Appreciating the great outdoors in Second Life

Zion National Park; Inara Pey, June 2018, on FlickrZion National Park – click any image for full size

Zion National Park is an ambitious, two-region stretch of parkland designed by Judge Firecaster. It offers a look and feel of some of the great national parks of north America – most notably Yosemite, given the reproduction of the Mariposa Grove – and presents a lot to see and explore.

A visit starts on the north side of one of the two regions making up the park. This features a park lodge and a camping ground (parcels available for rent), looking to the north over open water and a distant range of mountains. A dirt track runs between the lodge and camp site, pointing west towards a narrow cleft between high shoulders of rock, and east to run almost parallel to the water’s edge and between the massive trunks of huge Sequoia-like conifers.

Zion National Park; Inara Pey, June 2018, on FlickrZion National Park

Which route you take is entirely up to you – but if you have a wearable horse, you might want to add that and take to riding while exploring (a riding horse rezzing system would be a nice addition to the park). The route west will take you through the rocky cleft to where another body of water await, overlooked on both sides by a rugged landscape that, to the south, climbs towards distant green peaks.

Here the track swings by a small lodge were visitors can take a log ride around the lake – just wait for a boat to automatically rez ready to depart as one returns and de-rezzes. The ride will take you east along the lake, under the tall trestles of a cliff-top bridge spanning the water, and back around to the west before returning you to the little lodge. Or, if you prefer, you can follow the track to where it climbs up into the hills, switching back on itself as it does so, to arrive at a high café abuts the steeper slopes of the (off-sim) mountains).

Zion National Park; Inara Pey, June 2018, on FlickrZion National Park

If you opt to go east from the landing point, the track will take you by twist and turn, passing the single permanent private residence to be found here, to where it again climbs up into the rocks and hills of the park. This leads the way past cliff-edge seating areas overlooking waterfalls, paths to hidden tunnels, and a climb up to a peak where a hang glider can be rezzed and you can take to the air to appreciate the park from overhead.

The high paths rise and fall, twist and turn, cross canyons and water by way of bridges, descend to the edge of bubbling streams  and pass through mine-like tunnels to link up with one another, allowing visitors to fully circumnavigate the park, often just a few short steps from where the regions end and the off-sim mountains begin – a relatively seamless join that gives Zion Park a huge amount of additional depth, vastly increasing its national park like feel.

Zion National Park; Inara Pey, June 2018, on FlickrZion National Park

Wild life is to be found here in abundance – the trees are rich in bird song, bears grumble and roam,raccoons raid litter bins and get up to other mischief, wolves bask in the sunlight and elk graze or drink cautiously from the banks of streams. Going by the chap out on the waters of the lake and the cormorants on the shoreline, fish are in abundance in the waters here as well. There could perhaps be a few more places to sit and enjoy more of the many views to be found within the regions, but this is a minor point; as noted, if you do have a wearable horse to ride, this is a place where you can put it to good use and appreciate the views.

All-in all, Zion Park is a rich environment which demonstrates just how much can be done when working with Homestead regions. The default Windlight settings perhaps don’t do the landscaping full justice – I’d certainly recommend playing around with any you have installed on your viewer to find something more suitable and warm. When exploring, keep an eye out for the information boards, and the way down to the subterranean lake. The former are a worthwhile read for those unfamiliar with American national park heritage, and the latter takes a little finding – but a visit cannot be said to be complete until you do 😉 .

Zion National Park; Inara Pey, June 2018, on FlickrZion National Park

Should you enjoy your visit to Zion National Park, please consider a donation at the lodge alongside the landing point to help ensure the regions remain for future visitors to enjoy – and for additional visits of your own as the mood takes you!

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