Every year my school has two camping trips. The spring trip is called The Immersion and the summer trip The Surrendering. In the past we’ve done trips to the local mountains and the beach, but it’s been well over five years since a trip to Zion has taken place.

I am beyond privileged to have gone on this trip. Absolutely everything about it was breathtaking and beautiful.

Rather than writing in normal format, today I’m just going to share the highlights of my trip and my observations.

  • Towering cliffs of earthen worn red streaked with graphite, combed with fine lines, and lined with living green.





  • Nauseating heights that both exhilarated and frightened. What a grand display of God’s greatness – joy and fear in Who He is. His greatness and His love were conveyed so much more eloquently to me in nature than any human means ever could. Truly I am not alone.


  • Friendships deepened through late night talks about “our types”and places we want to see, laughter about the “Colorado boys” or the Colorados as we called them, afternoon giggles as we washed our hair in the bathroom sink and water fights with our wet hair, and sunrise talks on the hilltop about God and life. I’ll say it again – truly truly I am not alone. Not one iota.



  • Tram rides squished between friends and strangers watching the mountains roll by.
  • Meals of scrumptious breakfast burritos, savory veggies, and thick pasta sauce completed with chocolate and cookies.
  • Long hikes up snakes of narrow dirt with rewarding spellbinding views of red rock and green allies.



  • Friendly chipmunks that ate from our laps and mean squirrels that took our secret snacks.


  • Making conversation with people who I wouldn’t usually do more than offer a half smile too. Learning little quirks of friends – like washing one’s hair three times a day, ahem, *wink* *wink* Emmy. And discovering someone who not only has heard of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 but has seen it in New York.
  • Beautiful, thought provoking, and encouraging devotions each morning and night. Especially that one of resurrection and eternal life. And a evening devotion with plastic candles that lit the amphitheater and our hearts with their symbolism. “The Lord is my light and my salvation, who shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1-2)


  • Encouragement from my history teacher. It hit my weary soul down to the bone when she took my hand and told me that she sees a deep desire for the Lord in me. I haven’t been able to see that in myself for a while, and that has hurt. But her words made me realize that it wouldn’t hurt unless I was bothered by being far from Him. She encouraged my love for knowledge and truth, telling me it might bring me places I don’t expect. I was so uplifted that someone saw in me a real desire for God.


  • Forgetting that tent walls are thin and the whole camp could hear us playing MASH. (“Nobody needs to know about the Pinterest board…”) We may or may not have kept everyone awake for a few hours.
  • Becoming close enough to a friend that you can bounce from thought to thought and not worry about the flow of the conversation.
  • Wading through The Narrows, which were icy cold, so cold that when I tripped and fell in my fingers turned bright red and began to grow purple. The best was when it was so deep that my friend picked me up and carried me through. That was funny.


  • Gathering round the warm fire and sharing blankets while praising the Lord to the strumming of the guitar.
  • Playing spoons and wrestling them out of each other’s hands to win.
  • Hilltop photography and running away from bees in the middle of a picture.




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Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
 O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
 When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!
 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
 the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. 

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
 You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
 You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

Psalm 65 ESV

9 responses to “Reflections on Zion”

  1. Ann Without an E Avatar

    Wow! Sounds like you had an amazing trip! I’ve heard so much about Zion and I’ve always wanted to go but have never been! You make it sound so cool! It makes me want to go so badly! Also the pictures in this post are truly wonderful! Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thebookshopbarista Avatar

      It was such an AMAZING trip! You definitely should go, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Aw and thanks! My friend took the ones of me with her fancy camera. And you’re welcome! Have you been to any national parks?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ann Without an E Avatar

        They are great photos. 🙂 I have been to a few but not many. I want to go to more. I mean there are Sooo many. So much to explore in this world!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. thebookshopbarista Avatar

        Yes! So much to explore! It almost hurts how me how much I want to travel!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ann Without an E Avatar

        I know the feeling!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lissa Avatar

    Oooohhhh my gosh!!! This is amazing, the pictures are breathtaking and I love trips like those, full of friendships and worships and beauty. That sounds so cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thebookshopbarista Avatar

      Ack! It was beyond beautiful. So so so so good

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashley Avatar

    SHELBY I ADORE THIS! Makes me so sad that I couldn’t be there with you but so overjoyed that you had a wonderful experience:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thebookshopbarista Avatar

      Awww thank you!!! I know! We were literally so depressed that you couldn’t be there. Next year you HAVE to come.


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