Watchman Campground at Zion National Park

Today we departed Mesquite, Nevada where we stayed at a casino hosted campground, right across the border from Utah. We stayed the night to catch up on laundry, wash dishes and take long hot showers. The quality of our personal and camper hygiene was questionable by the time we left Zion, but it was well worth the 3 days we spent soaking in its wonders. I know it’s still early, but Zion is currently our favorite National Park that we have visited.

  
The landscape was diverse and the view overwhelming. There were many hiking trails and a free shuttle that took us to each trailhead. We sent the pup to the “Doggy Dude Ranch” for a day and explored 3 of the most popular destination hikes. We hiked the Riverside Walk, which leads to the famous “Narrows” where the canyon walls hug the river and create a thin shaft to the distant sky above. Unfortunately, at least 60% of the hike down the Narrows portion of the trail requires wading or swimming through the river and it was just too cold for us to take the plunge.

Next, we hiked to Weeping Rock and gazed out from under a large stone overhang. The rain had been absorbed and collected over many years and was slowly being filtered through the porous rock. The water escapes in a cascade of fat water droplets rolling off the cliffside, showering the hanging gardens below. The view looking out from the alcove was a lovely contrast, as the cold, damp shadows pressed at our backs and the cliffs beyond glowed red and orange with the illumination of the sun. Two worlds— separated by a thin sparkling veil. 

  

The last and longest trail was the Emerald Pools. It was the most challenging by far and it left us breathless after climbing up and down steep, narrow trails and over large rocks. The path led to three separate pools, none of which were emerald and not at all what we imagined, but the climb was scenic and offered us a chance to get our blood moving.

The park was full for our entire stay and bursting with energy. Young boys rode their mountain bikes from dawn until dusk, people were grilling and mingling outside their campers or tents and on the other side of the campground, a wedding was in full swing. It was the noisiest campground we have stayed in, but it was the sound of joy and laughter. It was a contagious energy that made us feel good to be a part of something so simple and lighthearted. People taking time away from their busy lives to relax for the weekend with friends and family. Strangers coming together in a desperate need of a good laugh, a quiet stroll in nature, a new perspective or just a friendly neighbor. Zion offered, not only breathtaking beauty, but a haven to those in need of reprieve. We get so caught up sometimes, trying to make a living, keeping house and struggling to be what everyone needs us to be, that we forget how to just —be still. 

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