And now, to our last Mountains and Valleys feature, one of the great ones, Zion Canyon, the heart of Zion National Park. I had the privilege of visiting Zion just this month (while my first week of posts were on auto-pilot!), not for the first time and I hope not for the last time.
Some basic info:
Zion Canyon was carved by the Virgin River. But the history of this desert canyon is water all the way back. The spectacular red cliffs are sandstone--laid down by an ancient sea. The canyon bottom is around 4000', with cliffs of 2000' or more leading up. And at the head of Zion Canyon, you enter the Virgin River Narrows, a slot canyon where you can see on any day the power of water--and a reminded to stay out of there when thunderstorms are in the region!
The park is located about 40 miles east of St. George, Utah, and was named by early Mormon pioneers. If it had been Norwegians, it would be Valhalla Canyon, because it's just that sort of place--it makes you figure it must be the home of the gods.
Without further ado, because a picture is worth a thousand words:
|Overlooking Zion Canyon from the West Rim area (off Kolob Terrace Road).|
|Zion Canyon from the Observation Point trail.|
|Zion Trails are often not for the faint of heart. This is one of the more unnerving parts of the famous Angels Landing Trail.|
|One of the most beautiful things in the world is a cottonwood in leaf against the red canyons of the Colorado Plateau (the Utah canyon country). A ray of light hit just as we entered the Virgin River Narrows.|
|Hiking the Narrows. The water is very cold feeling in the morning, and deliciously cool by noon on a June day! You can see why you don't want to be here during a flash flood.|
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2015