We took a drive over to Utah this past month to explore the wonders of Zion National Park. It is everything I ever heard it to be. Such an incredible place of beauty and awe. I’d say this place is more enjoyable than the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but don’t stop me just yet. If you have never been there, well watch the video and get a little taste of what is in store for you the next time you happen to make a trek across the state of Utah. Recently we took a helicopter ride out in one of those helo tours in the South Rim, but this experience was something else. It was monsoon season, so showers hit and flash flooded popular areas like the Narrows, but as you can see people were still wading through with their children.
I’d have to bitch and complain about some of the tourists. If you travel once or twice a year, I can see where people feel a bit of entitlement. They save up their cash for the perfect vacation and for fuck sake nobody is going to ruin it. So you have to deal with the “me first” attitudes out in the open. As a photographer I can attest to dealing with self entitled assholes, but here they come in droves. At least the majority of the time it is a pleasant experience, people are moving and generally stay out of your way, but at night some of them feel like they own the place.
Zion Lodge happened to be the place we stayed for a few days. The sun rises around 5AM and as soon as you hit the outdoors the deer are already on the front lawn grazing away seemingly unfazed by the tourists taking photos. Here are some helpful tips.
Tip 1. Take a pack that has it’s own water pouch. Fill it up with ice and just let it melt throughout your hike. Make sure theres jerky or protein bars in the pack as well. Anything like chocolate or whatever is going to melt unless you keep it near the icy water pouch in your pack.
Tip 2. Get some water shoes. Whatever the hell they are called, if you go hiking in the narrows, you’re either going to get your shoes all wet, or you will be taking your shoes off, and then all kinds of tom foolery will ensue. Believe me, invest in the water shoes. They are pretty expensive, but damn do they help. Plus your socks won’t be wet and uncomfy all day. Believe me, my feet were sore from the sharp rocks in the river.
Tip 3. If you’re going to document this adventure, be sure to have a camera that can mount to some sort of chest strap or helmet strap. If it is gimbal enabled, then it will give you better footage. The point here is that unless you have a buddy that is willing to hold your expensive gear, then you’ll want to be able to use both hands. I saw lots of clumsy people falling over themselves, and you don’t want that to happen when you’re way up one of those big rocks. You could tumble to your death.
Tip 4. Wake up early and gtfo to breakfast as soon as possible. Get your energy up because once you get out to any of the stops to which ever rock you’re going to explore, the walk will be strenuous but worth it. I saw people hiking with flip flops, and I am like what the hell??!! Take comfortable shoes as you’ll be on your feet for most of the day.
Tip 5. Bring a flash light! Nothing comes in handy than a flash light to see your way through a dark evening in Zion. It gets dark. You won’t be able to see your way without one, so bring a couple for you and your friends.
When you get there, just have fun and get into your zen. Some tourists can be obnoxious, so pop some headphones in and leave it to the good music to guide you. You won’t have much of a cel phone signal, but for fuck sake toss that phone away. Try not to take photos with your cell phone for one damn day and enjoy the sights. That should be tip number one for sure.