Unimaginable

Just as I stand speechless when privileged to view the natural treasures of this nation, I am beyond words when told that protection of our environment is less important than other economic interests addressed in the federal budget. How can that be? What amount of money, what project, what pressures, what argument for or against climate change, is of greater value than being awestruck by the wonders that have dazzled for centuries? Have we lost our sensibilities for that which is not man-made? Do we feel no responsibility for walking lightly on this earth, protecting humans and animals and plants from the carelessness we seem willing to tolerate from industry? We are fearful of so much these days; why are we not fearful of compromises to our air and water? We want governmental protection of our borders; why do we not demand government protection of our land?

The incredible nature photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984) said it for me: “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” Horrifying, and completely unimaginable.

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Zion

SBHc - 95.jpgWhether you choose to define Zion as a heavenly place or a refuge, you’re right. Emerging from the tunnel on the east side of this vast park, you are met with the above introduction to Zion Canyon; the distant road seen at the bottom of the photo leads you there. Every moment spent in this incredible place offers grandeur, color, drama, serenity and wonder, and the opportunity to engage with nature beyond imagination. We barely touched the park’s offerings, and daily blessed those who had the foresight, political will and determination to establish and ensure protection of this national treasure for all of us.SBHc - 88SBHc - 128.jpgMay 9, 2016_126_SBH_160509_MESBHc - 48SBHc - 159

Zion just around the bend…

We approached Zion National Park from its east side, traveling west from Mt. Carmel Junction, on SR 9. “Scenic” isn’t a fair description of the drive; “jaw-dropping” suits me better. Once reaching the park entrance, an additional 12 miles on beautifully paved red roads delivered us to the heart of the park, through land so indescribably foreign I could have considered myself misplaced to Mars. Watching skies that offered both threatening and gorgeous weather, switchbacks led us to higher elevations past rock formations of sculptured sand, and finally (after so many “what’s next?” moments) a mile long tunnel spilled us out into Zion Canyon. Zion Park was just around the bend…SBHc - 71SBHc - 198Zion_124_SBH_160522_MEZion_122_SBH_160522_MESBHi - 20SBHi - 34SBHc - 72

The Road to Zion

I’m speaking of Zion National Park, of course. The driving distance from Sedona, AZ to Zion in SW Utah, is 266 miles, about 4.5 hour driving time if one doesn’t have to stop every few miles to gape in wonder. We met very little traffic, had a sunny, clear day, and an incredible variety of topography to appreciate. We kept imagining the early travelers west, those in covered wagons, who must have been stunned daily by what they had to contend with and saw yet ahead. They were awesome people; we were just awestruck people.Sedona-Zion best -1Sedona-Zion best -3Sedona-Zion best -5Sedona-Zion best -6Sedona-Zion best -8Sedona-Zion best -13Sedona-Zion best -15