National Park Road Trip Part 1: When We Remember Zion

I survived the hike at Zion National Park!

I survived the hike at Zion National Park!

It’s been a helluva time out West, folks. Many people have wondered how on Earth I wound up staying in St. George, Utah for 3 weeks. The logic behind landing in Utah’s far southwest corner was simple: I was itching to explore some of the Western US’s most spectacular National Parks.

More than a decade ago I worked on a project for the Travel Channel, producing a package of National Parks content. This was research-based writing, and pretty straightforward, but I grew desperate to see the spectacular locales surrounding me in photos, books and websites. Visiting Zion and Bryce Canyon, in particular became top bucket list items. And so, I made my way to Utah intent on makin’ my dreams come true (insert Hall & Oates medley here).

And so it began. First up, Zion National Park where I encountered some serious eye candy and got that super-catchy Rivers of Babylon song stuck in my head for a solid 4 hours.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

With that funkadelic soundtrack playing in my head, I traversed one of the more gorgeous landscapes I’ve ever witnessed. Literally every few minutes I’d pause, look around, and say in my faux-exasperated voice, “Oh, well now, isn’t this completely epic — again?” It was as though wonders quite literally wouldn’t cease and I couldn’t drink it up fast enough.

While currently holding the title of Most Unathletic Girl in the World, it was no small feat that I went on a few hikes that involved breathtaking heights, precipitous drops, lack of wide trails or guard rails, and countless giant rocks over which I’d need to scramble. It should be noted at this point that there is no way in god’s green Earth that I’d have been able to do a lot of this without the steady — and patient — helping hand of Ayaz. That man is truly my better (steadier on his feet) half.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

So it was that I scrambled up trails to the Emerald Pools and toward the famed Narrows. While these hikes may come as little effort to the average Joe, to the scared of heights and clumsy, this was a major accomplishment. And oh so very worth the trek. Spectacular gasp-worthy views awaited my every stumble. Stay tuned for the second, grand installment of National Park Road Trips, in which I head into the wilds of Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Capital Reef, a park I never even knew I longed to see.

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