Jesse Murch


Zion National Park - " I'm not ready to go home "

We arrived into Zion National park right at the tail end of golden hour, the rich cotton candy sky accented the golden cliffs in perfect form. Our eyes absorbed the scenes with deep concentration, the air was crisp but inviting. As we curved through the landscape on paved roads we took in scene after scene. Eventually we found a pull off and jumped out of the van eager to explore the landscape unclose in the fleeting moments before nightfall. The rocks formed intricate swirls and martian angles, the sand was smooth and cool with a hue of delicate orange, we spent an hour in the roadside canyon capturing what our eyes were experiencing. Once the light had receded below the mountainous horizon with climbed back into the van and proceeded through the only road that leads through Zion. We were led to a long dark tunnel that curled through a large mountain, and upon completing the tunnel were welcomed to hairpin turns of the road zig zagging back and forth down the mountain face to the valley below, once in the valley one felt as an ant must feel, everything around us seemed proper for giants. We found shelter for the night in the form of a parking lot to a campground, at this point all that was left in the deep blue sky was a blanket of twinkling diamonds and the pale moon hovering in the low horizon. We layered on jackets and hats before firing up the stoves and boiling the water that would be our source of cooking for the night. Tom manned the cooking while i wandered the parking lot looking for the idea spot to capture the night sky, upon reaching the top of the lot and turning back i was greeted by three majestic mountain tops peaking through the trees with stars peppering down upon them and the remaining trail of white exhaust from a passing prop plane, i set up and immediately knew what i wanted to capture. After hours of shooting and food in our stomachs we closed up the van and prepared for a cool night sleep among the stars and cliffs. We woke with the sun as it warmed the van and made leaving the comfort of warm blankets easier, we stumbled into a small village down the road that had a small coffee shop and eatery there to greet us. We entered and promptly made our orders eager to eat and get out on the trails. We enjoyed the hot coffee and morning conversations with locals before heading to the trail head that would lead us to a view of all of Zion, this was one of the few trails open as Zion is known for expeditions that lead you through caves and rivers alike, being around the thirties in temperature we thought that not smart and decided to strike with a dry trail blanketed in sun. As we started up the carved stairs leading upwards, still shaking off the morning cobwebs and aches that come with living out of a camper van for over a week, we talked of previous days excursions and the sad reality that this would be the last stop of the trip. The trail welcomed us over steel grated foot bridges, half caves, steep rocks, and pits of sand all the while climbing to the summit. Upon reaching the summit one could see all of Zion, from the winding roads we came in on to "Sacrifice rock" miles in the distance, named for the brilliant rusty red colors dripping down its facade. The Summit was scattered with massive boulders that stretched out from the cliffs edge, and if brave enough provided a panoramic view of the scene as your legs dangled with nothing but thousands of feet below them. Without reason or acknowledging one another we spilt and each found ourselves sitting out on these rocks, secluded from fellow hikers and each other, sitting, pondering, taking it all in. As i sat i realized how far i had come since departing from New Jersey a few days earlier, how these beautiful places really do hold a true form of magic, thee kind that transforms a person mentally as well as physically. My mind had been cleared and cleaned from everything that troubled me back home, i was truly at peace in every way for the first time in my life. I never wanted that feeling to leave, i never wanted to be anywhere other then these glorious places. I knew that upon returning home everyday life wouldn't be enough after experiencing this, i knew life was way to short not to get out and see these places and to live not just exist. We must have spent nearly four hours out on these rocks pondering life and where we needed to take our own. As we stumbled off the trails and back into the van for our last leg to Las Vegas to catch our flights back to home and reality, we couldn't help but smile and laugh knowing we truly did change out here in the midwest, knowing we stumbled and learned secrets few have a chance to. The roads that led us to the last city on our list were a bittersweet experience, in one hand we saw new landscapes once again, but in the other with every mile we took we were also a mile closer to heading back and away from the real magic that we were encompassed in. Stopping at the hover dam for one last site of wonder i threw a coin wrapped in a wish over the side in slight hope my life would end up how visioned it would be out on these roads. In conclusion to this trip i want to urge you to go out and see something grand before its to late, to travel with friends, hike a mountain that seems unattainable, talk with a stranger in a foreign place, find what you love and let it lead you, go out and live not just exist. Time is the most valuable asset we own in this life, done waste it on sitting behind a desk wishing spend it traveling and planning new and exciting adventures. I will be heading out on more road trips and adventures this summer and am currently looking for people that would like to join me in these, if interested contact me though the site. Keep traveling and stay outside.