!! What beautiful photos! And sorry, but I think you're CRAZY!!! LOL How in the world did you ever miss that "danger" sign?!! *cold shiver* Better you than me!! Me and Jan would've been fighting for the rock she was sitting on...and a sandwich!!! ^_^

Susan McClaskey said...

Very, very impressive. I probaby would have taken my knitting and been waiting with your friend. Your pictures are gorgeous.

Mila said...

Oh Vicki...I adore all these pictures...Such lovely places and wonderful woman :)|
Mila :)

sandy said...

Vicki..your pictures are breathtaking and crazy yes but, also very brave I know I wouldn't have seen half as much as you cause brave I'm not so thanks so much for sharing these amazing pictures looking forward to more!!

Her Art Nest said...

Hi Vicki--what amazing photos. The colors were outstanding. Thank you for sharing your adventure. Hugs, Nan

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Zion is one of the most exhilarating and magnificant places you can visit. It is unlike anything.

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

Absolutey amazing photos! I can't imagine what it must have looked like standing out there.
I've been caught off guard on hiking trails before, having to do things I did not sign up for. So I know just how much bravery it takes. I have to ask though, at any time did you sit firmly on a rock, start crying, and ask for a helicopter to come to your rescue?

Lululiz said...

Stunningly beautiful landscape, and the photos really are quite fabulous. Though I have to say some of them almost made me faint, just looking at them and imagining myself there, I really admire you for walking that very precarious route. I couldn't do it.

Acorn to Oak said...

How fun! I love's one of my favorite places on far! In fact, we visit there at least once a year. You'll definitely have to plan to go back and hike the narrows. It's AWESOME! Did you spend any time in the little town of Springdale...just outside the entrance? They have fun little shops. :-)

A Scattering said...

Thrills and chillls - I have goose bumps after reading and viewing this fabulous post. I loved the Ken Burns/PBS series on the US National Parks but you've put faces I now recognize in the parks - incredible photos my friend! Can't wait for the next stop!

susan jenkins said...

Oh my! What an adventure! Your photos are gorgeous and the ones of you are just so pretty. i'm not so sure about the chains and the cliff, wowo, I'd have been shaking in those boots!! Thanks for taking us along!! xx Susan

SuZeQ said...

Oh. My. GAWD! You are indeed a crazy one, Vicki. Never in a million years would I/could I ever do anything like this. Good for you that you are able to though ... and, by the way: you look great!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Definitely my kinda trip. Absolutely gorgeous! Growing up, we took family vacations each summer, two weeks each time. I wonder if we did Zion National Park -- I know we did several of them. Love that you keep a travel journal. I try each time we visit a new country but just can't seem to think creatively or to write fluidly. No doubt we would have scaled that mountain and made out way to Hidden Canyon. Good for you! I love hiking! Who wouldn't when surrounded by such beauty!?? Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful weekend. Tammy

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Well. I am seriously impressed.
It is magnificent there, and your pictures show that. What a beautiful country we live in.....

Mary LaRue Groft said...

It's true. You are so brave! What a wonderul trip.

And, I want to say that I absolutely love those baby nests! Makes me wish I knew someone with a new baby so I could buy one as a gift. They're truly beautiful.

Dorthe said...

Dear Vicki, this is incredible-so fantastic are your photoes,they takes my breath away- and that landschape is nothing I have ever seen before- what an experience to have been there- you are soo lucky to be able to see that wild mountains in real, dear friend.
And YES you was very brave- I`m so happy, you came home whole,lol
HUGS- Dorthe

Lili said...

Our National Parks really are spectacular and I am loving having you as a tour guide to learn about them. Having just the shuttle buses allowed in the park is wonderful! I can't imagine how peaceful that must be. You captured some really awe inspiring shots for us, it must have been so incredible to be there and walk among all that wonder. I'm so proud of you for being so brave to carry on when you got to the steep formations holding on to just a chain along those slick rocks! This is really the life being able to explore such beauty with the one you love along with some great friends. As usual, you look adorable all the while, but I can't believe you jumped in that water like you did, that was really fun to know you did it though! xoxo ~Lili

Donna said...

WONDEFUL pics of your fabulous trip, Vicki! I feel like I've just been to a trvelog! You do take the most amazing pictures!

PS. You have great looking legs! I'm a little jealous...

Carole said...

spectacular photos!!! and yes I do think you're a bit crazy....but brave. Maybe they go hand and hand.

Carole should work for the tourism dept!!!

yaya said...

Hey brave girl! Nice pics. I've been to Utah many times, but not the this beautiful park. Maybe someday! That trail gave me the willies just looking at the pics...When we went to Denali cars weren't allowed there either and it sure made a difference in the noise level. Again, just beautiful photos!

fromsophiesview said...

What a beautiful National exilerating to watch and that much more for you to experience. I can feel the cool refreshing water as you dunked yourself. Thanks so much for the kind comments are a doll for spending time with my little world...take care of yourself and all you family...Cheers!

dulcy said...

Gorgeous, and gorgeous! I've had foot surgery, and am just dying to get out and do some hiking. Before long the fall color here will be perfect, and hopefully, I'll be in hiking boots. Thanks for sharing!

Shirley said...

Vicki,Zion is so beautiful and I would have never gone where you did for that you should be given a medal for your bravery. The scenery is unreal with so many colors. I shall be looking forward to more of your pictures. These are for sure great. Have a great day. Your Missouri Friend.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Vicki, these are gorgeous shots!!! Such beautiful country - so happy to have the chance to come along with you! :)

Sea Angels said...

Well just look at your lovely long brown legs....walking those trails...I looked at those beautiful pictures open mouthed..really magical what a fabulous adventure xxxx
Hugs Lynn xxxx

MunirGhiasuddin said...

Beautiful pictures. I hope that you make a book of these pictures. What patience. Thank you for sharing. They brought me closer to nature. They are magnificcent:)

Gert said...

Oh Vicki these photos are absolutely amazing!

Those chains up there looked soooo dangerous!

Glad you are safe!

xoxo Gert

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Is Jan a knitter? -lol-
You're brave...and a little crazy... I would...could...never do the Hidden Canyon hike; at least, I don't think I could. I'm a little queasy just looking at your photos of the drop.
Thank all of you for the photos; they are incredible and, truly, show the majesty of God's handiwork.