Have you been eager for this post to come out? Ya? Yeah, me too...I've been dying to share these photos with you. So, without further blabbering, here it goes.
Zion, there's a reason they named the park after the Hebrew word for heaven. It's hard to describe what you feel when you enter the park, there's indeed something majestic about it. We drove the parkway near sundown for a quick view before we turned around to find a camp spot outside the park. When you first see the massive slabs of vertical rock it's hard to believe what you're looking at. 'Is this real life?' 'Am I seeing this right?' are common questions I'd imagine go through peoples heads. Then realization strikes and your mind begins to process the scale of the red rock cliffs. 'Wooooooooow' are the next thoughts, 'those are REALLY big.' Unfortunately, despite the confidence that people put in my photographic abilities, pictures just don't do this place justice and even my photos fall short by a long shots, you have to go there and see it with your own eyes.
Our first day in Zion started out with me driving to Springdale from St. George and waiting for Alison to catch up on her bike. On the way there, out of curiosity, I drove up some random off shoot roads. One in particular, Dalton Wash Rd, proved to have some good prospects for camping, so I made note of that, took some pictures and moved along. I made it into Springdale and sat down in wait for the wifey.
After Alison's arrival in Springdale we packed up her things and hit the road to catch a glimpse of Zion before dark. We drove out to the turn around in the park, craning our necks the whole way. As a side note, if you have any preexisting neck issues before you enter the park, go rent a convertible. Not having a roof to look around is by far your preferable viewing option while traveling through Zion, as I stated earlier, vertical walls and they're thousands of feet tall. As we drove towards the exit of the park we rounded a corner and there driving towards us was a wall of pretty lights. I immediately knew that I was looking at another overlander. As we approached I began to make out the lines of a large bumper (aka Moose Catcher), then the grill of a dodge ram, then...oh wait, is that an XP Camper?!?! If you've never seen an XP camper take 5 and check out this link, (http://xpcamper.com/). I had never seen one up close before, but the fact that it was mounted on the back of a dodge ram made me think immediately that it was Song of the Road (http://songoftheroad.com/) passing us. Well, an opportunity not taken is an opportunity wasted, so as quick as I could I swung a u-turn and made pursuit of the fancy XP Camper.
We caught up to the camper at the end of the parkway and soon after I was chatting with Marian and Gary Miller, a wonderful couple from Oakdale, California. Marian had just been saying to Gary that it would be nice to camp with someone also traveling and I had been hoping to find fellow overlanders to spend the evening visiting with...so it was basically a match made in heaven...or Zion. (aha! see what I did there?) I told M&G about the Dalton Wash Rd and we decided to meet there. Alison and I made our way back into Springdale to do some laundry (my first time in a laundromat. Life lessons, am I right?), and make dinner on the side of the road in Casper. PS: Having your living space with you at all times makes a lot of things way easier, preparing dinner for instance.
After dinner and laundry we caught up with M&G along Dalton Wash Rd and spent the remainder of the night chatting, swapping stories, travel plans and cool locations to go visit. Meeting and visiting with our new friends was such a blessing in so many ways. It warms my heart when I can spend an evening with people just because we have similar interests and then leave as friends. Marian and Gary shared their home, their food and best of all...their shower. Marian & Gary, when you read this, thank you for your hospitality, generosity and kindness, we look forward to spending more time with you both!
The next morning we woke and packed up slowly, said our farewells then moved on to explore Zion a little more. This is where things get real good. I've said plenty already, so I'm just going to leave you with the pictures. Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah, USA...go do it!
Zion National Park is definitely a place I will return to. There are a number of large hikes which I intend to do. Zion is a place that you can't just go in and out of in a day, you have to spend a week or more to soak it in a thorough amount. There is so much more to the park as well, if you leave on hwy 89 there is a few miles of slick rock mountain on the East side of the valley which is a massive playground for the adventure seeker. So, if you plan to go, plan at least two days if not more.
Over and out.