About Zion, artist Frederick S. Dellenbaugh wrote “One hardly knows just how to think of it. Never before has such a naked mountain of rock entered our minds. Without a shred of disguise its transcendent form rises pre-eminent. There is almost nothing to compare to it. Niagara has the beauty of energy; the Grand Canyon of immensity; the Yellowstone of singularity; the Yosemite of altitude; the ocean of power; this Great Temple of eternity.” (A New Valley of Wonders, Scribner’s Magazine, 1904).
We often forget that not so long ago, people used to live in symbiosis with such beautiful and rich environments. In Zion, human habitation started about 8000 years ago with small family groups of Native Americans. Not even 150 years ago, Mormons settled in the area, giving the place it’s current name, Zion, a biblical word meaning a place of peace and refuge.
Since the area became a National Park in 1909, humans are no longer a part of the symbiosis of nature. Leave nothing but your footsteps, take nothing but pictures. Humans are now visitors, passers-by, spectators of the park. Like in a museum or a zoo, people are going there to look at the beauty of it. Nevertheless, we feel that the only way to feel the immensity and the greatness of nature in Zion (and all the parks) is by hiking, and the longer and farther away the hike is, the best sense of nature you get.