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Friday, November 16, 2012

The Ants Go Marching Through Zion


Dateline:  November 4-5

By the time we had driven a few miles into Zion National Park from the east entrance, I was feeling both awed and very small. The next day, when we hiked and drove through the massive structures, I  kept hearing two songs in my head. The first was the Ants Go Marching, and the other was Marching to Zion. I think Isaac Behunin had similar thoughts when he arrived in the canyon to build his cabin near the present-day lodge and named the area Zion because “A man can worship God among these great cathedrals as well as in any man-made church – this IS Zion.” And I was definitely the ant that prayed to heaven.

 Zion Canyon is seen from  the bottom of a fairly narrow canyon floor,  which contributes to this feeling of being shrunk. And since the main road follows the Virgin River as it winds through the canyon, while the Mt. Carmel road follows Pine Creek Canyon, you are continually assaulted with new massive scenery.  Different mountains have different colors which just adds to your awe. And we toured it at the peak of fall color.  One person told us that two weeks ago, there were only shades of green here. But we had glorious golds, and vibrant reds and some oranges to accent the green of  the trees and the browns, whites, reds and oranges of the rocks. We especially enjoyed the fall color on our hike to all three levels of Emerald Falls. We were often hiking up watersheds where the trees were growing so got close to them and were caught up in their glowing light. 

Mountains to the east of our campsite

Mountains to the west of the campsite

The Three Patriarchs in early morning light




Those tiny green things at the top are junipers


Checkerboard Mountain - The first thing that stops you in your tracks coming from the East Entranc
Oh, the majesty of this place
Imagine the forces needed to twist this sandstone into rock

Lucy admiring the rock face in the hanging gardens area

And the Virgin River runs through it

The colors were amazing

Dunes?  Yes, once apon a time

Virgin River near crossing of the Kenyata trail

Lower Emerald Falls - we saw all three -now want to see this in spring with lots of water flowing

Encircled by mountains

Flat lands are at a premium here

We spent a full day here November 4th and then took over three hours to drive out through the 25 mile long Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.  I think the only time I managed to drive a mile without stopping, was when I drove through the 1.1 mile long tunnel. And one of our stops turned into an impromptu guided hike to see petroglyths. But that is a story for the next blog.

I have more pictures of  Zion as seen from along the roads in Zion Canyon here.

A separate album of our hike to all three levels of Emerald Falls is here.