We left Bryce Canyon in a rain/hail/snow storm and headed on to Zion. And we found almost unrelenting rain in Zion. We found a site in the South Campground, set up the tent, and started lunch before the downpour was upon us again. We went to the visitor’s center to mill around and inquire about backpacking. We went into the town of Springdale to buy a few things at the outrageously-priced supermarket. We went in search of firewood in case things cleared up. We found a cute coffee shop and got a treat. Then, the clouds broke again and we decided to go hiking. By the time we got to the visitor’s center to catch the shuttle to the trailhead, it was pouring rain harder than before. Then we sat in the car, trying to decide what to do. Then we drove back to the campground where I sat in the car, writing, and Alex rigged up two tarps over our tent to try and create a cooking space.
I must admit, on one hand I felt extremely wimpy and lame being deterred from a short hike because of a non-threatening rainstorm. But, on the other hand the thought of going out to knowingly get drenched and cold and then come back to sleep in a tent when it’s in the 20’s at night sounded…well, not like vacation at all.
“This feels like a waste of a day,” I told Alex as we sat in the car eating copious amounts of jellybeans.
In the early evening it stopped raining. We went for a drive.
The clouds were low over Zion’s red and black monoliths. A mist dropped into crevices in the rock and rain drops lingered on the plants. As we took in Zion after the rains, I could feel my attitude changing. Something in us made us look at the park in a reminiscent light: it felt like East Africa and a Costa Rican jungle cloud forest all at once. I have no idea why, and as all the good feelings of those places jostled around in me, I didn’t care to figure it out. We couldn’t stop looking up as the clouds shifted, hugging the rocks even tighter. The park was quiet and big and mysterious in its cloud cloak.
With the rock faces as backdrops we started taking silly pictures, just passing the time with no schedule or obligations to stick to. It was, in the end, probably my favorite day in Zion, beautiful and simple like a new place should be.