If the first days of my Utah jaunt were exploring sagebrush and low mountain terrain, then the last few days has been walking through classic Utah canyon country.
I entered the quiet (relatively!) Kolob Canyon entrance of Zion National Park. Less well-known than the Zion Canyon proper, the red rock walls and formations were stunning.
The evening light was savored as the red walls glowed from the setting sun.
I continued into the night by headlamp. The tread was good, and my energy level was high.
The past year’s ebb and flow have already been forgotten in a little over a month.
The miles go by as I need them to with ease. And the hiking is a pleasure to experience.
I have not felt this way, consistently, for quite a few years. This feeling? Bliss.
The following day I entered Zion Canyon proper. A fantastically beautiful place that was also fantastically busy.
But I am perhaps not a true wilderness purist as a cold drink, and a late lunch at the lodge could not be passed on easily. 😉
I looked up at the canyon walls I had descended earlier.
After lunch, it was time to exit out of the canyon and towards the East Rim and leave the park.
The next two days would have me entering and then exiting Parunuweap Canyon. A canyon explored by John Wesley Powell and is said to rival the more famous, and crowded, Zion Narrows.
I initially knew nothing of the canyon history or (alas) of the plaque at the start of the standard route in and out of the Parunuweap.
Once in the canyon, the route went upstream to the canyon end.
My feet were wet for two days. And the water often came up past my thigh. But what an experience!
I do not know if this canyon rivals the more well-known Zion Narrows as I have never been there. I do know Parunuweap was phenomenal. I can already tell this canyon will be a journey highlight.
Soon I will be in Bryce Canyon National Park. What I am half-kiddingly calling the Western Utah Luxury Tour will then end. The towns will be more remote until Moab and the National Park units will be less busy and built up.
I eagerly look forward to the next phases of the journey.