Sunday, September 12, 2010

Zion National Park, Utah

The Watchman

Long before entering park grounds, we drove through a countryside of sandstone mesas and towering cliffs of incredible colors. I was thinking that we were inside Zion National Park until we passed through the south gate and parked our car at the Visitor Center. The soaring cliffs in the photo above was our welcome committee.

View from the Temple of Sinawava

It was late afternoon, the heat had dissipated and most of the tourists had left for the day. We took the shuttle that goes around the park and stops at several places along the way to drop off and pick up passengers. It takes about 80 minutes roundtrip from the Visitor Center to the Temple of Sinawava which is the last stop before it returns to point of origin. I got off at Sinawava to gape at towering monoliths and get a full view of the clifftops which is a stretch to see from the windows of the shuttle. It would be a great idea to have glass roofs for these shuttles to better see the corridor of sandstone cliffs along the way.

View from Big Bend

At Big Bend I was awed by the almost circular ampitheater of sandstone walls. Behind some of these red cliffs are white cliffs and some cliffs are favorite hang-outs of rock climbers (that is when they don't make it to the top before dark, they will hang from a hammock along the surface of the rock to rest until daylight).

Scaling the Wall

The Court of the Patriarchs is presided by (from left to right) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I was alone for all of 5 minutes enjoying the stillness and serenity of the Court and watching late afternoon light wash over the three prophets.  It was a magical if brief interlude.

Court of the Patriarchs

At the end of the day, we sat in the parking lot and ate our leftovers from lunch. We were again surrounded by this spectacular view of age old cliffs which were formed over millions of years and continues to evolve today. Zion National Park really lives up to its name which is a Hebrew word meaning "place of refuge".  You can't help but feel that this is God's country.

to the Pa'rus Trail

To see Zion properly, spend at least a couple of days and go on the trails. There are trails for varying skill levels. And there are Ranger led walks you can sign up for. 

For more information about Zion National Park, go to http://www.zionnational-park.com/ or www.nps.com/zion.

For directions to the park, see map below.


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Images by Charie

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