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The Parting Shot for June 22, 2012

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The Subway Canyon in Zion National Park, Utah.

I chose this picture tonight simply because this is one of my favorite places I have ever been. In my younger years, I used to guide backpack trips through this canyon, as well as The Narrows and Orderville Canyon, for the Sierra Club’s Outings department. I have stood in that exact spot the photographer is standing in many times. LOL… each time I would reach this point, I always had plans to dip down in that crystal clear natural whirlpool. But each time I arrived there, I would find that it was just as cold as my previous visit so I would simply stand there and breathe in the beauty around me.

Click on image to view in full size

Photo credit:  Unknown

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16 replies »

  1. Astoundingly beautiful image at full size, and very cool that you have been there. I’d love to see this scene in person. Thanks for this one, cause it’s perfect for having a place in my mind as I’m now going to bed.

  2. I’ve always wanted to visit the Canyonlands area. My brother loves it second only to the mountains here, and he may pummel me if I don’t get over there now that I live so close.

    • Southern Utah is one of my favorite places I have ever visited. I completely understand why the Mormons called the are Zion – because it is fit for a god. The striking colors between the Navajo sandstone and Kayenta layers. The way the Grand Staircase displays each layer of brilliant color across the canyons, mesa and rock formations….

      It is a magnificent place. I do not recommend going during tourist season – like now. Wait until fall or early spring. Zion has sadly turned into a tourist trap. When I first started going there, it was nothing like it is now. I could drive in all the way to the Gateway to the Narrows, easily find a spot to park, and go play up in the Narrows for hours and only see a handful of people up there.

      Now, no cars allowed. Shuttle bus only. A paved path to the gateway for handicapped accessible – which I am glad that they did because the beauty of the Gateway should be seen by all. But it just isn’t the same anymore with the pavement.

      The campgrounds are more barren and stripped of desert grass due to the enormous increase in traffic.

      The paved path to the Gateway of the Narrows has a LOT of traffic on it. BUT… most people stop at the Gateway. If you can keep going, and know how to walk in steady water flow (cold, too), and the river bottom is full of rocks that resemble greased bowling balls, then I recommend continuing up to the springs. Hiking stick manadatory – must have that “third leg” to best manuever the bowling ball bed of the river. Perfect day hike. Take a lunch and enjoy. And drink the pure water coming from the springs. Naturally the park tells you to treat the water so they’re not liable. But that water is purer than pure. It’s been filtered through layer after layer of sandstone for millions of years.

      So, there is my mini-write up of Zion. Go. You will not regret it. Just go off-season.

      • I would absolutely LOVE to go to Zion, because the photos from Zion always blow me away, and I know that the experience of actually being there would be 100 times even better.

        So many places in the world I’d love to explore, but with limited financial resources and vacation time, I can only get to a relatively small number of these amazing places. But I guess I should be grateful that I get to go anywhere exceptional for vacation, since many people don’t get to go anywhere except within the area they live in.

        Sometimes I think that my wife and I should just sell off all our dive gear and throw away our passports and diver certification cards, so that we’d be forced to not spend yet another vacation on our addiction to scuba diving in the tropics. While we love scuba diving in the tropics, it comes at the expense of seldom going to an incredible place like Zion, and a wealth of other incredible places in the American West.

        • Should you ever go, go during the off season. The weather is not that bad there even in the winter. And if you do go when it has snowed, the white snow is such a beautiful contrast to the red rock.

          It’s worth a trip. But it’s crazy and aggravating during the busy season. Plus you’ll pay way too much. It’s turned into another Yosemite. Last time I went, I was so disappointed and cried.

        • So disappointed that you cried? That’s some serious disappointment! But I can understand it, and I also try to go places during the off season.

          In 1993 my wife and I went to Yosemite in mid April and it wasn’t crowded at all. The weather was beautiful down in the valley, but we hiked through some snow up in the higher elevations, but it wasn’t a problem.

          I’d never seen anything even remotely like Yosemite before in person, and I was totally blown away by it. On Easter morning we hiked to the top of Nevada Falls, and although we’re not really religious, the view in all directions seemed more majestic and holy than any cathedral ever built by the hand of man. It felt like a spiritual experience…

          Zion in the off season? Who knows? Maybe we’ll end up doing it, and thanks for the info. 🙂

        • Yes, I cried. I starting going there when it was still a mild “secret” (everyone was still going to Yellowstone, Gr Canyon, Yosemite) so it was peaceful. Beautiful. Clean. The visitors took care of the place just as much as the rangers. Now it’s just not the same anymore.

  3. When I was a student at BYU, I was a scout master for a troop of boys whose parents were students from China, Japan and Korea. I took these boys (all of whom live in Asia now and have not been back to the states since) to all the cool spots I knew here in Utah like Subway Canyon, the Narrows, as many awesome places in Canyonlands we could get too, the Salt Flats, Delicate Arch and others. My point was to take these extremely urban kids out to a world they would never see again. I have always been a bit of an environmentalist and the Japanese assistant scoutmaster was an environmental science major. We picked up litter as we went. On our trip to Rainbow arch we picked up five-hundred pounds of litter. I don’t mind the tourists, but many of them are slobs. I do mind the quadrunners. Must of them are very conscientious, but enough of them are destroying Utah’s wonderful outdoors. The really bad ones are from California and other states, but the domestic guys are bad, too.

    • Oh how wonderful that you did that! Utah has so many beautiful places.

      The last few times I have been through there was so different than when I first started. As you found, lots of litter. It’s become as bad as Yosemite. Everyone wants to get out and see the beauty, but they don’t want the responsibility of taking care of it.

      One trip I guided in Canyonlands, a ranger gave us special permission and a “secret” route/entrance to a valley that was one of the last pristine valleys in Utah. It was developed (naturally, of course) so that it was impossible for cattle to get into the valley and over run it. Our only restriction once we entered in was that we HAD to stay on the rock. We could not touch the soil since all the cryptobiotic soil had never been touched by man’s domestic creatures. And very little by man. So we came in through the slot in the rock that had a crack running down the center, and was sloped downwards on both sides (that’s why the cattle couldn’t get through), and sat for hours on the rock on the side and looked at something very few men have seen.

      It was magical.

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