We crossed over into Utah, and the landscape became a little less sere and more rugged. We were excited to see Zion National Park, which many people had told us was their favorite on the Grand Circle of the West.
As we approached the entrance, we were greeted by a family of bighorn sheep.
The Spring flora was blooming here as it had been further south a few weeks earlier.
To get into Zion, you have to drive through a long tunnel.
The tunnel is lighted by semicircular vents cut into the rock walls; as you pass, you catch a glimpse of the resplendent canyon with its red walls outside.
Once you finally emerge, the scale of the beauty is, again, nearly indescribable. How can one sum up in mere words: the shades of greenery in the vegetation, the deep blue of the wilderness sky, and the rocks streaked in shades from taupe to deep brick red and shaped by air and water in dimensions that create exquisite sculpture and form?
The visitor’s center has a sporting good shop, a restaurant, and a convenience store; literally a stone’s throw away is “town,” which has more restaurants and a pub. Zion is a park that, due to its proximity to Las Vegas and beyond that, California, is being “loved to death.” They do a good job of controlling the crowds so you can have a feeling of being in nature, but there is no denying that it is crowded, even in Spring when we were there; I think it might be disagreeable to visit between Labor Day and Memorial Day,
There are several trails; we elected one of the easiest, the Riverside Walk, because we are old and fat and arthritic. It was two miles of paved trail, but the natural beauty was still remarkable. The scale and amplitude of the stone canyon walls contrasts with the vegetation blossoming and spilling out of cracks and tiny glens along the river below.
We meandered slowly, and so the sun had dropped below the canyon rim on our return. Part of the magic of this country is the way the light changes the landscape into something completely different every few hours.
We made our way back to our camper home, tired but happy. This is what we wanted to see now that we have the time: the splendor of the West for which the US is famous!