In the middle of the seemingly barren deserts of Utah lies Zion National Park, an oasis of sorts fully equipped with breathtaking views of canyons as red as rust and rivers that rush over polished stones. From the parking lot on the outskirts of the park, tourists can take a shuttle ride to different hiking and sightseeing locations. Through this shuttle ride alone, travelers are fully immersed in the flora and fauna of Zion. Nature unapologetically thrives here—from large herds of deer grazing on the side of the road fully at peace, to wild turkeys gobbling back at excited humans, to the low lying shrubs of the desert.
One of the shuttle stops, a place called The Narrows, boasts an incredible hiking experience. A short trail that winds playfully alongside a river eventually turns into the water. Hikers must channel the adventurers within themselves and wade through the river itself, stepping on loose stones and soft currents.
As a resident of Los Angeles, I was startled by the stark differences between The Narrows and the hikes I had been on at home. The green and brown mountains I was used to were swapped for towering red canyons, and the views of the distant Pacific Ocean were swapped for a walk across an actual river. Never had I seen such a large number of wild animals so thoroughly and peacefully integrated in a location full of human activity. Zion National Park was a perfect change of pace from anything I had been used to, and it truly brought out the adventure within me. It was more than just a hiking experience, with a clear trail that was cut to keep the landscape at arm’s length—it was a chance to be fully immersed in nature itself.