We arrived to Zion National Park on Wednesday, July 29th, excited for the last part of our trip and for all we would see. I think it's safe to say we both were most looking forward to Zion - we just knew it would be spectacular.
Just driving into Zion proved to be pretty spectacular. One side of the canyon is so wildly different than the other - and we just so happened to drive in on that side. The terrain was unlike anything either of us have ever seen. We knew right away that before we left, we had to revisit this unique side of the canyon.
Getting to the "heart" of Zion meant driving 1.1 miles through a boulder. Yes. I get slight claustrophobia at times, and this tunnel...at the base of a gigantic boulder...that was pitch black, no lights whatsoever minus a couple "windows" that were blasted out of the boulder - and which was an entire 1.1 miles long...OH and they only allowed one line of traffic through at a time..... - YES. This brought my claustrophobia ALIVE. Haaaa.
We checked into our Bed & Breakfast and decided to take on a lazy hike called Riverside Walk.
The second day we had done our homework and knew which hikes we wanted to do, for sure. Zion is crowded and popular, with limited parking, so pretty much every hike must be accessed by parking at the visitor's center or in "town" and taking a bus to each hike trail head. Not my favorite part of the trip - I'm much more of a go on our own way type of person. But that first early morning hike meant a bus ride, so off we went.
The bus dropped us at the start of The Grotto Trail. Which we took and connected to Kayenta Trail, and then onward to the Lower Emerald Pool Trail! It sounds like a lot, but this combination of trails wasn't brutal, even though at this point, I was pretty exhausted from hiking every single day!
See the other hikers on the left frame?!
On this afternoon, we did what we (mostly me!) had been crazy eager to go and do. I just had to survive that scary as heck tunnel again first. We spent the whole afternoon exploring the other side of the canyon!! Remember?! I said it was suchhh a different terrain?! JUST WAIT for this next set of pictures. The following are hands down my favorite shots that I took on the entire trip. ENTIRE TRIP.
I. was. DYING. I mean, howww can this be real life?!?
Not only was the terrain just out-of-this-world INCREDIBLE - but to make it even more amazing, it was JUST US out there. All we did was drive, pull over, hike. Drive, pull over and hike! Parking wasn't always easy, but we managed. And the reward? Well, I mean. Just look at it! Each place we stopped at was completely deserted. We got out of our rental car and just walked, climbed, and stared in complete awe. There were no trails to follow, no paths to take - it was all ours for the creating! I could have spent an entire day doing this! AHH!!
Just look at this place. I can't. I CANT EVEN.
Ughhhh just uploading those images to my blog makes me sooo nostalgic.
This was the one and only day that we stopped hiking before dusk, and I think I needed it. Not really because of exhaustion, though I was spent. I think I needed to because I needed to let this experience soak in. I needed to be still, and let the moments of that idyllic day set up permanent camp in my memory bank.
This of course wasn't it, we did carry on a third and final day in Zion.. We had been told that the Canyon Overlook Trail was pretty breath-taking, and honestly, we were sold on the name alone! The morning of our last day, we made this trail our starting point. Hands down, this hike, and everything about it, was another one of our absolute favorite parts of the whole entire trip!
Getting to our destination meant this... and this was AWESOME.
WE REACHED THE TOP!
Gotta get at least one shadow shot :)
Did I mention EVERY place we went, Wes just had to find something to climb?! ;)
The afternoon of our last day was a hike Wes was super pumped about.... Me on the other hand, maybe not so much. Ya see, I really don't like water.
The Narrows - One of Zion's most popular hikes, takes you through The Virgin River - literally. You can hike up to 16 miles, or can go as far out as you want, and come back. Just getting me into the water was a little bit of a feat..
To some, it probably doesn't look deep at all, and it really wasn't I suppose...But there were parts it got above my knees (I'm a short girl and all) and just above my knees means I can't breathe (insert fake, nervous laugh).
In all seriousness - We had to go to the visitor's center multiple times to check the "flash flood threat", - because if you're in The Narrows and a flash flood hits, that's it for ya. It's a no joke kind of place.
Most people were just on foot, stumbling their way across the river rocks; however, our B&B innkeepers gave us ski poles to help with balance. Thank you smart innkeepers.
Oh, and thank you stranger lady whom we asked to take our photo in the river - and who we thought for sure was going to drop my iPhone in the water. :-|
That's it, folks. Utah vacation is all wrapped up. This place far exceeded our expectations. We knew it would be incredible - but it was even more than that. Unworldly incredible, or something.
It seems fitting to wrap these posts up with a random photo Wes took of me one evening in Zion. We spent about 15 mins playing around the river by a campsite, just before going to dinner. My shirt says it all.