Winter in Zion National Park

January 01, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

For me, 2010 was a monumental year from an adventuring standpoint.  I just never thought I would top all the uniqueness, variety, and sheer beauty that I witnessed in that year.  Never did I dream that I would top it in 2011, but I believe I did.  It started on the very first day of the new year and in what was becoming one of my favorite places...  Zion National Park in southern Utah.

My friend, Kristen, and I decided to spend a long weekend hiking in Zion.  The high point of this short but amazing trip was my first experience on the Hidden Canyon Trail which provided solitude from the normally bustling park.  There was a foot or so of freshly fallen snow which discouraged most from hiking the steep trail that ascends 850 feet in just over a mile.  In addition, crampons were a necessity.  The number of tracks in the snow gradually declined until there were no more, and at that point we turned back.  There was such a steep drop off to the right that we didn't want to take a chance of stepping too close to the ledge or slipping off on some hidden ice patch.  We were rewarded with a killer view of the bend in the Virgin River and a peace and quiet that only Mother Nature can provide.

The bend of the Virgin River near Angels Landing an The Narrows in ZionThe bend of the Virgin River near Angels Landing an The Narrows in Zion End of the road along the Hidden Canyon trailEnd of the road along the Hidden Canyon trail

While we were hiking in Hidden Canyon, we kept hearing what sounded like thunder coming from The Narrows.  So... what does an adventure photographer do when he hears thunder?  Get closer of course!  We hiked up into the narrows a bit and came upon a sight I will never forget, and the source of the "thunder".  There was an amazing (easily 1000 feet tall) frozen waterfall!!  To give some idea of scale here, the larger icicles were in the 10-12 foot range.  The sun was just touching some them and was enough to cause them to break off and drop to the ground in a thunderous crack that echoed off the sheer cliffs walls of the slot canyon.  Here's a picture...

  Frozen Waterfall in The NarrowsFrozen Waterfall in The Narrows

And here are a couple more of the park and the neighboring Pine Valley mountain range.

The Watchman at sunsetThe Watchman at sunset Pine Valley Mountains west of ZionPine Valley Mountains west of Zion

I hope these stories and photos inspire you to go on your own adventure to Zion!  If you ever want a tour guide, look me up, because I never get bored of places like this.  Enjoy!


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