When I ignore everything that's going on in the country politically, there isn't a lot about America that I can fault. Each state, while different, flows into its neighbors as though it was forcibly created to be that way. I've seen a lot of states, and I don't plan on stopping soon, but it's the Jurassic red Navajo sandstone of Zion National Park in Utah that I'd like to focus on today.
There is something intrinsic about standing in the middle of a gigantic canyon in the middle of a summer night, gazing up at the vast beyond; the blanket of stars and galaxies above your head. It very much brings life into perspective.
The Expansiveness of Zion Canyon
Zion Canyon is 230 square miles and is arguably the biggest pull Zion National Park has to offer. It is a gargantuan void that was created by the Virgin River, which is a tributary of the larger Colorado River and a world in and of itself. To gaze upon the canyon is to gaze upon the millions and millions of years it took to create it. It shows in the landscape that looks as though it was plucked from the planet of a beautiful science fiction movie or like any minute, you could turn a corner and walk into a scavenging dinosaur.
The canyon is constantly changing, reacting to the trials and tribulations of the Mojave Desert weather and the landscape it offers will change from year-to-year. If I'd have known the best places to stargaze was at the bottom of a canyon, I would have gone to Zion National Park a long, long time ago.
Even though the desert gets chilly at night, one day I would like to sleep out there without a tent or shelter or food or water, just me and the stars above me; maybe another half, a soulmate who knows Springsdale or the Dixie National Forest like the back of their hand. The skies are narrow, but the lack of artificial moonlight delivers some inimitable views of the Milky Way, and how better to witness one of our skies' greatest delights than beside someone?
There are some benefits to watching the stars without any other witnesses. I guess. There has to be. There is a song from the 80's by a band called The Church, its title is "Under the Milky Way Tonight". I think this sums up any nighttime experiences in Zion National Park and its surrounding areas well. Like music, the park and canyon don't seem real. Merely looking at a landscape so beautiful triggers a sense of dissociation from the difficulties of being alive.
That's why I wish it were possible not only to sleep under the Zion stars but to live there forever. These are just the thoughts I get whenever I think of this magical place I'm lucky to live a mere 2.5 hours from. Perhaps with that argument in mind, I wouldn't be as fond of the canyon if I lived there, but a girl can dream and if nothing else, Zion National Park inspires those dreams.
I've seen so many meteor showers in my time. I have also turned to the spot beside me as if to tell somebody where to look. Only... there's nobody there to look, and I have to chuckle to myself or I will be way too sad. I'd rather not be sad in a world where natural beauties such as Zion National Park exist. It feels like a waste of time, and there in Utah, the stars are my friends.
Zion National Park is Also a Haven for Hikers
I've passed them on what I like to call my saunters. I've never bought a protein bar or trail mix in my life and definitely haven't been able to master those walking sticks, which are something you absolutely need if you are to hike in this spot in particular. As a matter of fact, one of the best views in Zion Canyon is at the end of one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. I am also happy to share with you that there is an Angel's Landing eHike, so if you go camping in Zion National Park and maybe don't want to risk breaking your neck, you can always go to this website.
My legit hiking buddies always tell me that the strenuous journey to the summit is worth every ounce of pain and the narrow path does have things to hold on to, so if you like to walk for a few hours in order to experience once-in-a-lifetime scenarios, I have it on good authority that hiking to the top of Angel's Landing will give you a 360-degree panorama of the canyon and the Virgin River. You might even see me in my tent. If you do, be sure to wave!
Heaven Made of Earth
I truly think that Zion National Park is the place I'd most like to have my ashes spread. The idea of the spreadee doing so from the top of Angel's Landing, particularly, would make me feel good about my life and I wouldn't have to haunt anybody in the after.
Just the canyon like the stars.
They're all long gone too, I think that's part of why they are so beautiful.
There is a theory that sandstone can record events from human existence if the energy is strong enough. Emotions like anger and love and sadness can be imprinted onto brick paths or towering spires or the very walls of Zion Canyon I find such solace when I'm around.
I believe also that there's no stone on the planet that could capture these feelings better than the Navajo sandstone of the Mojave Desert, the rocks on the riverbed, or the summit of Angel's Landing itself.
Part of me was left in Zion National Park the first time I went there, it only feels logical that the rest of me will one day be left there too to join my heart.
For more info about camping, click here.