Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Zion Experience in 24 Hours

When I think of Utah, the first thing that sifts into my mind is powder. Light, fresh powder that comes down hard and heavy in the winter months of the Wasatch Mountains.  Change seasons, head west from the Wasatch for warmer temperatures and changing landscape. Nestled in the southwest corner of Utah you will find one of the most unique National Parks in America; not that I have seen them all, but I rank it high on the list of the ones I have.

Over millions of years the Virgin River has been a contributing factor in carving one of the most spectacular canyons in the United States known as Zion National Park. Today, that same river still slots through the canyon, etching its mark on the Utah sandstone. Zion is trademarked by it's steep red rock cliffs, staggering canyons and unmistakable views.

In about a 24 hour period, I did what I could to find the most optimum hiking and unforgettable views. I love these opportunities to get back out West and explore. There's a since of energy from being out West that you can't find in big cities.  God created an immaculate world for us to explore and relish in the glory of His creation:

The view from outside Zion National Park provides a glimpse of what is to come. 

Weeping Rock

By far one of the shortest hikes in the park (5-10 minutes) up, provides what I considered to be one of the most unique views of the park and the pictures turned out to be some of the best. The D750 does a great job of capturing the falling or 'weeping' water off the enclosed perched rock.

Scout's Lookout/Angel's Landing

Probably the most photographed hike in Zion, and rightfully so. The hike starts on flat switchbacks and makes a quick push to up hill strenuous turns. The views are simply remarkable . The hike earned it's name as it was said the top point of the hike was so high, that only Angels could land atop it.   

Surreal views of Zion Canyon come into view on the uphill climb.

The view from below, before starting the most intense part of the hike. 

A series of  21 switchbacks known as Walter's Wiggle's. Easily the steepest switchbacks I have ever been on. The fact that a trail was built here is pretty incredible. 
The view from approach of Scout's Lookout. Stay up the top right to continue to  Angel's Landing; for those who don't mind 1,000 foot drops while tight-roping a chain link post (not me).

Reaping the rewards of Scout's Lookout. The rock a few feet ahead is a straight drop off.

The Hike to Angel's Landing is hairy and requires a chained rail the entire time as you are ascending across a massive rock ledge.  

When traveling alone, find someone else doing the same to share the hike with.  

Views of Zion Canyon coming down from Scout's lookout.

Views of Zion Canyon coming down from Scout's lookout. 

Probably the shot of the trip. Zion Canyon in all it's glory.
Standing up high, taking this light
I'm gonna see the shinning
Maybe there's an angel at my door

Riverside Walk to The Narrows

The last stop the Zion bus system runs to is the Temple of Sinawava. If your looking for a great last stop for your day in the park, this is it. Follow a paved path through the canyon for about a mile know as 'River Walk'. As you continue walking, the canyon narrows. The pave path ends, and your left to your own exploration of the Virgin River on one of the most unique hikes you will ever experience: 

River Walk approaching the Narrows

As the walk continues, the canyon narrows.

The water depth of The Narrows can depend on the time of year. Always check the forecast before starting the treck up the river. With the dry landscape, storms can create flash floods very quickly. 

Every turn you make around The Narrows provides a uniquely incredible view. 

Every turn leads to a new opportunity, a eye opening sight and a view that doesn't seem real. 

Silent beauty

Sizing up The Narrows is an arduous task. Anyone who loves the outdoors needs to experience this hike.

All Around the Park

More Virgin River Goodness
You are hard pressed not to see a few deer in Zion. 
Water Running into the Emerald Pools.

You won't find this upward outlook in a concrete jungle. 

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