ZION : A Place of Refuge
Zion, not the fictional capitol of the machines in the Matrix, but Utah’s oldest National Park is a unique space within the Southwest created by natural forces over a time period unfathomable by the human mind. The plateau, the canyon, and the many side canyons some so narrow you can barely slip through them offer a beautiful landscape while an elevation change of 5000′ within the park offers a rich biodiversity of plants, animals, and even climate patterns. What a place to visit and experience. The unique geology served as a sanctuary to indigenous people like the Anasazi who were eventually displaced by European Americans in the 18th century then settled by Mormons fleeing religious persecution in the East. This far West natural fortress was their refuge and they named it, “Zion” which translates into “place of refuge” , they also named many of the prominent rock formations and landmarks whose familiar names remain to this day. General historical information about the area can be found here. My visits and hikes within the park from the East along with many other spaces in the West left me seeking refuge also. It has been many years since my last visit there, my children were young and as I hoped it seems to have left an impression and a yearning for wild places on them, especially my daughter who visited it twice in the last several years hiking, backpacking, and canyoneering.