Zion National Park
Apr. 18-21, 2004
Zion is an ancient Hebrew word, originally used to describe a dry rock place of holy sanctuary in ancient Israel. The towering cliffs and deep canyons of Zion National Park give dramatic testament to the twin forces of uplift and erosion. Someone said Zion Canyon is "Yosemite Valley in Technicolor", but there are many differerences between them. Both are deep, steep-walled canyons, but Yosemite was carved by glaciers, and Zion is the result of millions of years of erosion by Virgin River cutting through two-thousand feet of an ancient layered sea bed. But there is at least one thing in common: both parks are worth visiting again and again.
From Bryce Canyon to Zion was a pleasure 90-mile drive. Unfortunately we forgot to give Linus some car-sickness medicine, and Linus felt sick when we entered Zion boundary and finally threw up at Checkboard Mesa.
When we got to the canyon valley, everyone agreed to come with me for sunset (we had the permit to drive to Zion Canyon Scenic Drive because we will stay in the Zion Lodge for the next few days). We stopped at the bridge across Virgin River on the Scenic Drive. However, I missed the best light because I was running under the bridge to search for a good spot.
|I drove to a bridge across Pine Creek on
Zion-Mount Carmel Highway (recommended by Robert
America Newsletter). However, it was cloudy
and nothing really happened ( I stayed in the car
most of the time because there were too many
After I went back to the hotel room, Linus was already awake and made some noise. I took him to walk along the Virgin River on the lower Emerald Pool Trail which is just across the Zion Lodge.
|Canyon Overlook Trail is on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, just east of the 1-mile long tunnel, and ends with a spectacular view of lower Zion Canyon. There are a few steep dropoffs along the trail and we had to watch our steps carefully sometimes. At the end of the trail, there is an area with some rocks and sand for Linus and Iris to play. Linus liked this trail so much that he wanted to walk again when we were back to the trailhead.|
When we drove back to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, we saw many wild turkeys along the way.
|I took Linus with me to Zion Museum again for the sunrise. I tried not to use graduated neutral density filter today to get a more contrasty effect of sunlight and shadow. Linus liked to look through the view finder and also liked to frame a few shots. He remembered all the names of the mountains displayed on the illustration board, and kept refreshing my memory all day.|
|We took the shuttle bus to the Temple of Sinawava at the end of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in the morning after checking out from the Zion Lodge. Riverside Walk is an easy trail (2-mile rounf trip) that follows the Virgin River upstream from the Temple of Sinawava to Zion Canyon Narrows. It is defintely the most popular trail in the park with a lot of visitors becuase of its accessibilty. But only a few tried to walk further into the Narrows.|
We walked to a beach along the river side and stayed there to play for a while. The sun rose high up to the sky and the light began to shine into the canyon. We can see the sun light move fast across the river.
After lunch (pizza + chicken salad + chicken curry) at the Zion Lodge, it's time to go home. It's about 2.5 hour driving back to Las Vegas. We stopped at a McDonald's at Hurrican because we saw it has a very big playground. We arrived at Las Vegas early although there was some traffic on the highway I-15 in downtown area. We had a fast dinner at Burger King in the airport (I think we had the same thing last year when we visited Grand Canyon). We were all amazed by Utah's unique and magnificent canyon worlds. Linus and I have been talking about our next dream destination, Arches, even before we left the Utah Boundary.
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