Marching To ZionWell, Driving Through Zion, anyway.
More photos from our trip. Zion has become my favorite Western National Park. We spent a day there a couple of summers ago and I was completely enchanted by it. You drive along through this red rock country, and then all of a sudden you start following this green strip along the Virgin River into this beautiful valley filled with dramatic rock formations. You can't drive into Zion proper during the summer; you have to park and take a bus to the park, and then another bus through the park. I heartily approve. It really lets you have that feeling of being at an oasis. Although the park is packed, it's much more peaceful than the Grand Canyon. Without their cars, people are fairly civil to each other.
This time we weren't stopping, merely driving through on the eastern edge on our way from St. George to Flagstaff. Warning--it costs $20 to drive through. But you get to pass through all sorts of fabulous scenery
and a very cool set of tunnels
One of the highlights is a mountain named Checkerboard Mesa. There was a big sign at this pullout explaining the geological causes of the checkerboard effect, but I can't remember what they are.
We drove on through Grand Staircase-Escalante, which is still quite undeveloped (glad we didn't have our flat there) and over into Arizona at Lake Powell. I have such mixed feelings about Lake Powell--I'm pretty sure it's a bad environmental decision, but it's quite stunning, seeing the blue water against the red rock. The tourist center at the dam is under much, much tighter security than it was when I passed through on a trip with campus ministry back in the mid-90s--a sad reflection of the times. But I also remember that trip to Lake Powell because it was there that I had a funny little spiritual experience that finally pushed me over the edge into admitting maybe, just maybe, I should explore this whole vocation to the priesthood thing. Maybe.
If you had told me then that on my next trip through the area I would be a priest and married to a priest I would have laughed in your face. Never underestimate the Divine's sense of humor.