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Zion: The Bucket List Trip I Didn’t Know I Needed

Text & photo by Colleen Duffley

When you travel for a living, making time for a “vacation” somewhere you’ve never been can be a job in itself.

A fellow adventurer pointed me in the direction of the Via Ferrata in Zion, Utah.

I’ve made a habit of traveling alone but I rarely vacation alone. This trip was the exception.

It’s hard to find someone who thinks repelling down mountains and climbing up ladders attached to rocks is fun.

I made a reservation for one at Under Canvas in Virgin, Utah. It boasted a glamping experience that you don’t want to miss out on. And it fully delivered on its promise.

With a communal dining experience, I didn’t always feel like I was by myself. The tent gave me the feeling of “roughing” it while the service gave me the feeling of being at an intimate boutique hotel. It was the best of both worlds.

The tents were sprawled out across 196 acres and were reminiscent of a safari excursion. I took advantage of the trails for my morning runs while taking in all of the beauty one breath at a time.

I headed to Zion Adventures to start my solo adventure.

We practiced repelling and climbing to make sure we were prepared for the terrain ahead of us.

I didn’t think it was going to be very hard because I pride myself on my athletic ability, but I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be quite challenging both physically and mentally.

The course was a full day endeavor that included lots of climbing, lots of rapelling, and a freezing cold waterfall, Plus threading yourself thru the eye of the needle . Mostly I was in continuous awe of the beauty around me.

It turned out to be the bucket list trip I never knew I needed.


Colleen Duffley has been shooting people, places, and things around the globe for 25 years.  She’s worked for national and international magazines, as well as on commercials and ad campaigns. Her images have appeared on the pages of high-end clients such as Neiman Marcus, Volkswagen, India Hicks, British Homes and Gardens, Elle Decor, Met home, Departures Magazine and  American Way. An avid adventurer and athlete, Colleen has competed in two Olympic trials for cycling and has run seven marathons in seven days in the Congo. She jumps out of airplanes, sails, and paddleboards in her spare time.  Visit her website and her Instagram page.

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