This is the continuation of my travels in early 2016 (March 7). Hang in with me, when I’m done showing you all the places I visited I’m going to let you know how much it cost me, and you’ll probably be quite surprised.
In my last post I showed you Kolob Terrace Road where I camped for a few nights, but while in Zion I took the shuttle bus up Zion Canyon. Keep in mind that this is March, and it’s still fairy chilly, but it didn’t stop the visitors from coming in the masses.
I’ve been to Zion in the spring and fall before and it was quite pleasant, but in the past two or three years it seems that all The National Parks have been overwhelmed with the amount of visitors. Some parks have actually had to close or turn people away for a day, and Zion has had to extend the months it runs it’s shuttle bus up Zion Canyon. It is likely that the shuttle will run year-round in the not-too-distant future. Of course, I’m aware that I’m one of these visitors, and it’s a dilemma. I’m doing what all the other visitors want to do; find and visit beautiful places. Perhaps I am no different, but in my own defense I do at least respect the rules, and I always clean up after myself and others, leaving the area better than how I found it.
This is the Nomad rule. We live in beautiful places, and it behooves us to protect and respect it so we can continue to enjoy the beauty of this planet we call home.
Zion Canyon is without a doubt, breathtaking. Being on a shuttle bus with a group of chatty people is not my favorite way to travel though, I like to experience things on my time, and stop and look at views and lighting along the way. I’m not there just to visit the names on the map, I’m there to feel the energy of the earth, to commune with nature. If you see wildlife on a bus all you get is a glimpse (if you’re lucky), then it’s gone. Shuttle buses don’t permit a person to truly enjoy the park, but they have become a necessity in many parks and will probably be used even more as the population expands, and tourism is promoted around the world.
I talked to a couple who rode their bicycles up Zion Canyon instead of using the bus, and I would highly recommend this if you decide to come and visit Zion and own a bicycle.
Above is a picture I took at The Temple of Sinawava, which is the last stop in Zion Canyon, and is also where the Riverside Walk to The Narrows begins. I got off the shuttle bus and let the droves of people go ahead of me because I needed some silence. While they were getting themselves together, I walked across the parking lot to the river. There was not a single person here, and I enjoyed a quiet, contemplative half-hour or so actually appreciating the beauty, without the noise of tourists. The shuttle busses came and went, and not ONE other person explored the area away from the paved trail on the other side of the parking lot, and thank goodness, because it would have looked like this:
One of the park rangers told me that in the summer of 2015, there were so many people standing in The Narrows that you couldn’t see the water between or behind them, they were quite literally shoulder-to-shoulder. Our parks truly are being loved to death. I personally fight for protecting the land as much as possible, and while I’d prefer a National Park or Monument over oil drilling, I always hope that the land will get approved as wilderness, because once it becomes a monument and it gets advertised or hits the news, it gets visited by more people and then this happens:
In February I spoke with a rancher from the Yellowstone area of Wyoming about his issues with wolves, but also about the choice between protecting lands as wilderness, or making them monuments or parks. He said he didn’t want wilderness because that made it harder for him to explore the land and hunt there, etc., and that my friends, is exactly why we need more wilderness protection. We need to set aside our own selfish desires, and put Mother Earth first.
I have seen the results of people abuse in Rocky Mountain National Park over the past twenty-years or so, and it breaks my heart, because so many visitors just don’t get it! They throw their trash and cigarette butts on the ground, trample on the flowers, break branches off trees, let their dogs run loose, have illegal camp fires, and worse. I will never understand some humans; why come to admire a beautiful place then destroy a part of it? It angers and upsets me enormously.
Living in cities and towns has separated humans from nature so much, that many don’t have any comprehension of how important it is. When I hear of children that don’t even know that the meat they buy in the grocery store was once a living animal, it is clear that we have failed as a society.
Despite this, I still encourage you to get out of the cities, get out of the towns, plan a trip to see the Milky Way, remove your shoes and walk in the sand. However, I also encourage you to take the time to read the brochure given to you at the entrance booth to a park, and actually follow the rules. Teach your children to respect the earth, and always leave a place better than you found it. I know I’m preaching to some of the choir, and I apologize, but I just have to get it out. There is without a doubt a part of me that doesn’t want to encourage you to leave the city, I don’t really want more people invading this beauty, but these are your lands, and if you cut yourself off from nature completely your soul will never have a chance to understand and learn about the gift of life, the gift of this planet, the gift of Mother Nature, and realize how essential it is to our survival as a species and the survival of all living things, and each and every one of them is as important as the next. No matter how tiny or insignificant a creature might be, it is essential to all the life on this planet.
Here is a fascinating article about the dust in the air, titled The Dust Detectives. It may sound like it will be very boring, but it’s actually quite fascinating. Did you know that the dust that comes from Asia affects whether rain falls in California or not? and not only that, but the microbes that are on the microbes on the dust, also affect the weather. (I listened to a radio program about this once, but have failed to find it online).
National Parks are no longer a place to go to seek solitude, they are no longer a place to seek quiet, (except perhaps in winter, or in the less visited parks) unless you truly make an effort to get away from the road and first mile of the trail. If you do this, I implore you to please, please, respect nature. Some scientists think we are only 34-years away from the tipping point (click to learn more about Earth’s tipping point), and if you take the time to research it (click the link provided for you, then research it even more on your own), you’ll know that when we reach that tipping point, not only will human life start to deteriorate, but all life on this planet will start to suffer quite rapidly, and the planet may not be able to support itself any more or be able to recover.
How old will your child be in 2050? How old will you be?
Okay, enough about all that, this isn’t where I meant to go when I started this post. Let’s get back to the beauty of Zion National Park.
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I hope you have enjoyed these pictures, and I hope you get a chance to see Zion for yourself during your lifetime. If not, there are plenty of beautiful places left to visit, places where there are still hardly any people, and I hope that my posts encourage you to go and seek these places for yourself while at the same time being ultra conscientious about the living, breathing, and oh so important environment around you.
Actually…hmmmmm… maybe having most visitors funneled to the National Parks is a good thing, because it keeps the droves and masses away from those places that are, as yet, only lightly touched.
Until next time, please love and respect the earth, it is after all, your home.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature