Free Entrance Into Magnificent Zion? Yes, Please.

I’ve traveled about and visited National Parks all over this great country, but I’ve yet to find a place that captures my spirit quite like Zion National Park. From the breathtaking scenery as you drive into the charming town of Springdale to the magnificent views at the summit of Observation Point, nearly every sight is stunning throughout all four seasons. You can safely bet I’ll try to get anyone within earshot to take advantage of the National Park Service Free Days this year and visit this Southwest jewel or any other National Park close to you, for that matter.

 

I first visited Zion when I moved from Iowa to St. George, UT twenty years ago, and I still have yet to hit every trail in the park, such as canyoneering through The Subway and Mystery Canyon or backpacking overnight on the West Rim Trail. My first experience was in the Zion Canyon area, where I would snap photo after grainy photo on ancient 35mm or disposable cameras, hundreds of photos tucked neatly into boxes in my bedroom closet.

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Me and Zion, ages ago

The beauty of Zion is that it’s truly a park for everyone of all ages and shapes and sizes. I started my son on the Emerald Pools trails when he was four years old and sporting his CatDog trucker cap and kid fanny pack, and now I take my daughter along with me. Whether we wander down the easy, paved Pa’rus Trail and the Riverside Walk to the canyons of the Narrows or test her limits and hit the Upper Emerald Pool and Kayenta Trails, there is always something for the little ones to do. Plus, from the spring through the fall there is a shuttle system that takes you throughout the Zion Canyon. No trying to find parking spaces at each trailhead. Word to the wise: arrive early to find a parking space near the Visitor’s Center. This is one busy park.

For those more conditioned (and not afraid of heights), the views from Angel’s Landing and Observation Point are spectacular. Pack snacks and fill your water bottles at the free water filling stations in the park, then hit the canyons. Be sure to take a picture of the switchback system named Walter’s Wiggles as you make your way up to Angel’s Landing.

I could go on for hours about the activities available within the park. Biking, climbing, backpacking, canyoneering, river trips, wilderness hikes down the Narrows (which is phenomenal), Ranger-led activities for kids and adults, the list goes on. Instead, I’ll keep this short and sweet and leave you with some my pictures through different seasons in Zion.

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Go grab your gear, stuff it into your backpack, and get outside! While you’re at it, check out Cotopaxi, an outdoor company doing good for people and our environment

 

 

Week 1: Fail. Kind of.

First week of the year down. Let’s see how I’m doing on my goals because there’s nothing like sharing your failures with the world to hold yourself accountable.

1) Writing: I didn’t write as much as I planned, *however* I am writing every day. Still plotting a bit as well. Something is better than nothing. Or so I’ve heard. I started to revise “Deacon” and stopped because I couldn’t see the pages through my tears. It’s pretty bad.

Just kidding. It’s horrendous.

2) Health: I’ve been adjusting my eating habits over the past few weeks, so this past week was cake. And by cake, I mean easy. I didn’t eat cake. I did eat some chocolate. But that shit’s good for you, right? My workouts weren’t spot on, but I did walk 4x (plus being on my feet constantly at work) and nailed 1 strength session. Baby steps, because baby steps still burn calories. Meditation: good.

3) I don’t really have a third right now, aside from don’t lose my marbles at my new job. And I didn’t, so I suppose I succeeded there. Yay, me!

I did realize that I might have set my expectations for myself too high this past week. This is going to be an adjustment and I need to cut myself a wee bit of slack for another week or two until my mind/body is used to this sort of nonstop clinic action again. I altered my goals for the next two weeks, which doesn’t mess up my quarterly or yearly goals, so I’m good.

It’s all good, people.

Except Henry died yesterday.

 

Peace out, our happy, friendly, weird little fish. We’ll miss you.

Did you already fail at some of your goals/resolutions for the New Year as well? (Please say yes so I don’t feel alone. So, so alone…)