This place is my sanctuary. Millions of visitors visit this place every year, but I grew up nearby. When we would go to the mountain, we would look down on Zion. When we were lucky enough, we were actually in Zion. My mom used to go to the swimming pool in Zion. They were a traveling family, they lived on Cedar mountain in the summer and town ( Cedar City, Utah ) during the school year. So, a trek to Zion to a swimming pool was a big deal. The swimming pool has never existed during my lifetime and now if you want to swim in a chlorinated pool, you can book a nice hotel in Springdale, Utah. There are many hotels which look desirable to me, but I’m not a tourist so I’ve got options/obligations. 🙂 In 1993, I was lucky enough to wake up every day in this place when I worked and lived inside the park. I was a fast food worker. I cashiered and cleaned tables all day, upon finishing my daily tasks, I, smelling of greasy fast food, would engage in any kind of hiking explorations I could think of. I encountered a really fun fit girl who later became my roommate and that made all the difference. We had a fun friendship that consisted of trying to wake up early every morning to enjoy the really nice hotel buffet breakfast available to employees free before a certain early hour each day or the standard room and board fare later in the morning. We managed to make it to the feast about once a week, but we tried daily. Then, we’d be off to work and we’d hook up again after our shifts for crazy hiking escapades together or with other employees. Since we were both Mormons, we stuck together and explored most of the time on our own wave length, which meant awesome awesome hikes. Before and since, I am a regular visitor to Zion. In fact, when I am not at Zion I am usually talking about Zion. These photos were taken on July 26, 2014. It was an overcast day and I even had goose bumps when we got going. Since there was a chance of rain, we had a slight change of plans and we went on the Emerald Pools trail instead of going into the Virgin river to enter the Narrows from below. Emerald Pools trail is a great option for most fitness levels. Probably the lower pool is even handicapped accessible, but the rest will require stairs and minor obstacles. Anyone mildly fit who visits Zion should go on this gorgeous trail at least once.