Where Angels Dwell: Zion National Park

IMG_2056I am speaking today at the Utah Bar Association conference in St. George, Utah. The close proximity to one of my favorite places on Earth, Zion National Park. Yesterday, I drove from Bryce National Park in the snow to hiking in shorts and a tee-shirt in Zion National Park. Few states have such an amazing climate change within just a couple of hours by car. I went from snow showers in Bryce in the morning to 70 degrees in Zion. I had the opportunity to drive through Dixie National Park, which was a bit daunting with the snow flurries but absolutely gorgeous. I then made it to Zion to climb Angel’s Landing and three other trails.

IMG_1977Angel’s Landing was a great hike (this picture is about half way up) but the final stretch is rather terrifying if you are not thrilled by the thought of scrambling up the side of one of the highest mountains with minimal support. Upon reaching the summit after a steep hike, I stopped the final push to Angel’s Landing when it began to drizzle. I decided to eat my lunch near the summit and then checked out whether the rocks were dry to see if I wanted to make the final push to Angel’s Landing. Big mistake. With people behind, it was not easy to turn around even if I wanted to. The view was awesome but something about walking on a narrow ledge with a massive drop on either side was less than enjoyable.

After making it down the mountain, I did a number of other trails including the lower and upper Emerald pool trails. While I have done those hikes before, they remain some of the most enchanting spots in any national park.

IMG_2061IMG_2065I finished by resting shortly before sunset along a river where I fell asleep. I woke up thinking that I was smelling a bit ripe after the hikes only to find about six mule deer walking around me. After watching my river mates, I went back to the car in a light rain. Culminating this incredible day, I found a rainbow that seemed to end right in front of me. No pot of gold in sight, but one of the most beautiful rainbows that I have ever seen. The fact is that man has worked for hundreds of years to create inspiring structures from the Sistine Chapel to Notre Dame to the Blue Mosque. But none of them hold a candle to places like Zion National Park.

Here are a few of the pictures from yesterday.












12 thoughts on “Where Angels Dwell: Zion National Park”

  1. Sandi H … you have a place near Sedona? Don’t be surprised if I seek you out for new legitimate traders of Native American artifacts and art…some of the best stuff I’ve ever bought came from traders there.

  2. we experienced that same ‘climate change’ a decade ago. Woke up in our tent at bryce to snow….then off th zion where we woke up in our tent filled with water. We back packed a couple of kids up that hike. Shivered another night and headed for vegas. Hotels and all. All the away around to the grand canyon and petrified forest. God gave us a lovely place and climate….suspect he wants us to enjoy it…..not pretend we can change it. Climate afterall made bryce and zion….hmm climate change made them.;)

  3. I am not a hiker. We drove through as many as we could trying a different route to Snowbird. You can see beauty riding shotgun. And I stop at every gift shop, doing what I can to help the economy. Since I have a vacation home near Sedona, I have to say it’s rocks are redder.

  4. When i went to Angels Landing last year (after seeing JT’s photos and extollations), near the top there were parents dragging two children (5-8ish?) crying their eyes out in fear to the top. The chains alongside the cliff are manageable, but when it gets busy with people going up/down simultaneously it gets trickier having to step around/over people. For an adult its awesome…but crazy what some people will force on their kids.

    Sounds like JT had none of these issues, thankfully…

    (and of course, it was incredible hiking and experience all the same!)

  5. Jon,

    “The fact is that man has worked for hundreds of years to create inspiring structures from the Sistine Chapel to Notre Dame to the Blue Mosque. But none of them hold a candle to places like Zion National Park.”

    God’s creations from the miniscule to the cosmic will always astound and amaze. If only Chris could see God in the wondrous design of nature.

    All the best and safe travels.

  6. DBQ…my “fear of heights” is limited to those places where I can “see” the edge of a precipice all the way down to the terminal ground. I can jump out of perfectly good aircraft, happily, but share your aversion to places I can acquire perspective of the precipice. When I spent a summer on a sky-scraper rooftop watching Peregrine Falcons hack out as fledglings I was fine, so long as I did not look down the edge walls of the building. Professor Turley’s walk on a ledge with precipices on both sides would have soiled my pants fur sur. Yet, he looks so happy as the idiot who made that walk 🙂

  7. Professor Turley, after seeing this string of photos I am now convinced you and my pro-photog friend are clones. Your choices of subject matter are identical. Well done….images I might have just passed by, to my loss. Full disclosure: I tend to spend more time looking for wildlife critters, large and small, to try and grab a shot, even ugly shots…e.g., “I was there and this is what I found.” Pro buddy guy had a 2-3 foot close encounter with some wild wolves in Yellowstone and didn’t get a shot … me, I’d have a half dozen of them close to me. He did get some great shots of wolves from two packs that were shadowing him on a way back country trail (10+ miles in)…but he wasn’t looking for them, they found him while he was eating lunch on a rock in moderate woodsy terrain. The chorus of howls between two packs is what he remembers most…the image of one “Alpha” approaching in the trees is what I noticed most.

    The last three photos of Professor Turley’s shown here were very tempting to run through Photoshop’s Kodak “Digital Sho” plug in to open up the shadows. I resist…for now, but will no doubt do so later.

    Kodak’s “Digital Sho” plug-in gives you the software’s best guess, opening up about 3+ f-stops in the deep shadows, without “washing out” the bright elements, then allows you to moderate it to your liking with a half dozen or more control features. I find it very useful on those bright sunny days where the contrast of shadows is extreme…I can “create” a form of “bright overcast” with my keyboard. It suits me, but not everyone I suppose. Sure beats hours in a stinky lab with chemicals I barely recall the names of these days….not to mention the cost of the paper and chemicals and the necessity for a light proof lab in the first place.

  8. Beautiful! I have a fear of heights and can barely approach the edge of a cliff without feeling like I am going to fall off or be drawn over the edge. So I could never EVER make the hike you describe.

    People who can’t do this hike really really appreciate the great photos. We can see the fabulous scenery without all the angst and danger.


  9. Wow! The rainbow shot is magnificent. The Blackhawk shirt shows your common sense in wearing the one winning Chicago team’s apparel. But, being objective, Epstein and now Maddon, are putting together an organization and team.

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