Zion National Park

As I type this, a deer is standing five feet away from me, gnawing on its tail. And now it’s getting closer. Wow, this is a little ridiculous. These National Park deer are pretty ballsy. Aren’t they supposed to be timid creatures, wary of man and easily spooked? My campsite here at Zion National Park is right next to a mulberry tree. I’ve been here for two days and the deer have apparently decided they can safely ignore me while they clean up all the berries on the ground around the tree. If my dad were here, he’d make a comment along the lines of, “I wonder how much the park has to pay these deer to entertain the tourists.”

I will admit this is the first time I was more startled by a deer than the deer was by me. Earlier today I heard a noise directly behind me and spun around in surprise to see a deer so close that it was practically invading my personal space. It eyed me nonchalantly, appearing to be slightly amused by my reaction. If another couple of deer showed up I would have tried to remember how Tippi Hedren was first attacked in “The Birds.”

 

Too Close!

 

Speaking of birds, within a fifteen minute span a finch dive-bombed me, (thanks Mom for teaching me the difference between a brown finch and a sparrow), a hummingbird buzzed me, a woodpecker attacked a tree trunk above me, and two robins landed next to the deer so they could check out the berries everyone’s been talking about. I’m not particularly interested in birds, but you have to give them credit for putting on a good show. Whatever the National Park Service is paying them, it’s worth it. I spent seven hours hiking and photographing the Narrows today. It’s one of my favorite hikes in any National Park. For about half the time you’re hiking directly in the Virgin River, which, for someone as prone to wipeouts as me, is always an adventure. I’m sorry to report, however, that despite many close calls I made it through the entire hike without taking a spill or dunking my camera. Shocking but true.

 

Virgin River Narrows

The Narrows of the Virgin River

 

My plan for tomorrow is to do the Angel’s Landing hike and then drive out towards Monument Valley, probably stopping at a motel for the night so that I can recharge my batteries (literally and figuratively).