Zion Wasn’t It (Zion National Park)

If you fuel your journey on the opinions of others, you are going to run out of gas. –Steve Maraboli

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

Have you ever been captivated by a place where you were so enchanted by what was in front of you that you lost yourself in a moment? A place that sparked so many different emotions, made you gasp, jaw dropped to the floor, and kept you so insanely mesmerized?

Zion wasn’t it.

“Zion is so much better than Bryce,” they said.

“You will love Zion more than you will Bryce,” they said. Except I didn’t.

Perhaps it was because the park did not feel entirely accessible. With only shuttles taking you to and from, I did not feel like I could roam on my own time before having to catch the next shuttle (unless we wanted to be stranded, that is).

Perhaps it was because it was simply too crowded for such a small, centralized location. Or maybe it was not small. Maybe it just felt small.

Perhaps it was because it was not very traveler-friendly. The only nearby campground was completely packed (understandably), but where were the rest areas, or anywhere we could pull into for the night? We were left with no other choice but to pay an overpriced motel room.

Perhaps I let people’s words overshadow my own experience. If Bryce Canyon blew my mind, then Zion would surely be even more amazing, I thought. Egoistic expectations. Gah, how did I let it creep into my being?

Perhaps I was burnt out. Having been the last stop of our SW road trip before officially heading back north, maybe it was I who had very little spark left inside of me.

I was simply not inspired. Maybe it’s the reason why it took me this long to post this blog. Maybe.

—————————————

ZION NATIONAL PARK

The ever so beautiful red roads of Zion National Park.

Zion National Park

But can we take a moment to admire the cutest little beings that welcomed us right before we arrived at Zion?

Angels Landing

Zion National Park, Utah

Angels Landing was incredible. It’s still hard to believe it is even a legal hike. How in the actual heck? And the view!

It starts with all the switchbacks. Such a perfect workout! But that’s not even the reason I questioned whether it was legal :)

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

Do you see that cliff he’s looking toward? The narrow one; that’s the trail…

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

Let the chains be your guide…
Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

And the prize? Worth every sore muscle…

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

Did I mention we hiked on the 4th of July? It probably explains the massive crowds we encountered.

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

And like everything else, what goes up must also come down…

Zion National Park, Angels Landing, Utah

The Narrows

The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

The Narrows was just that. The Narrows. I couldn’t help but think I was walking through a bigger version of Oregon’s Oneonta Gorge. Except completely bare, with muddier water, and no real gem at the end of the tunnel.

But if you’ve been to neither place, The Narrows will surely give you a great first experience to get your feet wet :)

And into the river we walked…

The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

Zion-National-Park-11

And with slippery rocks and a few strong currents, the sticks were absolutely useful.

The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

—————————————

Zion, Zion, what to make of your treacherous land, your alluring canyons, and angelic peaks that attract adventurous hearts by the crowds?

I believe every place has its own spirit, its own story, and its own magic. I did not feel it this time, but it only makes me want to visit again. With more time, a more rested self, a less critical heart, and without anyone’s opinions being my guide.

…Because even places deserve a second chance.

Love & Light,

Denise

The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

***Sending out my deepest sympathies to those affected by the recent floods in Utah, including the flash flood at Zion’s Keyhole Canyon. I am only now learning of these tragic incidents.  All the love to you.***

***

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And of course, comment below to let me know your opinions or simply share stories.  If you have any suggestions or would love to see other content on Of Wildest Heart, let me know!

Want to see more photos, recent travel updates, and inspiration? Check out my Instagram! Interested in working with me, or simply want to meet? Email me at ofwildestheart[at]gmail.com

Stay curious, wild hearts!

***

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19 responses to “Zion Wasn’t It (Zion National Park)

  1. Beautiful! Due to the high risk of flash floods while we were there, we didn’t get a chance to do The Narrows. Looks amazing! Hope to someday go back and hike it.

    • Yeah, it was pretty spectacular :) I wish we had kept hiking further in, but we were racing against the sun (and the shuttle!)… So I’m with you on wanting to come back. I really want to do the Subway, too! That looks equally amazing! :)

  2. An absolute gem read. Sometimes, we can hype up our expectations, then be sourly disappointed.

    In light, I hope oneday, I will explore America.

    All the best,
    Dan

  3. Pingback: Wildest Southwest Road Trip (& Stuck at Bonneville Salt Flats!) | Of Wildest Heart·

  4. Beautiful photos of Angels landing… a little sketchy, but what great hike isn’t? :P Your IG post about this was so enticing I had to get to your blog to read about it. As always you capture your travels beautifully.

  5. I seriously wish I went with you to Zion or had more time! I was only there for a few hours to enjoy the scenery, it so wasn’t enough :( Just followed you on IG, your photography is amazing Denise! I’m looking forward to future posts on here and IG :)

  6. I’m sorry that it didn’t blow your mind. I love Zion, but I do agree that it can seem crowded. I went in the summer the first time and it was SO CROWDED! I went again in March and on the whole Angels Landing trail we encountered less than ten people (of course, that terrifying part you mentioned also had some patches of ice and snow on it which left me with my legs off the edge when I slipped once- thank goodness for the chains)! I have a major soft spot in my heart for the American Southwest, but it isn’t for everyone. I recommended Bryce Canyon to my Aunt and Uncle who were traveling in the area and they HATED it! It’s all about what you like. Thanks for sharing your real, honest opinion and I’m glad that you still got out there and experienced all you could and hopefully you made some memories to last a life time!

    • Hi Paige! Thanks so much for your comment :) i cannot wait to explore more of the Southwest!

      I definitely understand everyone has different likes. So many people also told me that the Grand Canyon was “meh”, but I actually really loved it.

      I think Zion needs a second visit :) though I can’t imagine doing that hike in icy conditions! Sound like such an adrenaline rush, hehehe.

      Hope you have a fantastic weekend! Thanks again for dropping by <3

  7. It is great to hear another side of Zion. I do want to go there but only hear the fairytale stories and wanted to hear some “real” experiences.

    My biggest question is what kind of shoes you would wear in the wet part? I hate wet socks and would not want to have to carry an extra pair of shoes. Any advice?

    • Thanks, Jo! :)

      As far as shoes — we wore our regular hiking shoes. They’ve been through other muddy situations, so for me it wasn’t a big deal getting them wet.

      I will say, definitely wear a sturdy sole. Otherwise you will feel every jagged rock.
      Also, I recommend closed-toed shoes because it’s no fun having rocks come inside your shoe. And lastly, wear a shoe that will stay on your feet if it gets caught in mud (shoelaces, and NO sandals).

      Basically there is no real way of avoiding the wet socks :( I saw several ppl bring a pair of hiking sandals to change afterwards, or another pair of shoes.

      Otherwise, you can do what we did, and just do this as your last hike of the day :)

  8. I wasn’t a fan of the shuttles. But i absolutely loved Angels landing.. Blog post about it:) did you remember the tree at the top, I hung my. Hammock up there:)

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