Zion National Park and Snow Canyon, April 2017

At times, Zion felt somewhat like a more rustic version of Disney World. Our campsite was a roped-off gravel plot surrounded by similar sites filled with people. We also had cell service. It definitely wasn’t the off-the-grid wilderness experience I usually look forward to when going on a camping trip. Something good did come out of this though because it forced me to really appreciate the silent moments where I found myself alone in the overwhelming beauty of Zion. I’ll share something that I wrote in my journal the third day of our trip.

“Exploring nature without an agenda, without a time limit, a destination, a goal… is:



allows you appreciate nature more

especially if you are by yourself.”

Some of the hikes we went on felt rushed. I found myself thinking, “I may never be able to come back here, so I really want to spend the time to fully appreciate where I am.” At some points on the trip I felt like we were just being pushed along on a hike with the only goal of reaching the end and turning around again. Travelling with a semi-large group comes with its ups and down. One of many ups include seeing how a diverse group of people can come together to appreciate things like watching the stars in awe at how huge the universe is.

In addition, having a functioning phone made it a lot more difficult to fully immerse myself in the present moment, something I usually welcome with open arms when going on any type of camping trip. Each time I turned my phone on at the end of the day to check in with my family, I felt myself being split into two. Physically, I was in a beautiful place, probably about to eat a warm meal or look for shooting stars. However, my mind would be torn between that experience and thoughts of my family or wherever else my cellular communication took me. This obvious mental conflict that arose from using my phone in nature makes me think  about how often I use my phone in daily life and how often it must split me into a million different directions each type I use it (which is very often). No wonder I get distracted so easily and often feel like there are a bunch of thoughts flying around in my head that I can’t keep track of. Every time I check my phone my mind moves away from what I’m actually doing to whatever is on my phone, and then I expect my mind to go right back to what I was doing before. Oh, technology. I wonder if I will ever find a balance (as I write this on my laptop with Spotify playing in the background with my iPhone sitting obediently next to my computer.)

I may add some more thoughts I had while on my trip this past weekend at a later time, but for now here are some (of the 900) photos I took on the trip.

A summary of my trip:

  • Travelled through four states (California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah).
  • Passed through Las Vegas for the first time (probably the most time I’ll ever spend in Las Vegas.)
  • Hiked to Observation Point.
  • Watched the sunrise after hiking Watchman’s trail.
  • Hiked the Emerald Pool’s Trail.
  • Camped, explored rocks, and ate pancakes in Snow Canyon State park (where cover photo was taken).
  • Saw my first rattlesnake.
  • Met an amazing group of about 15 USD students.
  • Saw around 7 shooting stars.
  • Took over 900 photographs.


3 thoughts on “Zion National Park and Snow Canyon, April 2017

  1. Hi – Jerry Stivers here. Your Dad has proudly passed your blogs for me to see.
    Before I go on, you may recall that I’m
    a professional writer & photographer
    (all that means is that I get paid when I sell one of my books on Amazon or a
    black&white photo at the St.Pete frames
    & prints/photos & paintings shop).
    I just wanted you to know that you are
    doing good writing and nicely composed
    photography. But, don’t let a blog or a camera get in front of the studies part of why you are in college. But keep on keeping on with both of these extracurricular activities.

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