My friend Pam Penick (who blogs at Digging) has asked bloggers, once again, to write about visiting our National parks. I didn’t participate in the first meme, but felt compelled to share this go around. And it somehow seems fitting that I should post today, on the first day of a partial governmental shutdown.
I am my father’s daughter. I have a wanderlust. There is just something about the discovery of visiting unfamiliar places that rocks my world.
I’m observer, mostly…the culture, clothes, and cuisine. And it’s a given, I’m gonna gawk at a garden or two. If not a whole garden, then certainly a wildflower or three.
I’ve swam the Dead Sea, the North Sea, and I’ve driven the Great Ocean Road in Australia and California’s Pacific Coast Highway.
I’ve visited Versailles in France, Great Dixter in East Sussex, England, and Chanticleer in PA.
I’ve tasted the apples in Scotland, raspberries in Poland, and kiwis in Germany.
I’ve had orgasmic oysters in Chincoteague, VA (where I was born), scrumptious shrimp in Cancun, and sketchy sea urchin in France. (I wouldn’t recommend this.)
I’ve tasted the macadamia nuts in Guatemala, pine nuts in Pakistan, and pistachios in Australia.
I ate the best Indian food ever in London, best salmon ever in Finland, and best overall meal ever with my friend Genya in Belgium.
I’ve poked around the flea markets of the former Soviet Union, Jerusalem, and Paris….I could go on. I’ve lived an illustrious life. It was a goal early on went I saved my pennies to go to Egypt on my 21st birthday.
Anyhoo, one of my all time favorite trips was with my husband (before kids) to Zion National Park. We also went to The Grand Canyon (both the north and south rim) and Bryce Canyon, but I took a particular liking to Zion. This trip was also before me entering the age of digital photography, so I have one token photo to share with you here. I have several more somewhere in a photo album (remember those?) but this one was handy since it is hanging in my husband’s office.
Zion means “promised land”, which, as they write on their website, “the perfect way to describe the park’s peaceful yet dramatic landscape of sculptured canyons and soaring cliffs.” During our hikes, we saw mule deer, golden eagles, and even a mountain lion.
We hiked mostly, but not all of it. Zion National Park is 229 square miles. Yet, I feel we were able to understand the land in the limited time we were there. We loved every minute of being there.
The thing that struck me the most when we had to go home was that it was as if we were re-entering the world. We didn’t allow adequate time to decompress. We got the bends in a cultural sense. We were not prepared to leave these canyons after 10 days, but we didn’t realize it until we began to see people and fast-food chains again. It was a real culture shock.
Zion National Monument was established as a National park on November 19, 1919. There are guided tours, but it was easy enough to do as a self-guided adventure. The trails in Zion were easy for us get around, or at least that is how a youthful Helen remembers it.
Check out the Zion Lodge, the only hotel in the National Park, and well worth it.
We plan to return, maybe even as early as next summer, with our kids Lara Rose (17), Lily (13) and Aster (12). It is a gift we want to share with them. The iPhones, iPads, and iTouches will come and go, but iTravel will live in their hearts forever. iPromise.
Zion National Park
PO Box 1099
Springdale, UT 84767
Click here to view a NPS detailed map of the park.