Monday, October 31, 2011

On to the the next National Park...

"Our National Parks do not belong to one state or one section....they are national properties, in which every citizen has a vested interest. A visit inspires a love of country, begets contentment, and contains the antidote for national restlessness....He is a better citizen, with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the National Parks."  Stephen Mather  NPS Director 1917-1929

 The next park we visited on our NP loop was Zion canyon.

It is incredibly amazing how much each canyon is completely different from the others. Zion Canyon has the Virgin River running through the bottom, and carving out the massive stones. The colors here are so very strong, vibrant and beautiful.

The entrance into the canyon runs through an amazing mile-long tunnel, that was carved out of this huge mountain of rock. The builders thoughtfully included small openings in the tunnel wall for 'viewpoints' out on the incredible scenery. In the photo above, look above the parked car and you will see one of those openings in the tunnel. Imagine the tunnel at that level running through those rocks, and what a feat that was. The sheer size in overwhelming and awe-inspiring.
This canyon is in Utah, and so the formations have very biblical names, thanks to our Mormon neighbors, including the name of the canyon itself. The above photo shows the '3 Patriarchs', and the one below the 'Great White Throne'. Appropriate, wouldn't you say? 
In this canyon we did a lot of walking at the bottom, instead of along the rim like at the Grand Canyon. We took a 2 mile hike along the Virgin River to the spot below. At this point the trail crosses the river and keeps on going. You can see people doing just that, however it was at this point that we stopped for a rest and turned and headed back. Each canyon boasts that it has the most beautiful hike in the world, and while you are on it I think you agree with each one. This was so very beautiful, and I'm so glad I live in an era of cameras, so that we could bring home our photos to remember this place.
 This is some of what it looked like on our way back up the trail. It was the perfect time of day, for shadows and light (late afternoon) and for pure enjoyment. (Do click on the bottom photo, for the beauty of what we saw, and you can see the train we were walking on.)

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