Friday, May 22, 2009

Hoofin' it in Zion with a rattler

I know why the Mormons named Zion National Park after the promised land. This is one of the most heavenly places I've ever been, with its lush and rugged landscape, I fell it love with Zion (almost broke into Lauryn Hill's song). 

After a pleasant drive through the Rockies, stopping in Glenwood Springs, which houses Doc Holiday's grave and some very tempting hot springs, we entered a horrifying stretch of nothingness in eastern Utah. Though Utah has some of the most beautiful landscapes, it also can be one of the most frightening places. Driving through the Nothing was more than a little stressful. There was not a street light, nor a gas station, nor a sign of life anywhere for probably over 150 miles. We did make it to Cedar City to stay in civilization for the night and then drove to the park.

I visited Bryce Canyon a few years back over Christmas vacation, and it was very powerful looking down into the snowy canyon at the huge red rock spires. In Zion, you're at the bottom of a lush canyon looking up. A different perspective, equally as dwarfing. The drive to Bryce from Park City was desolate, but unlike central Utah, southern Utah is fairly well populated and easy for tourists to do things like refill prescriptions, find neosporin. 

Zion was green and alive with untamed beasts. We saw many mule deer with their big rabbit ears, but most importantly, I almost stepped on a rattlesnake. I was walking a bit goofily, stumbling into the side of the trail when I heard a rattle, looked down and yelled, "rattlesnake!!!" then pushed Chris toward the beast and ran away. Immediately after we saw a volunteer ranger who said it was very unusual to see one. I was just glad not to be pumped with poison. 

We did a few hikes and saw some waterfalls, people scaling big rocks and just took in the scenery. Riverside Walk offered a paved trail along the Virgin River. It's filled with kids, oldies and squirrels. There were tons of hanging gardens along the rocks, which is where the columbine was abundant and little trickling waterfalls feed the greenery. We went on a short walk up to Weeping Rock to see the rocks weeping. The best was the Emerald Pool trail which led us up the red rocks to a cool, shaded area with a natural wading pool. It was the best, most beautiful hiding place the earth had to offer. More than promised, it delivered. 

Emerald Rock sanctuary
Weeping Rock 
I am a junior ranger - feel free to ask me questions. 
Getting my feet wet in the near-freezing Virgin River - it restores your virginity, it does, really, I mean it! Riparian Virginity Restoration.
Moss under flowing water on a vertical rock. 
These are columbine flowers that grow along and on the rocks. Unfortunate that the name has to remind us of the shootings. 


Anonymous said...

"I was just glad not to be pumped with poison."

that would have sucked

farrahflave said...

gorgeous photos and amusing commentary, bro. hilarious that you pushed chris towards the rattle snake. shows how much you value your friendship. i miss yall!