Trip Report: Zion NP

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The desert throws into stark relief how important water is in our lives, and exactly how powerful it can be over the course of thousands of years. 

I had the opportunity to go to Zion NP for 4 days this past month. Zion is my favorite national park in Utah, this was my second year going down for the fall colors.

Wednesday started out with the 4 hour drive down to the canyon. I was reminded that I am pretty lucky to live so close to places like this. After setting up camp I decided to explore for a while and see what I could find. I contemplated shooting the bridge scene at sunset, but couldn’t force myself to stand in line with 20 other photographers shooting the exact same thing. I had a nice drive up the canyon road and through the tunnel. This section of the park was very pretty but I didn’t find anything to shoot for sunset.

The following morning after a long sleepless night Preston and I went into the narrows. We missed the glows, and I came away with only 2 shots showing some very faint glowing light within the canyon. A stark contrast from the year before when I seemed to hit every spot at the perfect time. I’m not sure what happened this year. It was still an enjoyable experience, I love walking through that river with the towering sandstone walls around me.

The next day we headed up the Kolob Terrace road to start our hike into the Left Fork of North Creek, or the Subway. I am not a canyon guy so heading in from the top was out of the question. Luckily most of the nice stuff can be seen by hiking in from the bottom. I had heard some pretty terrible things about this trail, but took most of what I read on line with a grain of salt. The good news is it isn’t as bad as most people say it is. The bad news is it is still a bit rough with a very steep decent into the canyon, and then 3 miles of climbing over trees and boulders. Most trail guides claim it is 3.5 miles, my GPS showed 4.9. I don’t know if its really that much longer or if its the insane amount of river crossings and obstacles you have to climb over that adds the extra mileage.

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When you hit these cascades you know you are almost there.

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The goods at the end more than made up for any pain experienced on the hike. I am not completely  happy with this shot, I may just have to make a return trip to try again. 

We had the place to ourselves for a few hours, a nice refreshing change from the thousands of people you encounter while in the narrows. On the way out we tried to stick to walking in the river whenever possible, this made the going much faster and enjoyable. The next day we headed into the narrows again. On the first day we were too early for the light, on this day we were too late for the light, it was a bit frustrating not hitting anything at the right time again, though I did get one image that I am pretty happy with. I suppose I will just have to return again.

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The only shot I came away with from the narrows that I was happy with. I will just have to come back. 

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