|Everything in Zion NP takes life from the Virgin River. It carves canyons, melts solid rock into cliffs and towers. It's origin is the top of the Colorado Plateau. The Grand Staircase is a series of cliffs and slopes beginning with the Colorado Plateau with the Grand Canyon forming the lowest rung of the staircase. It is there the Virgin River joins the Colorado River. The geology in this area is simple: Navajo sandstone(white), add rust(iron), and borite(hardening agent). Limestone lies on the "bottom floor" as residue from the ocean once covering these sand dunes. This is a sanctuary in the desert. Early Native American residents, Paiutes, and the Mormon pioneers are responsible for giving faith based names to the formations. In fact, the name Zion is a Hebrew word for refuge. Animal life and farming grow best at Zion's elevations. After scoping out the park map and guide, we selected a week's worth of hikes. So far, so good. Trails are designed to prevent unintended human destruction. Water, good shoes, dressed in layers(AM temps-42; midday 75) and a backpack filled with other "essentials". Emerald Pools was the longest and most difficult thus far. It is classified as a moderate hike! I'm going to work on improving photography. The landscape is vast-far greater in height and width than the camera eye. Enjoy these pics; let's see how the next one's look. This is day 4. We took a break by driving to Bryce Canyon. Come back for something totally different!