28 February 2009

Heaven on Earth

Sixteen years ago I went on a trip to Moab with my new boyfriend. I was smitten and I was also very nervous about the trip because I did not want to mess anything up! So we hopped in his red Jeep with his Malamute, Moose, in the back and headed off over the Rocky's to Moab.

Three years later we were married at a Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Of all our wedding plans the choice of where to get married took the longest. We settled on the Ranch because it was close to us and my parents, not in the mountains (we were getting married in February after all and we did not want to get snowed out!!), not too big, and it was beautiful!

We don't always do something for our anniversary but this year it seemed important. We had signed up for a conference in Las Vegas for late February. So we tacked on a couple of days and headed to Zion National Park.

It was named Zion because of how breathtakingly beautiful it is, kind of like heaven on earth. We drove up through AZ and into Utah then wound our way up into some of the most impressive mountains Ihave seen. Highway nine and through the mile long tunnel they carved into the rock mountain to our destination- the Zion Mountain Ranch.

We passed deer on the way and three other times on the trip, and they have Buffalo on the Ranch that wander around in the field in front of the cabins. We also passed wild turkeys but hubby was not impressed with them!
We checked into our cabin just before sunset.
There was a fresh blanket of snow which rarely happens, but it was around 45 F (almost summer to a New Englander!) so we sat on thr porch swing and took it all in!

The next day we hiked, and hiked, and hiked!

It was wonderful. We started with the easy but very rewarding Overlook Trail. Then we drove up the scenic road (which only allows shuttle buses in the summer) and hiked the Emerald Pools Trails, TheRiver Trail that goes up to the narrows, and the Weeping Rock Trail.

It is a very special time of year because the snow melt causes beautiful waterfalls, and pools of water collect in the beautiful dessert environment.
We were pleasantly surprised how many others were enjoying the park. Usually when we go places in the off-season you can hear crickets it is so empty and quiet!

We had a great lunch at Oscars in Springdale as recommended by one of the previous guests who had left their recommendation in a guest book left in the room. (I love that!) Then we watched the sunset again after having stopped for a little refreshment. It is Utah so choices are VERY limited. We got some beer. Turns out it was 3.2 (you think I would know this!). The sunset was nice though!

Before heading out the next day we went for a morning horseback ride. Art hadn't been on a horse since he was about five years old, and it didn't go well... Horse properties are a large part of our town and about 20% of our medical calls are horse related. So I was very pleased that he would go! We had a great time! The views were beautiful, Art's horse was very gentle, and the weather was perfect!


Renna said...

Shannon, the pictures are breathtaking! It sounds like such a lovely and romantic way to spend your anniversary, or any other time for that matter. ;-)

Happy anniversary! :-)

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! Looks like you had a good time!

nikkicrumpet said...

Well happy anniversary. I love Zions...there is so much to see and it's such beautiful country! And what a great place for a horseback ride! Sounds like you guys had a great time. And the pictures REALLY made me miss my Utah home!

jan said...

This brought back some memories of a camping trip to Zion NP many years ago. It was August and we had few shots without people in them. We've always meant to go back in the winter.

Shannon said...

Renna- Thank you. We did have a wonderful time!
Yvonne- I take about a thousand pictures to get a few (hopefully)good shots ;)
Nikki- Utah is so beautiful! We used to camp all around that area when I was growing up. I didn't know you lived there, too! Small world!
Jan- We were trying to imagine how busy and full of people it gets in the summer! I do enjoy off-season travel though :)

Uncivil said...

Oh my gosh...I've got to get out more!!!LOL
I've never been anywhere like that in my entire life! I'm spellbound!
I've always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, but Wow!!!! Zion looks like the place to go!

Farm Chick Paula said...

Wow- what a gorgeous place!
The black and white picture looks very Ansel Adams-ish!