Escaping La Niña

DAY 1. ZION NATIONAL PARK.

Fullscreen image gallery here

Tara and I have recently returned from an effort to escape the cold and moist weather that has plagued us in the PNW since October last year.  We decided to make a plan to try and see some of the most incredible geological formations that can be found in the US.

The sun and warm temperatures were a welcome reprieve from what had been the most significant winter in a long time. Going 11 straight days without a rain jacket was incredibly rejuvenating, and the almost mythical scenery was a pure delight to pair with it.

We picked up a car after flying in to Las Vegas and then headed out on a 2,500km road trip around Southern Utah and Northern Arizona to hit 5 National parks and a couple of sacred Navajo territories.

Our first stop was possibly going to be one of the highlights of the trip, up there with the Grand Canyon and The Needles area at Canyonlands. Zion National Park is close to being in a league of it’s own with it’s towering peaks, seemingly endless sheer cliff walls of all shades of red through yellow and marvellous canyons.  With names for the numerous features like the “Court of the Patriarchs”, “Cathedral Mountain” and “The Watchman”, it really was an astonishment in every direction.

When we arrived late the first evening at our moonlit creekside campsite, the winds were howling so we decided to skip a windy and dusty tent setup attempt & try and sleep in our cozy little Prius. It actually went better than I thought. At 6 foot something, sleeping in cars has never usually been a comfortable experience for me!

We rose early-ish and headed for the park gate. Packs and snacks ready, we grabbed one of the frequent park shuttle busses from the visitors centre and headed for the weeping rock stop where we would find the Observation Point trailhead. We would climb slowly up Echo canyon until we stood atop of the massive peaks in the park, looking down on the valley far below and the ever popular & somewhat nerve-wracking Angels Landing hiking route which I did the first time I visited about ten years ago. Wow. Ten years.

The stunning landscapes, patterns, colours and formations continuously astounded us, and it was great for capturing memories with a camera. The scroll down beyond here is a collection of images from the hike and around the park. Tomorrow we head for Bryce Canyon which is also a feature laiden area for a photographers lens.

There are more photographs of the patterns, colours and textures we found at Zion in a gallery where the images can be viewed in full screen. Simply click here.

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Tara finds the Vitamin D stream in Echo Canyon
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Colours, patterns, textures tell the story of eons
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Enormous cliff walls of gorgeous colour tower above the trail
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Spring wildflowers somehow grow from the cracks in the rocks
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Slowly ascending, view intake breaks were abundant
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More colours and patterns, in the shadows lurked the deepest and richest colours
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Angels Landing across the valley from our position
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Now finally looking down on our route, you can see the snake-like canyon that cuts through the rock and the huge walls that once towered over us.
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The vista Southward down through the park valley from over 2000 metres above sea level. We could see hikers crossing the narrow spine out to the summit of Angels Landing.
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Momentary patches of sunlight sneaking through gaps in the huge cliffs above us create mesmerising sights
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A natural, delicate archway high above the valley and out of reach of human interference.
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Tara catching a snooze after a long day on our feet. You can see the archway from the previous image in the top-right here.
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It was a fantastic day exploring Zion National Park. Very excited for the next day in Bryce Canyon.

If you enjoyed these images, feel free to follow along for the next 10 days of the journey and browse the other features found here on the blog or visit my site tristanrayner.com

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