Zion National Park

Along Highway 9. Zion National Park, UT ©David Gardner

After Coral Pink, we moved on a short distance to Zion National Park. We had pretty much stopped coming to this park in the last 15 years or so because of how crowed the place gets. I hoped that coming this late in the fall, things would be quieter. and in fact it was. Still lots of people and cars, but the campgrounds were not impossible to get into, and the scenic drive road was also open to cars and not restricted to shuttles only. Shuttles or OK for just getting around, but if you want to be able to stop and go, and move around where and when you want, and do it quickly, driving is really the only way. When photographing, this is what I need to do. We spent three days here hiking and doing a drive or two.

Sandstone Layers. Zion National Park, UT ©David Gardner 2009

Because we were driving the motorhome and towing the Rav4, we couldn’t really stop along the road on the way into the park. It’s steep and fairly narrow windy road which, due to it’s small proportions, actually requires special permission to travel through one of the two tunnels. So the next day, we retraced our route back up the hill in order to hike and photograph the red rock cliffs.

Canyon Color. Zion National Park, UT ©David Gardner

I had forgotten how wonderful this place is. There was still quite a lot of fall color in the valley areas, and with the weather in the mid 70’s, it was a pleasure just strolling around. I didn’t really have an agenda for photographing here, so it was just a look and see kind of experience. Sort of getting reacquainted with what there was to experience. Again my “going home” mindset got in the way here and even though I could have easily stayed longer, my urge to get going was strong.

Sandstone Benches. Zion National Park, UT ©David Gardner 2009

Checkerboard Mesa. Zion National Park, UT ©David Gardner 2009

Pine and Sandstone. Zion National Park, UT ©David Gardner 2009

We finished up our stay with a brief hike on the narrows trail. This paved trail is actually quite nice – to a point. It is very easy to hike and slowly meanders up the canyon of the Virgin River. The canyon narrows as it progresses, eventually to where wading is the only way to negotiate beyond a certain point. This requires specialized equipment and hiking skill, so we decided to only hike to the take off point. We were a little late in getting started and the sun was already out of the canyon. A little disappointing because with light bouncing off the steep canyon walls, some really wonderful photographs can be made. Next stop is San Francisco.

Virgin River. Zion National Park, UT ©David Gardner 2009

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