Preparing for our first camping trip to Zion National Park over Thanksgiving was rather challenging. Never before had we planned on spending Thanksgiving away from our families, but this year was different. All of our immediate family members were off visiting their in-laws and it seemed fitting that we take advantage of the opportunity to travel someplace new. I passed through Zion as a teenager with my dad and best friend/cousin, so it was etched on my soul for every year thereafter. I had wanted to take my wife out there the first year we were married and its amazing how it only took 11 years to make it out happen. Again, this time was different. My two sons were old enough to make the most of the freezing cold evenings, treacherous hikes in the valley and roughing it with campfire roasted turkey. We planned ahead with acquiring cold weather gear through a friend who works at one of my favorite brands Patagonia and were pleasantly surprised at how well you can do in low 20s with Capilene, a Synchilla, a Nano-Puff and a Down Puffer; throw in a beanie and some local beer and you are set.
Mornings were brutal as the temperatures seemed to drop as soon as we stepped out of the tent. The wind picked up and had a way of slipping under your shirt and choking you out as you tried to sip on your already cold coffee… Nonetheless, mid-morning was the best time to head out and explore the valley and all its nooks and crannies. We had success hiking the local trails like Hidden Canyon, Weeping Rock, the River Walk to the Narrows and some little off-shoots throughout the lower park. Only did we succeed when we headed out of the park through the tunnels and pulled off the side of the road to explore a dried out river bed and make a commitment to explore a tributary that ended up being a nice remote slot canyon. We hiked up it as far as we could and were pleasantly surprised at how awesome it was to be away from the crowds of the valley. It was so serene it was almost spooky. My oldest boy had a hard time adjusting to the quiet and longed to see another hiker. We have grown too familiar to human community that it takes time to unwind and truly embrace the isolation that nature offers. Our nerves soon quieted down as we sat and studied the geology, flora and fauna that had engulfed our tiny beings.
A couple things that caught my attention through all of our explorations were the amazing colors and textures that hide beneath the grand beauty of all the sweeping views and towering mesas, plateaus and canyons. Too easily can you look past the details that make Zion so beautiful and distinct. I found solace in those details and figured I could use these inspirations for future projects, patterns, palettes and whatnots. Documenting the sandstone, lichen, geology scars and randomness of the valley served a purpose and will soon creep its way into our practice. Below you will a find glimpse into the details that we were so captivated by and ultimately documented and imprinted onto our souls.