Before I get this post about my Zion NP visit started let me first link a few very handy sites for the park. Here is the National Park Service homepage for Zion NP, on which you can find all you need, including a zoomable map, and – hidden in the “newspaper” section, guides and maps in several languages. The Nature & Science section holds PDF lists of all the plants and animals, with short explanation – very helpful if you want to identify what you see moving around or clinging to the rocks.
This post will have a few photos from along the Canyon Overlook Trail, which is the only thing I saw in the park. Mostly, though, I will show you the sunset photos I took.
The geology is absolutely cool along that trail. Depending on the angle between the layers and the surface things look totally different every few meters. The rocks are a warm, yellow, brown or reddish colour, contrasting nicely with the dark green of the Ponderosa pines. Erosion is slow, but in places it becomes rather obvious that sometimes, large packets of rocks slide down into the canyons as a block, because the surrounding rocks have been eroded to a smooth surface and there is scant vegetation to keep rocks back.
This arm-thick tree root shows quite nicely how erosion here often works: water and frost open small cracks, and plant roots follow and widen them. The rocks are split into blocks, with barely rounded edges.
The Canyon Overlook Trail is a dead-end trail, ending at an outlook (duh!), but there is plenty of room to climb up a few rocks near the overlook and find a slightly different perspective. Here’s a panorama from near the top, looking back:
as always, click through for a larger version, or yell in comments for the full sized photo!
and one from a point next to the outlook down into the main canyon.
The trail leads up a small side canyon, then over the rise through which the road tunnels. The drop down into the main canyon is spectacular, but some people seem to have little respect for it. Here, you see a group of French of Belgian students climbing up rocks that are at the top about 3 meters wide and tilted towards the abyss. Luckily, nobody slipped…..
a few more impressions – for variety’s sake I used different preset options in my HDR program and played with the settings a bit. Not that I know what I am doing, though.
and finally, the teaser pic again, which is a slightly wider angle view than the one above: