Friday, 15 May 2015

Day 7 - Monday 20th April

(The view from the top of our first hike at Zion National Park, looking over the incredible landscape.)
Zion, what a gorgeous name for such an amazing place. There are many different meanings to the word ‘Zion’, but one of the most common is ‘dry place’, however, Zion National Park is more like an oasis in the desert. The National Park is made up of 229 sq. miles of land in Utah, made up of mixed landscapes, from forests and mountains, to waterfalls and rivers. The views are breath-taking and beautiful, and it seemed to be a very family friendly location. Zion seems to be ideal for ‘city families’ to escape to, to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and get back to nature. Because of this, the park is very user friendly, with handrails, footpaths, roads and a shuttle bus to allow easy access. Does this indicate this isn’t wilderness anymore? Zion seems to be a fabricated, accessible wilderness. In some ways, it verges of becoming a themepark, with shuttlebuses which call out things to look for, creating a fake experience.
(Driving around Zion, the roads make the experience much more accessible.)
 I noticed that the majority of people tended to be around the Zion Lodge, nearer to civilization and ‘necessities’. This however takes away from the idea of being at one with and fully immersing into nature, meaning that people actually have a much less authentic experience of the wilderness. The only way you’d be able to have a genuine experience at Zion is to venture further into the park, off the beaten track, and go on the hikes less walked.
(The lawn around Zion Lodge, where a large number of visitors seem to stay close to.)

Zion has challenged what I believed to be true wilderness, an area of isolation, as it was too busy. Perhaps the idea of wilderness has changed from this, to be something which is created for people to go to pretend they are at one with nature, when deep down they are passing the time before they can escape back to the towns and cities.
(One of the trails we walked, showing how beautiful and natural the area is.)

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