too much beauty!

this post is also featured on Travel. Write. Repeat.

Twice, in as many months, I have heard the title of this post uttered and have now adopted it as an essential descriptive phrase to use when beholding beauty that nearly hurts my eyes.

I first heard it in the British Virgin Islands when the transparently blue/green water and the scores of rainbow fish got to be just too beautiful to see over and over again (yeah, I am really not complaining here...) and one of my travel partners on that trip longed to see "the grayness of Newark" (well, she said that, but of course no one longs to see Newark)... anyway... I uttered the same phrase again while in Zion.

I'd like to think I have visited epic locales-- oceans, cities & mountains known for their beauty-- but I had not yet seen anything like Zion National Park.
Let me tell you now, any pictures you see, even the professional ones do not capture, in the slightest, what you will witness in person.

The Park, that welcomes three million visitors a year, is divided into 4 sections--all with gorgeous views, scenic drives and hikes for every level of mountaineer.

1.Zion Canyon containing: the Emerald Pools (that Jean, Rachel and I hiked), Angels Landing (the steepest hike in the entire park and upon your completion, if you have the energy to to make it back down, can buy a t-shirt proclaiming your victory ascent and The Narrows which has been voted by National Geographic as in the top 10 of their best 100 hikes in the Nation.

2.Kolob Canyons known for the famous Kolob Arch that is shown in many Zion pamphlets.

picture courtesy of First Light Photographs

3.Kolob Terrace: with the well known, yet challenging Subway hike. Parts of this hike travel through naturally made mountain tunnels and in some parts require partial or depending on the time of year (like last week while I was in Zion) total submersion and swimming into cold water.

photo courtesy of

4. Highway 9 that includes the Tunnel-- a spectacular scenic drive that leads to the South side of the Park.

Zion is a massive area and my time there was for exploring the park, but also for my friend's wedding (which was IN the park and was GORGEOUS) which did not allow me excess time to get all of the hikes in I had wanted. Next time I go back, the Subway hike is first on my list.

Now that you know a little bit about Zion, and my original purpose of the trip... let me display some of my favorite pictures and accompanying stories.

Hiking around various areas of the Canyon we found ourselves in dry river beds full of ... sand? Yep. Some of the softest sand to ever have passed in between my toes! The mountain rocks are all Sandstone (some of the largest amount anywhere in the World actually) and the Virgin River, over time, has eroded parts down into, well, sand.

We came across a family of Mountain goats while hiking and I didn't zoom on this shot--we were this close.

This was the lodge we stayed at, just outside of the Park. The views were incredible and a free shuttle ran every 10 minutes to take you either into town or into the Park (of course we had our stealth Hybrid (see part 1). Us 3 girls shared a giant room with 2 queen beds, a queen sleeper sofa a nearly full kitchen and a deck overlooking the heated pool.

On one of our hikes...

Scenery shot! Too much beauty!!!!

I swear-- it was not easy to climb up here even though it looks like it'd be pretty easy...

This concludes part II of the Zion trip... but there is more to come... and take a read of part I if you haven't yet.