23 December 2011

The Road to Zion

As I sat down at my kitchen table playing with my food, I glanced up at my friend Kevin Louth. He had followed me home (invited, of course) as he had never experienced the western United States before. He was in awe of the snow and fog that enshrouded the mountains surrounding my western Colorado home, and, still recovering from finals, we discussed activities we could participate in while staying in Colorado. His first question disregarded Colorado entirely. "Where's Zion? Can we go there?" I paused from my dithering to glance in his direction, and slowly nodded. Early the next morning, I was on an unplanned road trip through the heart of Utah.

The next three days included 21 hours of driving over a thousand miles of sandstone desert. Kevin was in awe at the territory so foreign to someone born and raised in the bayou, and I got to see my favorite desert haunts under a cloak of snow. Our low point was definitely the 17 degree F night we camped at Natural Bridges National Monument, and there were more highlights than could be counted. We hit Arches NP, Natural Bridges NM, Lake Powell NRA, Capitol Reef NP, Escalante-Grand Staircase NM, Bryce Canyon NP, and hiked the ice covered Angel's Landing in Zion NP. Below are some picture highlights from the trip. It was exhausting, but exhilarating!

Double-O Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Sipapu Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Zion Canyon from Angel's Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

Last, but not least, the bird of the trip: CALIFORNIA CONDOR on Angel's Landing, Zion National Park. We saw two birds - numbers 99 and 0.

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