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How to Work Zion National Park

The United States had 61 National Parks, along with a slew of national forests and monuments, federally protected land, and state parks. The vast majority of these parks resides in the Southwest. Places like Canyonlands, the Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon all make up the Arizona/Utah section filled with national parks.

The view from the Watchman Viewpoint, looking into Zion. Photo by Cady Russell.

Zion National Park is a wide canyon with massive sandstone walls of pink, white, and red created by the Virgin River in southwestern Utah. The Virgin River here is fresh from snowmelt and freezing even in the height of summer. It a smack of green in the middle of the desert.

This oasis, once long far from any major American city, now rests only two hours outside of Las Vegas. As a city with an international airport, people from around the world flock to this American wonder as they traverse the fabled ‘Great American Road Trip.’

My family did the same thing this summer. Both my parents love the outdoors. My mom grew up on an Iowa farm, growing corn and raising cattle and pigs. My dad, while born in the city, took every chance to escape the crowds and be outside in peopleless places. My parents took this love for nature and instilled in me and my brothers from a young age. By age 16, I had visited 110 national parks, monuments, and forests, along with an innumerable amount of state parks. 

A smaller amphitheater in Bryce Canyon, looking towards the Grand Canyon in the far distance. Photo by Cady Russell.

For the first half of our trip, we took to seeing peopleless places to heart. We did what many Zion adventurists did, and flew into Las Vegas. We stole my mom away from her work conference and hit the roads in a 30ft driving RV, hitting every American road trip stereotype in the process. We visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which sees about one million visitors annually, much less than the South Rim’s five million. We took ATV’s out to Peekaboo Canyon, a much harder spot to get to, with the same great slot canyon views of Antelope Canyon. We hit up Bryce Canyon, and while heavily populated with tourists, we took every hard to get to spot we could get. Bryce Canyon also has plenty of spots for visitors to spread out and see.

Zion is different. There are people everywhere. In the summer, you can only take a bus system throughout the canyon. The line to get on the bus at the visitor station looks like Disneyland. For many, this is the first real experience of the wild outdoors. But for outdoor people, it’s terrible.

Don’t get me wrong, Zion is a gorgeous place. It’s a must see on the road trip list. But if you do it wrong, people ruin the experience. On our way to the Narrows, the most popular place in the park, two young women passed us carrying a boombox. Who brings a boombox to a national park?! It’s not a city park, and by doing this, they have completely ruined the soundscape.

The line at eight am take two hours. Everyone crowds up the Narrows, which of course, is a slot canyon at the top of the park. All you hear is people talking. A picture of the park is bound to have at least one person in it. There’s too many people. There’s only about eight stops for people to get out and do, crowding people to trails. You can hardly escape the concoffany of humans in the canyon.

But how do you do Zion right? How do you take these awful parts and make it better?

First of all, you have to wake up early. The park shuttle opens at six am, and you need to be the first in line if you want to hike the Narrows. However, The Narrows requires hiking sticks and special boots to traverse through the river upstream. These can be checked out at a number of shops in Springdale, a town just outside the park’s entrance. If you want to go full peopleless backpacking and see the same thing,but even better, try the Paria Canyon. It requires you to win the backpacking permit lottery, but for the avid backpacker, it’s the way to go.

Second, if you miss the six am call, go at one pm. Not only has pretty much everyone entered the canyon and is now getting ready to leave, the Disneyland line is almost nonexistent.

Third, hit up other places too. Big Bend has no hiking trails, but one can take a short jaunt down to the Virgin River. People hardly go down to the river, and if someone does, it’s around one to two people. Much less than the hundreds that swarm The Narrows. 

The sandstone overhand at the Lower Emerald Pools. Photo by Cady Russell.

Fourth, do longer hikes. Hit up the Upper Emerald Pools, doing some minor elevation climb. Watch the sunrise from the Watchman Viewpoint in the early morning. For the more adventurous climbers, do Angels Landing and cross the narrowest pathway hundreds of feet into the air. These places lack the people wanting to see Zion from a quick walk and also lack crying kids, who while typically sweet, ruin the soundscapes.

Fifth, if entering with an RV, go through the Springdale side. The other entrance to the park has a tunnel built in the early 20th century. Large vehicles like RVs can not get in until eight am and require a pass, because they must go down the middle of the tunnel, stopping oncoming traffic. By then, the lines are too long to get into the canyon.

Zion is a wonderful place to see, but you have to do it right in order to get the true experience. Otherwise, people ruin what other people came out to do, see, and hear.

By Cady Russell, Online and Social Media Editor

Featured photo by Cady Russell

Prom From a Foreign Perspective

By Evelyn Peterson, Staff Writer

Before Prom:

Alice Massara is a foreign exchange student from Italy. She has never been to a prom because prom is an American tradition. Alice Massara tells me what she expects from prom and after the fact she told me the events of her night and whether or not her opinion changed about prom.

“I am really excited to go to prom, I am going with some friends and we are going to get ready together and have fun”

This experience of prom is new to Massara, there is no prom in Italy or even no school dances, expect on occasion.

“I am excited just to be with my friends and see what this is like because we never had anything like this in Italy. I have never been to a school dance”

There is always the time taking task of getting ready for prom and for most ladies it takes a little extra time with the make-up, hair, heels, dress, and accessories.

“I thought I was going to hate getting dressed up but I really liked finding the dress and seeing other people get excited about getting ready”

Movies put up a face for prom making it a one-time event that will be the highlight of highschool and it will be a dreamy night, one that no one could forget.

“My opinion will probably change. Because I have only seen it in movies and I am not sure if that is real or not”

After Prom:

Prom had come and gone, now Alice gives us her take on her prom went and how her opinion has changed.

“I really liked it I had a lot of fun. I will definitely miss this”

Alice Massara recounts the events of her prom night with nostalgia and a new found love for prom after her magical night had ended.

“In the beginning I had a lot of expectations, but then i started hearing people saying ‘oh I’m just gonna be there for 30 minutes and then I’m gonna go somewhere else’. So I thought no one was gonna be dancing and no one was gonna be there. But when I got there, there was a lot of people dancing and having fun.”

When Massara heads back to Italy this night will definitely be a night to tell her friends about.

Alice Massarra ended prom night feeling great and her faith restored in the prom expectations.

“Of course I am gonna miss this. I really loved it. It was a really cool experience and I am glad I did this.”

Featured photo by Alana Bruni.

Yearbook Distribution Next Week

The yearbooks are coming soon. Students will be able to pick up their yearbook before school and during lunches next week with a student ID or license at the front of the school in the hallway outside the nurse’s office. A staff member will announce the opening of distribution officially over the PA in the morning. Seniors will be the first allowed to pick up their books followed by the rest of the classes.

If there are overruns available to sell, they will be in the Tiger Shack after distribution for $100 on a first come first serve basis. The waitlist is simply to receive a notification as to whether there are books available to purchase.

To check whether you ordered or not, see this list here or see the list in the hall during distribution.

Before you write in your book…

  • Make sure there are 248 pages with the cover attached properly.
  • Check that there are no torn pages, smeared pages, discolored pages, or pages inserted upside down.
  • If you discover any of these flaws in printing, BEFORE you write in your book, bring it back and we can replace it. Once you have written in the book, we CANNOT replace or refund it. Put your name in your book.

After checking for torn, upside down or missing pages, put your name in your book. We are saddened when books disappear, but we cannot replace lost or stolen books. A replacement book will cost $100, IF there are any overruns available. Please be careful not to leave your book laying around.

Why wasn’t that covered?

Dripping Springs has had an exciting last few weeks and many things to celebrate! We are so proud of oursoccer teams, robotics team, golf teams, all other spring sports and UIL academic championships! However, our yearbook went to press at the beginning of March before these events happened so that we could get it back and pass it out in May. We will be mailing a supplement over the summer to try and cover these activities. Make sure to provide an accurate mailing address when picking up the yearbook. Paste the supplement into the back of your yearbook. The yearbook staff chooses what to cover and highlight and strives to be as comprehensive as possible in documenting the year.

About the mistakes…

The most expensive television show ever Game of Thrones spends $10 million per episode and left a Starbucks cup in the scene.

Believe us, we have already found them or heard about them, and we are so sad about it. Remember, this is a student created publication, made by imperfect Tigers. We try and make every effort to produce a quality, accurate account of the year, but a few mistakes are bound to happen along the way. At this time, there is nothing that we can do. Instead, please focus on all the amazing things this student project has to offer!

Additional comments or feedback can be emailed to dshsstudentmedia@dsisdconnect.com.