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Showing posts from July, 2008

The Summer's Grand Finale

I must say...this summer ended with a bang. And quite the bang it was, as you shall soon see.
I will first rewind to catch you up where I last left off in my blog. Following my brother's visitation, I worked through another typical work week which was longer than normal and I was soon very burned out.  My thoughts slowly turned from "wow, this is an awesome job" to "ok, this is a pretty nice job" to "sheesh, I'm ready to go home."  The latter is how I felt that work week.  And then my parents visited, bless their hearts.  I had been waiting for this for some time, for as any child of loving parents knows, having your parents around means getting food stuffed down your throat and other random comforts and pleasures.  It is strange how very much like the juvenile owls I become when my parents come around....expecting to get fed and taken care of all the time.  It was as I had imagined and hoped.  I enjoyed several fine restaurant meals (Zion Lodge …

A Zion Poem: Written by Stephanie Maurer

Bittersweet
By Stephanie Maurer

The sun before me, coat behind me, coffee within me I am warmed in all directions in a dusty, desert morning. The birds beginning, crickets ending, creek always flowing


There exists every shade of green out here: sage, emerald, forest, and Within each space between leaves and thistles is Purity and silence.


The towering cliffs create a space of peace, and their frailty reminds me How frail the peace can be. I feel contentment as well as loneliness, all wrapped up in Dust, cacti, and wildlife.


In the road I walk each day are footprints, scattered. Ringtail, frog, lizard, beetle and now human, All traversing the same dirt path to different places For different reasons.


The diversity of life this place sustains is shocking and sometimes humorous. The predator/prey standards of the wild have everyone afraid of everyone else. Everyone jumps, scurries, slithers and bolts away.


When I look at the sky at cliff-line I realize I even sometimes take for granted the color blue. Toward…

Lightning Part 2: purveyor of fright and flight in the field

Such a cool day for Zion...we had to take advantage of it. A storm system was on its way, pushing thin layers of clouds through the sky. We decided on Coalpits Wash...a site that has been avoided for some time due to its location deep in the bowels of Zion. It is said to be a hot, long hike, filled with marauding deer flies and energy-sucking sand the entirety of the way. We began our hike around 4PM, and to the satisfaction of our souls (at least the satisfaction seems to go that deep), we hiked in coolness the whole way. We knew that thunderstorms were in the forecast for later days, not today, and headed out without rain coats or tents. Having just got out of Currant Creek and running on four hours of sleep, my legs were slow to respond, but I forced them along. We wound our way down into a sandy wash through burnt skeletons of juniper and pinyon pine, eventually, after hiking through remnants of a petrified forest and then an old lava flow, dropped into Coalpits Wash, anoth…

Lightning Part 1: purveyor of NPS conspiracies

Our purpose this week was to visit Camp, Spring, and Currant Creek to find some owls...just another typical work week. I had gone into Currant, while Steph, as I thought, had gone into Camp. The next day, after marching like a single-minded ant out of Currant, I received a voicemail from the park biologist, Claire. She was not too happy. We had, out of forgetfulness or belligerence, neglected to report to the permit office regarding our whereabouts and activities, as we are required to do. The park rangers had seen some of our vehicles at the trailheads and had actually started an investigation as to who we were and what we were doing. Thus, the permit office immediately was contacted, and discontent ensued against us from the park service because of our negligence. But this was not all... Rumor had it that the owl crew started a wild fire up Camp Creek. How this rumor gained such credibility as to convince the head ranger is anyone's guess. Regardless, the head ranger …

The peregrine

A rainbow appears, bridging the cliffs of Oak Creek canyon. A noisy thunderstorm had rolled through, pouring life blood into the dry canyon. The monsoons appear to be arriving early this year. They call them monsoons here, but they are probably not one typically imagines as a monsoon. In Zion, the monsoons come in the form of afternoon thunderstorms, and they typically arrive in late July, rolling through nearly everyday. They are a blessing, providing much relief from the heat and dryness. The mornings after are cool due to high humidity, instead of stiflingly hot as the sun rears its flaming head above the canyon walls. I had just returned to camp from a quick trip up the canyon on the buses for some photography. From the sky above, I hear a familiar sound and know at once that the local Peregrine falcon pair is on the move. But this time is different. The swooshing and slicing sound of the Peregrines ripping through the air sounds much more active this time. I look up…

Hermano visitation

Finally time to write...
The past few weeks have felt like an extended vacation here in Zion. The work week between my Bryce Canyon/Cedar Breaks trip was very easy; we only visited the local canyons that are easily accessed and are done in one night. On the final work day, Steph, her sister (who was visiting), and I rappelled into Pine Creek, where I had heard a juvenile from the rim above the canyon on earlier visits. Pine Creek is a beautiful canyon. Very tight in places (extending your arm out to both sides will touch both canyon walls) and eroded smoothly, 'fluted' as they call it. The core area was easy to find; whitewash, feathers, and pellets everywhere. We immediately heard a juvenile calling. I retorted with contact whistles. We patiently listened and whistled for about 20 minutes, all the while the juveniles were calling. One juvenile popped his head over a ledge and peered down at us. Eventually, another juvenile flew in. They think our whistling is the ad…