Zion National Park – Following The Trail
Zion National Park. Source: (Wikipedia)
Zion National Park is breathtakingly beautiful but can be dangerous as well if you happen to be a hiker up on these mountains and you do not follow the trail very carefully.
The Cultures Behind The Land
According to archeologists, there were four different cultural periods of time that helped, and continue to help, shape this area including today.
The first period of time is referred to as the Archaic Period that started thousands of years ago up through 500 A.D. During this time period, the people hunted for their meat and gathered wild plants, seeds, and nuts. There are some artifacts left (however not much) that reveal that they made items such as baskets, nets, sandals, stone knives, drills, and dart points.
The next time period was called the Formative Period. This period was from 500 A.D. to 1300 A.D. People during this time period were horticulturists. Two groups, referred to as Virgin Anasazi and Parowan Fremont, created villages by setting up pithouses and storage costs. To assist with their storage needs, they made ceramic vessels, which they also used in preparing the food. It was during this time era that the bow and arrow became popular.
The next group of people lived on the land between 1300 A.D. and the late 1700s during the Neo-Archaic period. They were similar to the original culture, hunting wild animals and gathering seeds and nuts. The items they made not only included baskets, nets, snares, and bow and arrows like their predecessors but also brown ware for their cooking and storage needs. There were some that also planted corn, sunflowers, and squash. Their only language was the Numic language.
The Historic period (the late 1700s) brought on exploration as well as an increase in settlements particularly in the southern portion of Utah. It began with traders from New Mexico, and then by 1872, fur trappers and surveyors created new routes. John Wesley Powell was one of those. He conducted exploration around Zion Canyon in connection with the U.S. Geological Surveys. Wagons traveling on the trails became a normal way of life as a lot of Mormon settlements began springing up.
After Issac Behunin built the first log cabin in 1863 in Zion Canyon, other log cabins began springing up beside the new towns that were coming up all along the Virgin River. This caused a lot of smaller communities to struggle. After considerable flooding, shortage for available land for crops, not to mention poor soil, some of them had become totally abandoned.
Today, visitors flock to this area to enjoy its beauty as well as camping and hiking. The first lodge for tourists started in 1917 after some major road construction was done. The state road commission and the railroad corroborated to make a safe highway to handle the traffic that would be coming through. Zion National Park became official in 1919. In 1930, a 5,613-foot tunnel was made to facilitate traffic through Zion.
As beautiful as Zion National Park is, there have been tragic accidents that have taken place. Very recently, on November 20, 2019, a 19-year-old girl fell to her death while hiking up on Angel’s Landing. These hiking trails are quite dangerous especially this one on Angel’s Landing as it is a vertical climb all the way up the 1,488-foot rock tower. There have been nine other deaths on Angel’s Landing since 2004.