This image was captured during my 2017 fall trip to Zion National Park, Utah, when I was lucky enough to secure a wilderness permit for The Subway hike through the advance lottery. The jewel of this hike is considered to be The Subway - a slot canyon that has been carved into a tubular form, reminiscent of a subway tunnel.
These cascades and waterfalls mark the entry point into The Subway slot canyon and reminded me of a grand staircase leading up to a long-forgotten temple - a feeling that is reinforced by the mythical "Zion glow" that reflects off the canyon walls.
After a long hike down into the canyon and along/through the river, I reached these falls just as the late morning light began to illuminate the canyon walls in the background. Along with the peak fall colors that were on display, I knew that I was in luck and that there were likely not many other days in the year when this scene would look as good as it did in this very moment. I quickly set about finding a composition, and after fine-tuning my exposure and clicking the shutter, I immediately knew that I had captured one of my favorite images of the trip.
It was a long, hard day that started before the sun came up and finished just before it set. However, 11 miles/25,000 steps and the equivalent of 93 floors of elevation gain (carrying 20+ lbs of camera equipment!) was still not enough to dull my excitement or wipe the smile off my face.
As I tucked into some post-hike treats that I always stash in the car as motivation to hike out quickly, I was able to reflect on what an incredible experience it was to be able to witness a truly unique marvel of nature; a bucket list item for so many people that so few get to experience.