Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah
Last light on a stormy day in Zion National Park, Utah

Monday, October 26, 2015

Final posting of Zion National Park, Utah

Here I am in the northwestern section of Zion National Park, called Kolob Canyons. Its awesome there, much quieter and just as beautiful. Throughout Zion, the roads are coated with oil and rock chips, made up of local red cinders, which give the roads that rusty red color.
I took the Taylor Creek hike, a 5 mile roundtrip hike along this beautiful creek, up to the Double Arch Alcove. Along the way you have to cross the creek dozens of times in order to reach the alcove. On my way back, I got off trail and ended up walking in the creek, slipping on the rocks, and feeling sorry for myself. Finally an older couple heard my calls and came to my rescue.
Double Arch Alcove is huge, and is filled with hanging gardens that bloom in the spring and summer months. Even though not much was blooming in the alcove, many flowers were still blooming along the trails.
One evening, I was standing in my campsite when I looked up and saw the light touching the white Navaho sandstone just right. I quickly grabbed my camera and ran up the trail and caught the end of the brilliant light show.
I love to investigate the side canyons in the eastern end of the park. There is no official trail, so hardly anyone is ever there. I poke around, take pictures and look for animal tracks. Great fun!
Looking up into sapphire blue sky from one of the little side canyons.
This undulating curves in this canyon are so beautiful that it takes my breath away.
Several days before I was scheduled to return home, I was walking back from the visitor center when it started to rain. Then it started to thunder and hail. The hail was huge and pelted me in the forehead and neck. I took this picture from my shade shelter in the campsite.  I finally ran to my car, lay down in the back and just listened.
 As soon as the storm passed, I hopped in the drivers seat and took off to Canyon Junction. A beautiful rainbow lit up the sky, but was gone by the time I parked. This very long skinny waterfall is leftover from the rainwater rushing over the cliffs.
 I stood on the bridge and was shocked to see how red the water was, and how quickly the gentle river had changed into a raging monster.
I drove up to my favorite creek, and found a huge mass of water rushing over the cliff.
This is quite different from the day before, when the water was gentle enough to jump in, lay down and float.
Another violent outburst broke out during the night, with more rain, hail and thunder. The next day, I went back to the side canyons to see what had happened. In many places the trail had caved in, and the sand along the river banks had dropped into the creek.
Just the week before, my friends Janet and Jamie came with me to this little canyon. At the time it was dry and we were able to walk up the creek bed where we found mountain lion tracks. Scary. Second time I have seen mountain lion tracks in Zion. Even though the water had washed  away his footprints, the lion lives on.
 The sandstone ripples in layers, and looks so pretty when it is wet. More rain came down for the next few days, all the way up to the morning when I left.
 The artist in me loves the color, shape and form of leaves in the fall. So pretty.
 I explore this canyon every time I go to Zion, and have never seen water like this. It was amazing.
 The canyon leads to the backcountry, which goes on and on, way back into the mountains. I found potholes filled with water, lots of volcanic rocks, and endless patterns in the sandstone.
Goodbye to Zion, one of my most favorite places on Gods green earth.
Thank you Lord for the time we had together in that beautiful place.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More of Zion National Park, Utah

After my trip with the Outdoor Adventure Group, I drove into Zion National Park and fortunately found a campsite  within the park. Not easy as the campground usually fills up every day. Knowing that, I arrived  while it was still dark and waited around like a lurking stalker until a guy packed up and drove out of his site. Within seconds I drove into his empty site and set up camp! Thank you Larry for setting up your shade shelter for me!
The Sacred Datura above thrives in my campsite, but that fragile beauty is also deadly.
My sister, Judy, came down to Zion to join me for a few days. Here she is on the Pairus trail, loving every minute of the amazing beauty surrounding us.
The Towers of the Virgin, as viewed from the Pairus Trail, is one of the prettiest trails in Zion National Park.
Faces and formations in the red sandstone.

Autumn is taking her time coming to the canyon. I finally found a few colored leaves and just yesterday saw groves of trees along the river beginning to change color! 
Maidenhair fern and a few red monkey flowers were blooming in the hanging gardens along the Virgin River.
Desert varnish streaks the sandstone cliffs along the creek. The varnish is composed of clay minerals, manganese and iron left behind from water dripping down the cliff.  I have to agree with Vincent, and find that I do find beauty everywhere! "If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere." Vincent Van Gogh
A beautiful reflection of the cliffs in the water remaining in a pothole. My desire is that the Lord would be reflected in my life, and that His love and mercy would be visible to others.

One of my favorite things is rocks, any kind of rocks. Its against the law to remove anything from any National Park, and that includes rocks. So whenever I am in the parks, I touch, caress, talk to, admire and take pictures of the rocks to enjoy when I return home.
Judy and I took a hike up to Echo Canyon where we found lots of rocks, swirling canyon walls, gorgeous scenery, and time to reflect. 
"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are all excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books." John Lubbock  

The power of erosion creates such artistic lines, curves, swirls, and layers.
I like rock cairns, especially this one. I make up stories about who created it and why. Probably some earth loving hippie, or a dedicated artist living on next to nothing.
That would be me, sitting in Echo Canyon, loving life and filled with the joy of being alive.
The Lord our God is the Greatest Artist and Creator, and it is His hand that put the forces of nature into motion. Wow!
Two yellow flowers growing in the rock, surviving on little, blooming for joy, living to their utmost.
Yesterday I went into Springdale, to a park right on the Virgin River. Many families were grilling their lunch, playing in the water and having a peaceful afternoon. I started poking around in the river when two little boys, who were sitting in the water, asked if I was an explorer. I told them yes, that I was exploring for rocks. I showed them how to make the rock cairns in the water, and one of the little boys who was only six years old, started building them. The other dug down into the water  and kept bringing me pretty rocks he thought I would enjoy. I fell in love, with the boys, the river, the whole scene. It made me sad as I walked back to my car and turned around to see the little boys waving at me. These kind of encounters is why I love to travel. So much love, so much life.
Love to you all. Susan Little


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Zion National Park, Utah

About a week ago, I joined a campout with the Outdoor Adventure Group from North Coast Calvary Chapel. We all met up at Zion National Park in Utah. Above are Merle and Larraine at our campground way up the mountain, outside the park.
That first day the weather was perfect and clearly revealed the magnificent beauty in Zion National Park; my home away from home. 
One early morning, five of us hiked up to Angels Landing, that peak you can see jutting into the blue sky. The hike is intense, intimidating, exciting and strenuous. My kind of hike!
Looking up and down Walters Wiggles, a series of 21 steep switchbacks that take you up to the Scouts Lookout, a resting place before the summit push. 

After the last grueling half mile, where we had to grip onto chains, tiptoe over a narrow ledge, and overcome our fear of heights, four out of the five who attempted the hike, made it to the summit. View from the top was spectacular!
Ken took this picture of me at the top of Angels Landing. Thank you Ken!
 Ken at the summit. Great hiking with you Ken!
Me at the summit, a bit worn out and shaky. 
 As we crossed the bridge, I snapped this shot of the Virgin River and surrounding mountains of Zion National Park. So incredibly beautiful.
On a different day, some of our group took the Canyon Overlook Hike located right near the Zion National Park Tunnels.
My friends Janet and Jamie. Love you guys! 
Four of the guys, doing what guys do at the Canyon Overlook.  

 Dave, the leader of the trip and Reyna, sitting at the Canyon Overlook.
And here is Larry, a very nice guy who helped me over and over. Thank you Larry!

The incredible view from the Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park.  As always, pictures can never capture the immense view and the glorious feeling I experience while out in the wild.
Dramatic color and contrast in Zion Canyon.
Love of my life, sanctuary for my soul.
May God bless you and keep you safe! Susan Little

Copyright©2009 Susan Little, thecampingqueen72@yahoo.com. All rights reserved. Use of photos requires written permission.