If there was anywhere that I visited on this trip that immediately made it back on to my ‘Places I Need to Visit’ list, Zion National Park was it. Zion is a place that encompasses so many different things, that you feel like you’re traveling through the world after hiking a few miles. Cross-bedded Sandstone Plateaus, Checkerboard Mesa, Kolob Canyon Red Cliffs, Sandstone Cliffs and (my favorite) Emerald Pools can all be found at Zion, and you have to see it to believe it.
FIELD NOTES | ZION NATIONAL PARK:
- Some of the tallest Sandstone cliffs in the world are found at Zion, the ‘Navajo Sandstone’.
- Colorado Plateau runs through the park (as well as Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. This plateau is home to the nations great canyons)
- Sediment and minerals and pressure from the upper layers create the canyon cliffs.
- 3,000 ft. thick sandstone in some places.
- 10,000ft. Elevation uplift. Created the Virgin river, while carving out canyons (over millions of years).
- In the west, Volcanoes have changed the geology.
- 800 + native plant species, 75 + species of mammals, 270 varieties of birds and 36 species of reptiles are found inside the park.
- The park accumulates less than 12 in. of precipitation a year.
- Water from underground seeps through the rocks to create the hanging gardens.
The Emerald Pools consist of three different levels, the lower, middle and upper pool.
“We had a 3 mile hike to the Emerald Pools today. The pools are full of aquatic green algae which gives them their color and name. Surrounded by dessert and dry mountainous terrain, hidden behind rocky cliffs, they truly are a desert oasis. So far this has been my favorite part of the trip. The water seeps through the softer rock levels and falls into the pools below, creating the most unexpected and magical waterfalls all over the park.” Sometimes these waterfalls pop up in the rocky walls and last only a few minutes, giving the canyon walls the name ‘weeping rocks’.
Water & minerals, as previously mentioned, seep through weaker layer of rock, causing vegetation to grow naturally in hanging gardens along the canyon walls.
COURT OF THE PATRIARCHS
Three neighboring sandstones peaks are named after the patriarchs from the bible, Abraham (the tallest peak at 6,890 ft), Isaac, and Jacob (partially hidden by Mount Moroni). They were named in 1919 by mormon minister Frederick Vining Fisher.
“Zion is an amazing park. It was really amazing to experience so many different terrains and landscapes so close together. My favorite part of the trip so far has been to experience the Emerald Pools, because it really felt like you were in the tropics, though we are technically in the middle of a desert in Utah. Waterfalls also gave me the oasis sense and I can’t wait to come back again.”
Until Next Time,