Zion is a Hebrew word meaning "place of refuge," Isaac Behunin, a Mormon who was the first American of European descent to settle in the Virgin River canyon, chose the name.
Utah's most-visited national park is a top-tier NPS site, and it reminded me of another, Yosemite National Park. Zion has its canyon, Yosemite has the Merced River valley. Although Zion's mountains, most noticeable of course from the canyon floor, are sandstone, Yosemite's are of granite.
In both parks the river and its environs is where the people congregate.
In many of my upcoming Utah posts I will be making passing references to the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. It is impossible to write about the state without mentioning the predominant faith of Utah, they were of course the first settlers to state and Mormons dominate Utah's political structure--only two of its governors have not been Mormon. When you are the first literate residents of an area, you have the honor of naming everything, which is why Utah has so many religious place-names. But I don't want to get bombarded by blog comments in regards to theological discussions about Mormonism--if you feel the urge, go ahead, I will be the only person to see the comment--I won't post them.
I had only met a handful of Mormons until this trip--the Mormons abandoned Illinois after Joseph Smith's murder in Nauvoo. I view them as honest, resourceful, and genuinely friendly people, which is pretty much how I thought of them beforehand. First impressions are often correct.
But let's return to Zion. One interesting feature: Except for the south entrance, traffic tie-ups are not a problem during peak travel months--because a fleet of buses take visitors to the popular Zion Canyon sites; riders listen to recordings about the passing points of interest.
Arizona's White Mesa and roadside stands
The dogs of Kayenta
Monument Valley at sunrise
Monument Valley at sunset
The road to Monument Valley
The monument is closed and in the wrong spot
More of Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park and the Ancients
Gerald R. Ford Memorial Highway
Flatlanders battle the Rocky Mountains and a car gets altitude sickness
Buffalo Bill's gravesite
Buffalo Bill's Scout's Rest Ranch
My rattlesnake sighting
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