Back in the early spring, my wife and I decided to go on a vacation… without the kids. Sort of a 13th wedding anniversary present to ourselves. There was much debate on where to go within our budget. Everywhere from Europe to the Caribbean was on the table. We wanted to go somewhere and actually do something instead of sitting on a beach and we both really enjoy hiking, although we seem to struggle with getting out much these days. I watch a lot of YouTube videos of photographers exploring the American southwest, so almost as a joke, I suggested that we go to Utah, never expecting it to gain any traction. I was shocked went the idea wasn’t shot down. We started talking about going to northern Utah and Wyoming to check out both the salt flats and hiking in the Tetons, but it was southern Utah that really peaked our interest. The original plan was to fly into Salt Lake City and drive a rental car down to Las Vegas, stopping along the way, but the cost of doing that was a bit prohibitive. In the end we decided the cheapest option would be to fly into Las Vegas and rent a car for the week.
With the kids safely under the watch of grandparents and aunts, we headed to the airport in the early morning of September 18th and landed in Vegas around lunch. One thing we weren’t really prepared for was the heat… the dry heat. It was hot… damn hot. The wind was even hot, but on the bright side, we weren’t sweating. Our first stop was to the grocery store to grab some lunch, snacks and water… lots of water. From Vegas it was a 2.5 hour drive to Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah.
With the time change, we arrived around 5pm, and after checking into the hotel, we headed to the park visitor centre to get some information to plan the next couple days. We did a short little hike around the visitors centre before retiring at the Zion Brewery for dinner. It was an early night as we expected to get an early start to the day.
Due to the time change, we were up before the sun. After grabbing our breakfast from the hotel restaurant, we grabbed the free shuttles into the park and made our way to the Riverside Walk and The Narrows trail. The latter being a challenging hike up the waters of the Virgin River between close-set canyon walls. Most of the trail is actually in the river and we found travelling upstream to be more difficult. We had brought hiking poles and an extra pair of shoes from home for the sole purpose of this hike. It was awesome. There are no words or pictures that can describe this place. We didn’t really speak much throughout this hike as we were both completely awestruck. After exploring The Narrows for a couple hours we made our way back to the Zion Lodge where we went on a short hike on the Emerald Pools Trail which was partially closed to to rock slides earlier in the season. By the time we reached the end of the trail it was about 3pm and we both just wanted to put our feet up and relax for a bit. We ended up going out for a pizza dinner before heading back into Zion Lodge to watch a presentation on how natural disasters shape the park, which was quite interesting.
The next morning was our last in Zion before moving on. We woke up a bit later and following breakfast, we packed our car and drove to the east side of the park. After traversing a number of switchbacks and a long tunnel, we hiked the Canyon Overlook trail. This trail was pretty awesome with it’s steep drop-offs and epic views. We drove a bit further up the road and parked the car and walked towards the Pine Creek Wash when we came across a herd… or a group… or a gathering of big horn sheep blocking the trail. I think we counted 15 or so just munching on grass and doing what big horn sheep do I guess. We watched them for a bit before they moved along and allowed us to sneak by. We were the only ones in the wash which made Stephanie feel a little uneasy, so after a couple photos, we headed back to the car. We stopped once more at the Checkerboard Mesa (last photo) for a couple quick snaps before making our way out of the park and on our way to Capitol Reef National Park.
Going to keep these blog posts separated by place, so this is 1 of 4 for this trip. this is just a small selection of photos I took at Zion. Now for the nerd stuff. Photos were taken on a combination of my iPhone, Voigtlander Bessa R3M and a roll of AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 and a Yashica MAT-124 with mostly Kodak Ektar 100 or a roll of Kodak TMax 100.