One of the true gems of the South West is Zion National Park located in Southwestern Utah. Bestowed National Park status in 1919 the park is one of the most unusual and incredible natural landmarks in the world. Jagged peaks, slot canyons and incredible rock formations all presented in a bold mixture of colors render one breathless. Visiting Zion feels like you’ve watched black and white television your whole life and for the first time you are able to see color television. Blues never have seemed so azure, reds are so vibrant they are almost violent in their daring; add the various shades of intrepid green plants growing out of the rock face and you have a truly rare and bold palette. Zion was formed by the water and sedimentation of the Virgin River; the plateaus and rocks jut out proudly creating a home for a diverse ecosystem that includes many different types of plants, birds, mammals and reptiles. There are four different type of geographic regions ensconced within Zion, making the park something you will want to spend days exploring. Zion is a place for contemplation, a place to quiet your soul and connect with nature at its grandest presentation.
Zion is Hebrew for “heaven as the final gathering place for believers.” Sheer rock walls hundreds of feet high, seep water, as if the rocks were crying out. Small secluded pools and grottos whisper secrets of people and times bygone. Every trail is a different experience and to visit Zion is a small taste of heaven on earth.
Visiting Zion demonstrated to me the power of persistence, if water can cut through sheer sandstone and rock and make such monolithic change in the landscape, how much do our daily actions cut through and determine the course of our lives? We are an impatient people, a people who thrive off grandiose displays and immediacy – have we lost the appreciation and understanding of how simple forces shape the courses of our lives? For me, I have spent so many years looking for a grand sign of which direction I should go. I have misunderstood the importance of going with the flow of my soul and recognizing the fact the smaller day-to-day choices is what really determines the course of my life.
I’ve wasted my time looking for a tsunami when really it is the still small stream that is guiding my life. The best part about quitting my job – it’s now been a full week since I’ve been jobless, is that I have more time to listen to that still small voice. To allow the stream to guide me in small days every day. Visiting Zion made me realize the juxtaposition of the big and small victories in my life. The massive, towering achievements, and the small persistent choices I have made in spite of adversity. The sum is the whole of the various parts that make up me and my life, and I am grateful for it all. Now that I am done and off my philosophical rock so to speak, here are some tips on visiting Zion that should make your trip a little more enjoyable.
Tips: There are many different trails of varying degrees of difficulties making it attractive to the most novice of explorers to the most advanced. Bring sturdy hiking boots, plenty of water and a sense of adventure and let the park guide you. The park hosts over 2 million people yearly, be aware of the peak tourist season as the park can be full at times. Do your research ahead of time by visiting http://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm.
Lastly, there is no more beautiful an artist than nature.
“But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition – and, therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives: `to sense our of pity and beauty, and pain.” ~ Joseph Conrad