Zion had been on my bucket list for a few years, so I was excited when we booked lodging in 2021. We almost canceled this trip entirely when Tino quit his job but decided to go anyway for a little retreat treat.
What's pretty neat about this road trip is that you drive through 3 states from California. Our Friday drive was about 10 hours long - we made several stops, and traffic was pretty bad through Nevada. We arrived at the lodge close to midnight, and it was dark! We live in DTLA, close to Staples Center (Crypto.com Arena, lol), so it's pretty jarring adjusting to a night without light pollution.
We woke up early the next morning to avoid the afternoon heat and hiked the Sand Beach trail along the canyon. As the name states, this trail was 90% deep sand, but you don't find this out until you reach the loop. Hiking Tip: Go clockwise around the loop. There are concrete patches to help walking uphill, and you can walk downhill in the sandy section.
We flipped a coin, went counterclockwise, and hiked uphill, ankle-deep in sand. I would describe it as walking near an ocean while going up a mountain. It's a workout. The views were spectacular, I definitely would recommend if you want to see the canyon at a higher elevation and the Court of Patriarchs, named after Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. The trail also has a variation of plants and wildlife - we ran into a lot of squirrels and deer.
Being more attentive in choosing film stocks was my lesson for this trip. I don't know why I decided to take my half-frame camera and load it with Fuji 400h, but I did. I love 400h, but I don't think it did Zion justice. The background in most of the shots came out with cooler tones than I expected. What I was most disappointed about was that the film stock muted the red Navajo sandstone Zion is known for, so my scans didn't seem true to life to me.