Solar Power, Water, and the Promised Land



“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land;

it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” –


G.K. Chesterton


Zion Canyon National Park - bruce witzel photo


Currently,  Fran and I are travelling in the United States. There are so many natural wonders I could show from our discoveries…  here is a bit about Zion National Park in Utah.

When it was first named as a National Monument  it was originally  known as Mukuntuweap, Southern Paiute for  “land of the springs.” In this desert climate, the water that seeps from the canyon walls is said to not have seen sunlight for one to two thousand years.

The Hebrew meaning of Zion means the promised land  – a place of refuge, safety and peace.

I’ll begin by showing how the National Park Service has built a visitor center that uses NO fossil fuels for heating and cooling. They also created a shuttle system that keeps much of the car traffic out of the park and eliminates tons of CO2 emissions. Now, old and young people hike and walk in the park in a quiet and slow experience of nature. The National Park Service also do not sell bottled water, and encourage us all to refill and re-use our own containers.

So, here it is… solar power and water, in the promised land.


Section view of Visitors center ar Zion National Park - bruce witzel photo


Solar Cooling Towers, Zion Canyon National  Park, Utah Oct.7, 2016 - bruce witzel photo



Cooling Tower at Zion National Park Visitors Center Oct. 7, 2016 - bruce witzel photo



Solar heated and Cooled Visitor center, Zion Canyon National Park - bruce witzel photo


Degtail of Cooling Towers, Zion National Park, Utah Oct. 7, 2016 -bruce witzel photo


Pretty simple eh? It’s called evaporative cooling.


And taking the bus is easier than driving.


Shuttle service at Zion National Park - bruce witzel photo


Now, for the natural wonders…


Emerald pool at Zion National Park - bruce witzel photo




Emerald Water on the Virgin River, Zion National Park - bruce witzel photo



Native Flowers at Zion park (2) - bruce witzel photo



The hanging gardens…


Hanging Gardens at Zion National Park Utah - bruce witzel photo



Native Grass at Zion Canyon - bruce witzel photo



Emerald pond reflection at Zion national park - bruce witzel photo


One of the emerald pools is above.


Do you see the waterfall that seeps out of them in the rock face below?


Waterfall overhead at Emerald pool, Zion National Park - bruce witzel photo




Couple on pedestrian bridge, Zion National Park  Oct. 7,2016  - bruce witzel photo



Deer in Zion National Park - bruce witzel photo



Zion Canyon National Park (2)- bruce witzel photo


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust


Click here to read my wife Fran’s blog-post of the trip.


Cheers ~ Bruce



17 thoughts on “Solar Power, Water, and the Promised Land

  1. I wish my life could be spent experiencing such beautiful pieces of this world….but what a wonderful blessing to stumble upon your sharing your wonderful time in such heavenly places. Thank you.

  2. so beautiful & informative, Bruce!
    was my favorite park destination when
    i lived in the southwest.
    while i like the notion of “zion”
    i wish the mormons had not
    “renamed” this sacred place!
    hope you’re doing well
    and feeling happy 🙂

    • I am with you on this, for sure David. We did get travelers sickness right after our wonderful day in the park, so we decided to head back to Canada early, and now we’re visiting family on the prairies, recovering from a cold also. We’re working on getting well again.

  3. The Southwest is one of my wife and I’s favorite places to visit. We saw Zion back in 2010 during September. It was a perfect day to take the creek hike way back into the canyon. You picked a great time of year to visit.

    • My wife loves the dry climate of the Southwest and the landscape is so unique for us, having lived in the BC rain forest all out lives. The weather has been good on our trip, and we’re leaving Colorado this morning towards the Canadian Prairies to enjoy a week with family.

      • Safe journey. Are you going through Glacier National Park since it is on the way? We have yet to visit this national park, but it is definitely on the list for next summer and I hear from some it is better than Yellowstone. We have visited Yellowstone, so I think it will be tough to beat.

      • Thanks Mark. Not to Glacier on this trip… we’ve been to Waterton, which along with Glacier in is part of the International Peace Park. My step daughter lives near Calgary, so another time we will travel to Glacier. We did visit Rocky Mountain National Park a couple days ago near Denver, and that was quite stunning… and the Petrified Forest NP in Arizona was amazing for its geological history and the tcolour … aka “the painted desert.”

  4. So happy to hear of how the Park Service is trying to help. Very interesting. Encouraging, really. If you two go through Oregon, anywhere near I-5, it would be fun to meet you in person and treat you to a lunch here in the retirement community where we live. Just south of Portland. Have a great trip!

    • Hi Susan. The federal parks service in the States has impressed us quite a few times on our travels here. A kind offer to visit, Susan. We’re planning on heading north back to Canada through Colorado and then to visit family in Saskatchewan and Alberta before we head back to the island. Today we visited Gila Forest and the Gila cliff dwellings in New Mexico, the area where a century Aldo Leopold as a forest ranger was instrumental in raising awareness for the conservation ethic. Inspiring… all.

  5. Bruce, thanks so much for this post. Who knew any part of the government could be so sensible?! When I was last in Zion, many, many years ago as a child, we drove everywhere. Your post created an urge to get back and see it again or, rather, rekindled a desire to revisit.


    • Your welcome Janet. It was truly a different experience, by not driving ‘through’ the park, but via bus and walking and hiking. It didn’t really seem like there were so may people either, except for the full campgrounds and the busy visitor centers. And when it comes to seeing solar energy being practically applied, and the conservation ethic as well, it brings me hope.

  6. This is a nice solution to the challenge. Your photos of Zion Park are beautiful.

    My wife and I never understood the impact of water on our daily life until we moved West from South Florida in the ’70s. Evaporative cooling was our friend in the high desert on the Western Slope of Colorado and Xeriscaping is our constant companion since moving to Northern California in the early ’80s.

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