Sunday, June 22, 2008

Zion National Park

Left Las Vegas and the heat but did not leave the desert behind although it changed color from mostly brown with some reds mixed in to mostly red with some white and brown mixed in.

We are in Mt. Carmel, UT, a jumping off place for visiting Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Although it gets pretty warm here in the afternoons – around 90, the night times so far are blissful with temps around 50.

Up and out the door early Saturday morning in order to beat the other tourists to tour Zion National Park.

Lots and lots of years ago this area was all sand dunes. Eventually, still lots of years ago, a sea covered the dunes. The water from the sea solidified the dunes so that when the sea receded, still lots of years ago, what was left was sandstone. This soft sandstone was carved by the Virgin River and today we have Zion National Park. This is the most simplified, and probably most inaccurate, geology lesson that you will ever have.
Water not only flows through the river but drips from the canyon walls where hanging gardens grow. When it rains, the sandstone walls of the canyon absorb water and as the water percolates downward over time (a shorter time than lots of years) it finds sandstone that is totally saturated and so the water finds it's way out and down the outside of the canyon walls.
This is a true oasis in the midst of the desert.
The word Zion is a Hebrew word for refuge and very appropriately applied to this place.

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