A road trip idea usually blossoms under the smallest of circumstances. One of my best friends was about to get married in Colorado this fall. Naturally I said, who wants to fly out to Colorado when you can drive? And when you drive from Colorado to San Francisco, obviously, stops must be made, destinations must be added until what could have been a weekend sojourn to and from the coast turned into a three week, two wedding, three national parks, eight state and one festival extravaaaaaaganzaaaa. The next few posts chronicle this epic adventure with my main man as we explore some of the most beautiful scenery the USA has to offer.
This post features our Zion National Park excursion. I can tell you now that the southwest is one of my favorite parts of the USA. The stark desert scenary, the multi-colored rocks that are set ablaze at sunset, and the vastness of these empty stretches of land where pockets of human existence show just how tenacious our species can be. Driving into the park you go through a variety of scenary from plains, to plateaus to full on rock walls. Deep blue skies paired against red and blonde sand stone rocks; the shutter did not stop clicking.
We found when going to Zion there are so many little hotels and places to stay it can seem a bit overwhelming, but we were on a car camping mission and booked a spot a month in advance at the only car-camping tent lot in Zion called the Watchman Campground. It is a beautiful spot to camp, make a fire, eat some smores and watch the stars come out and play. Oh the stars in Zion, the best we saw on our entire road trip. The milky way rose just over a jagged rock formation just after sunset, such a treat.
The next morning I convinced my boyfriend to get up before sunrise so we could complete a hike recommended to us called Angels Landing. Even though it was too early for words, we headed into the canyon. The hike began at the bottom of the canyon with a bridge crossing a river. Next a short but steep switch back loaded ascent takes you to a plateau. It also gives you an amazing appreciation for your legs and the impossible places they can carry you. Then you have a .5 mile scramble up a huge rock mound that drops off into the canyon on either side to reach Angels Landing. It is certainly not for those who are afraid of heights or faint of heart, but once you reach that spot… well it’s humbling. There is no better feeling to stand atop a canyon and feel so small and so large at the same time.
Unfortunately we missed the sunrise due to the confusion that you can’t drive anywhere in Zion, you have to take a shuttle, but we were still able to miss most of the crowds due to our early morning departure. We sat on top of the canyon, took in the morning light, made friends with a few chipmunks and then we had to depart for Colorado – we had a wedding to attend after all. It was a short and sweet foray into Zion but that magical place has found its way into my heart and I’m already planning a return…