With Sonja's parents and nephew visiting for a little while we felt it was appropriate to take some time off and do a little exploring with them. This is Nick's first trip out to Arizona and thought it would be a good opportunity to show him some of this beautiful state. So we decided to take him to Utah. He can see Arizona some other time.
Our first big destination of their visit out here was Zion National Park. Neither Sonja nor I had ever been there, so this meant that all of us would get to see something new. Of course, I knew it was going to be beautiful, but what we saw just took my breath away. Zion is by far one of the top five most beautiful places I've ever been.
But we had to get there first, which involved an eight hour drive (including side-trips and meandering back-roads) from our place to the Bumblebutt Motel just outside the park entrance.
Even though it was ungodly hot outside (the high that day was 109), Nick seemed to enjoy his first view of the Colorado River when we crossed over it at Marble Canyon.
Sonja also enjoyed taking in the view.
We opted to take a more meandering scenic route past the Vermillion Cliffs, location of the original California Condor release site. We didn't see any condors, but the views of these monstrous red cliffs were spectacular.
Uh, yeah, I realized after I wrote that how not monstrous those cliffs look in that picture. Oh well, you'll have to take my word for it that they're big.
Speaking of enjoying the view, as you can see Nick was often so moved by what he saw that he felt the need to turn away and text his girlfriend to keep from weeping.
We spent most of the day on Monday exploring some of the trails along the scenic drive in Zion Canyon. It really doesn't matter where you go in the park, it's all gorgeous. This is one of the views from the Emerald Pools trail.
The Emerald Pools offered a chance to walk behind several small waterfalls, which was very refreshing as the temperature slowly crept its way up the thermometer throughout the morning.
By the time we reached the upper pool we were all pretty relieved to be out of the sun and enjoying the towering cliffs surrounding us. But it was still early and we had a lot more to see...
Next up: Exploring the Zion Narrows and Angel's Landing...
**All the photos in this post (and the subsequent vacation posts yet to come) were taken by me even if you don't see my name on them (it's easy to take nice pictures when you visit a place like Zion). If you want to see them a bit larger, just click on the image.