Sunday, June 14, 2009

National Park Extravaganza!

Peter and I are outdoor enthusiasts. There are few things I
enjoy more than a good, exhausting hike. We were both thrilled when we learned we would be moving to a city surrounded by mountains in a state where you can get to a spectacular national park in as little as 4 hours. When we lived in Houston, we had to traverse clear across the state (about a 12 hour drive to Big Bend) to get to any really good hiking. So, we made a resolution to go to every national park in Utah during our year in Salt Lake. Turns out, this may not happen because there are quite a few parks here. And we also would like to go to a few out of state like Yellowstone, which is only a 6 hour drive. But we went to three parks during the month of May, and that's a pretty good start.

Here we are at Zion National Park at the top of observation point. We camped two nights in the park.

This is us at the top of Angel's Landing, also at Zion. It is probably the most famous, and surely the most harrowing hike in the park. A park ranger told me only 9 people have died on this hike in the park's history. I'm quite surprised that number isn't higher. You must traverse the formidable looking ridge in the photo below. At some points the trail is only 3-5 feet wide and there are 1,000 foot sheer cliffs on either side. Peter will tell you that this hike was easy and fun. But I, either being more faint of heart or having more good sense than him, found it to be a frightening ordeal. But the view was worth it.

On our drive back to Utah from Houston we went through Mesa Verde National Park. We were only there for a few hours. I would love to go back because it was one of the most beautiful places that I've ever been. It is most famous for its cliff dwellings. The one above is called cliff palace and is estimated to be approximately 800 years old. It was once a dwelling of either the Southern Paiutes or the Ancestral Puebloans (I can't remember which.) Isn't it impressive?

More Mesa Verde.

Our last stop before we arrived back to our home sweet home was at Arches National Park. This place is know for its spectacular rock formations like arches (what else?) and fins. Rockfins are pictured in the photo above. You can't tell from that picture that you're seeing them crosswise. They are actually long, narrow slabs of rock. Apparently these formations are very unusual and require a lot of geological movin' and shakin' (technical terms) in order to exist. Arches park is the largest concentration of natural arches in the world.

Doesn't this look like an elephant?!?

1 comment:

Vanessa Rogers said...

I hope we get to visit. That looks amazin!