Big Park # 2

We took our vacation early this year and did a tour of three National Parks – Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon (north rim), and Zion.

Holy cow. I don’t know where to begin. All I can say is this… It’s a big world out there.

Bryce Canyon

1

Orange, pink, red, and brown mountains. Particularly interesting are the hoodoos. This place reminded me that the true nature of everything is change, even things that seem fixed. Like mountains. It also has a variety of microclimates, so as you hike down and up the canyon, the world around you transforms. Also striking is the way you’ll see a lone tree, off in the distance growing out of the side of a mountain, doing whatever it needs to do to survive, making you wonder what the heck it’s doing there.

If you go there and are able, I highly suggest hiking to the bottom and back up again. It’s hard, especially with the elevation, but worth it. You get up close and personal with those changing microclimates and you kind of feel like you’ve been through the whole world when you’re finished.

Grand Canyon

2

Now that’s a freaking canyon.

Somewhere you have to go in your lifetime. The hugeness, the vastness, and oh-dear-god the depth of it all makes it difficult to comprehend, certainly impossible to express in these limited dimensions. Turns out I am TERRIFIED of those narrow walkways that overlook the canyon. Once we got on wider land, I loved it but I had so many visions of dying, of my kids dying, of my husband dying, etc., that it was not possible to enjoy.

But I did it.

Dammit.

We hiked through forests and saw some buffalo (bison?), then drove to the highest vista in the canyon, but I couldn’t shake the edginess (pun sort of intended). Still, something like this deserves to be seen in person.

The lesson here was Hamlet:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Zion National Park

3

I guess the overwrought adjective I’d use here is “majestic.” In other words, them mountains are big. This is a well-organized outing – you drive into the park and park your car. A shuttle runs up and down the mountains and drops you or picks you up at specific locations. We went to the furthest spot and did their ultimate hike – down a path and into the Virgin River on a hike through The Narrows. Then up the river as far as you want to go.

Now, this is not in my sweet spot of life skills. But again, I did it.

Dammit.

I spent so much time looking at the rocks in the river that I had to remind myself occasionally to look up. But I felt accomplished (and wet) by the end. I think this is how a person grows.

The water was cool but the day was hot. It took a little time out of the water for us to realize just how exhausted we were. Or I was.

That park’s lesson – sometimes you have to sit back and take it all in. Sometimes you have to put your head down and focus one foot in front of the other. Try to mix it up for a broad experience.

 

Of course, here’s best lesson of all. It was an epic adventure. Note: I am gripping TIGHTLY to that bench.

4