This Year Zion National Park Centennial celebrates 100 years. But it was on the North Fork of the Virgin River, Zion National Park, Fall, 1999 that this story begins. I was standing knee deep in the icy cold water, surrounded by towering sandstone cliffs with my hip waders on. Cradling an endangered fish in my hands I looked at my coworker and said, “I’m going to bring people here.”
That was the moment that the vision of Sol Fitness Adventures was conceived. It wasn’t until 2004, while working as an environmental consultant in Washington, D.C., that I would begin to put the business framework around that vision, but brick by proverbial brick the vision began to take shape. I would fly home several times a year for the next three years to scout exit routes and camp sites that would be suitable for clients. Some of those trips were great successes and others were near failures, but with each visit I felt the Earth, Rock, Water, and Time welcome me back. Until finally I knew each serpentine turn of the river. I knew where I could expect to encounter the log jams and quicksand after a big rain. Further, I also knew which side canyons held the wonders, peace, and solitude we can’t find in any manmade Temple.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since that moment on the river. Since then Sol has guided 17 multi-day excursions to this remote place deep in the heart of Zion National Park. There are many stories to tell – but perhaps even more to be made. One of of those new stories occurred this summer. I was invited to be an extra in the production of a new film produced by Local Studio and Zion Forever Project. The film Where Forever Is Now premiered November 19 in St. George and will hit the festival circuit soon as we continue to evaluate our impact on and how to best engage with one of the National Parks that is America’s Greatest Idea.
To celebrate the Zion National Park Centennial this week I’m sharing some of my favorite images to Sol’s Instagram @SolFitAdventure. Tune in and don’t forget to tag your outdoor adventures #mothernaturesgym.
About Sol Fitness Adventures
The leader in customized outdoor fitness retreats, Sol Fitness Adventures can trace its roots back to its first trip outside of Zion National Park in 2004. Sol’s founder, ACE-Certified Personal Trainer Melanie Webb, was working at The Sports Club/LA in Washington, D.C. (now Equinox). Melanie’s clients caught on to her enthusiasm for outdoor adventure and began to hire her to plan and lead their private active vacations. These savvy travelers were bored by the destination spa routine and off-the-rack group trips and wanted to see their improved fitness applied to a real world setting. Melanie went to work combining her passion for travel and expertise in fitness and the outdoors—and the hybrid Sol Fitness Adventures was born.