Thursday, October 18, 2012

With WInter Closing in... We Linger in Zion

The word is out... Winter is coming... The days in Zion are still warm but the nights are crisp and the turning colors warn of the coming snows. We already escaped the first onslaught at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon... We've only a few days left here in Zion before my growing aversion to the aching bones of winter force me to bump a bit south ahead of the coming time of darkness and cold.

While they're still accessible to such as me... we took another hike in the absolute shining grandeur of this canyon split, far country.


This one took us on a short jaunt up I-15 to circle around to the northern reaches of Zion National Park; Up into the Kolob Canyons area.

We stepped out from the trailhead to explore Taylor Creek Canyon.

The trail immediately descends a series of cedar steps/erosion dams as you approach the mouth of the canyon.

 It don't take too many of those steps before you start to realize... if you're paying attention... that you're entering a pretty special place.

This is the sort of place that Shining Times is most properly used to describe.

This is also one of those spots that is intensely difficult to photograph... if what you're trying to do is capture the spirit and personality of this land.

The light is so contrasting when you're standing in the cool of the canyon looking up at the red rock walls towering above you; that it is a tough job for a photog of my ability to capture the scene.

Maybe, that's a proper thing too. It somehow denies the spectacular nature of this land... if you can truly capture its beauty and impact in a photograph. I can only give you a taste... a sliver of the flavor...

This is a land you must get out of your car... away from your computer screen and see it, experience it... taste it on your tongue and in your nostrils.

Feel the breeze on your face...breathe in the scent of the pines and cottonwoods... listen to the creek flowing over the stones in the streambed... hear only the sound of your own footfalls on the trail...

It is canyons like this that are truly soul healing... if you open up your heart and mind to their power...

Don't misunderstand me here... I'm not speaking some sort of weird, foo foo earth worship... I'm talking about the nature of the human spirit. As the body needs food, water and air to breathe... your spirit, your very soul needs nourishment as well... It Requires it or as your body will perish without water... so will your Soul...





We too often ignore what was put here for us... as we care for our bodies we fail to have equal consideration for our spirits. I believe our souls require, for the nourishment to survive, the peace and energy they absorb from the solitude of peaceful, retreats to far country.

Moving up this trail I started noticing... every time I came around another bend in the path, I'd look up and another smile would spread across my face and a feeling of; :"This... this is where and how I belong" would echo in my mind.

I wondered about that as I walked... and it came to me... this is the closest a man can come to Heaven on Earth. Living on the land, living In the land... reveling in it... for those fleeting moments when you manage to escape the grasping of a merciless world... and truly see the glorious life that was made for us... if we only summon the will to reach out and grasp it!

*Along Taylor Creek in Zion*
 That's what a person has to do... steel their will, summon whatever it takes and LIVE! Put your boots on the trail...


Cast aside all those worries and torments the world saddles you with and find the joy that IS HERE!

Ahhhh... Words and photographs can't do places such as Taylor Creek Canyon true justice...

For a battered spirit and weary soul it is a place... that doesn't heal the wounds... those stay for ever... but what it does do... is yield up a strength from somewhere inside you, so that the wounds and worries of this life fade to insignificance.

What can I say? The deserts of Utah are possessed with a special ability to touch a man's spirit.

I've been asked many times; "Of all the places you've traveled... what's your favorite?"

It's most usually a question I can't answer... It'd be like replying; "This... is the favorite of my children." There can be no favorites... except for the place you are at the moment. Yet, It is an easy thing, while you're in Zion... to think in terms of Favorite.

Either way, the place is possessed of a special power... some unseen source that imparts a feeling of peace and serenity... it is simply Awesome.





Now don't get me wrong... it isn't all miracle. You can't wander through thinking of your IRA... your boss... your mortgage, your aching spine... the fight with your mother in law... the agonizing strife in the world... all the worries that batter you...

You must for a time, close those out of your thoughts and just yield to your senses for a bit... Stop on the trail... close your eyes and just listen... the gurgling of the stream... the soft rushing of the wind in the cottonwoods... the sheer and awesome silence in a quiet thicket...


One mistake in a place like this is to try to see the Whole...

That is almost impossible. Like trying to capture it ALL in a photo...

This is the sort of place that you focus in on the parts that build the whole...

It's that one step at a time, one day at a time philosophy.

And if you can have a few days in a row like this one, how awesome would that life be!


Though such places as this are truly wondrous when you walk along their paths... alone... lost in your own thoughts, looking up at the walls above you... and the shady twists in front of you on the canyon floor...




Sharing the trail with a good friend is as fulfilling and wondrous...



At the far end of our trail we stopped in the shade of the Alcove to take our lunch... A Raven or two were soaring and calling overhead...

A few other hikers came and quickly went... and the place was left to us alone...




But... as with all good things we had to leave... though the trail is behind us, the memory of this glorious place will remain with us always...

There is a glorious life out there to be had. No matter how much others tell you that you need to sit back and wait. That now is not the time... you must be patient...

I say; "If not Now... When?"

I say; "Patience gets you older with far fewer sweet memories." I say; "I'll LIVE NOW... Who knows if my tomorrow will ever come?!!!"




OK... I've GOT to draw a line or this post will be TOO huge. :) the good pictures just go on and on... I'll save a few for some day down the road this winter maybe... when I've got nothing else to talk about... like that'll happen right? ;)



The Taylor Creek Canyon trail is a sweet 2 1/2 miles in and then a turn around and back out... Total a five mile walk in some of the most gorgeous and spirit feeding country you can imagine. If your soul needs a boost come here and spend a day; You won't regret it. Not for a minute.



*Along Taylor Creek in Zion*

*Climbing the steps back out at the Taylor Canyon Trailhead*

An amazing day...
Brian

9 comments:

Mark Johnson said...

Man, CowBoy... fall came earlier this year. Last year leaves were just beginning to turn in early November.
Those maples are just wonderful. Nice photos. Sorry to hear you feel the need to move on before we get there. Normally (with a few exceptions) November is glorious In Zion's "basement."
Box Canyon Mark... leaving tomorrow morning.

Brian said...

Mark; well, we're not leaving exactly yet ;) just probably the "in park" camp... We'll likely hang in the area for another week... Have to be in Phoenix for our NASCAR jobs something like the fourth ... When do you figure to get to Virgin?

Brian said...

Oh yeah... And the turn is just starting really, up higher ... There's plenty left there and in the lower reaches ;)

Sharlotte said...

Brian, love the pictures of your hike. Could you tell me what kind of tree that is in your photos that is a reddish color? The trees are so pretty.

Teri said...

Zion is a special place, I had some pretty bizarre dreams when I was there. To me its a spiritual place.

Brian said...

Sharlotte; Those would be the Big tooth maples. Some call 'em Canyon Maples. Mostly grow in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Kinda catch your attention don't they? :)

Teri; I can't argue with you. One way or another this country will get inside you.

Gaelyn said...

Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, they are all special places if people slow down enough to enjoy the NOW.

When visitors ask me which is my favorite park, I always answer with the one I'm at.

The colors are awesome there while ours is just about gone. I'll be pulling off the Kaibab on Monday.

Mark Johnson said...

CowBoy,
We plan on camping our way across Utah if the weather holds... and it looks like it will... arriving in the area a few days ahead of November. The Snowbird rate doesn't start till Nov. first :((

Zion's campgrounds are great, but we discovered that they are so close to the mountain that this time of the year the sun doesn't really come up soon enough for us, that and it's chilly. That's why we always camp west of Zion, in Virgin... either at the RV Resort, or boon docking. I Love the early sun it gets... and the late sun too. There are a couple of boon docking spots near there if you need one... call or email.
And glad to hear we are not missing the fall show!
thanks, we leave in a few hours for Moab country. I hope Goldie is an oldie but goodie.
mark and bobbie

Lisa said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. I expect to be hiking this very trail in a couple of days. I consider Nature to be my church and it sounds like a wonderful place to worship her peace and beauty.

Lisa