Describe your image.

to feel anxious in comfort, to walk a path of spontaneity,
to show beauty in adventure and to find purpose for being.

Zion—majestic, mystical, and full of Mule deer.

IT WAS A BLAZING HOT AFTERNOON, I was waiting in my car blasting some ABBA while waiting for each car to pass through the east entrance o

 ✓Camera x2 
 ✓ Food x4 
 ✓ Extra batteries x4 
 ✓ Hand sanitizer 
✓ Water x2 
 ✓ Tripod I wasn’t much for a checklist guy but these were the essentials. I climbed aboard this unventilated van filled with people covered in sunblock and insect repellent. It smelled like stepping in the perfume section in a Macy’s department store. Thankfully my mask also rejected the smell so all I could smell was mint from the gum I was chewing. As we passed through the gate to Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, I noticed the drastic changes that COVID inflicted on the park's new policy. Biking to the trails was highly recommended, shuttle stops were decreased to only stop at main points, and the scarcity of people in the park itself in comparison to a normal pre-COVID day. Regardless, the park was incredibly beautiful with its towering rocks and river flowing from the Narrows making it look like an entrance to Jurassic Park. I got off the Grotto where I began my extensive climb to Angel’s Landing and Emerald Pools Trails. The Angel’s Landing trail was heavily trafficked, and keeping a distance to each hiker group was almost impossible. Hiking with two masks on was necessary but also difficult for it cuts off a lot of the oxygen you’re taking in but I took my time and stopped when needed just to compensate for the lack of air. While climbing, I remembered thinking that every step forward was a step passed. I couldn’t help but look back at the path I crossed, not because of the magnificent view that the park has to offer but because I knew that there was a large cloud of uncertainty of when I will set foot on these very paths again. It made me feel reminiscent of a moment that I am still in. Every break felt like I stopped the ticking of time because I was in the moment. The trail was very steep and it kept going for a non-stop 2.4 miles. If you are afraid of heights, you will be hugging the walls to avoid eye contact with the high cliff. When I got to the overlook, it was filled with tourists taking their lunch break and waiting for their turn to climb the Angel trail. The only way to climb Angel’s Landing was to hang on to these chains mounted on the rocks. The more I watched people climb the trail, the more I am against doing it due to health reasons. People climbing didn’t have gloves on nor masks that I was convinced that it wasn’t safe for me to hold it. It was also heavily trafficked where each person was almost in touching distance with each other. So instead, I just sat and watched people climbed only to dream what the view was like on the peak. After climbing down the overlook, I immediately took the south path to the Emerald Pools. It was a much easier hike since it was mostly flat paths and descends. It was less dense but more kids were on it in hopes to swim in them only to find out that it was filled with hazardous bacteria. The trail was more shaded which decreased my time resting in the middle. However, when I visited the pools, I was quite underwhelmed by the view. I imagined it to be like a geyser with clear waters but instead, it was literally a pool of water trapped in a sheltered open cave and people were throwing rocks in it, which was very disruptive that I decided to continue to the other pools. The lower emerald pools were more of a surprise as there was a mini waterfall and a deer was drinking from the pools the waterfall created. It was very magical watching the waterfall from the upper pool. Then I didn’t realize that the descend to the Zion Lodge from the pool was minuscule that I had two hours to spare, so I decided to take that two hours and relaxed on the grass field while watching the clouds pass by the enormous rocks. I laid down the field with my bag on my head and my camera next to me. A few minutes later, I passed out only to be woken up by a group Mule deer surrounding me. At first, I was nervous because a startle could make them attack me but the more I watched them feed on the mowed grass, the more I believe that they were so used to the people that they seem tame. It was a mother deer and a baby male deer roaming the lodge. The young male had horns as big as my pinky that he used to scratch his belly with. He seemed to be the most comfortable around people eating around them without flinching from the phone beeps and zippers. It was a great moment to end my day. I started to walk to my shuttle pick-up station then headed back to town. While driving back to my usual spot in the visitor center parking lot, I passed by a sign that says “public showers” and I thought to myself… damn....

© 2020 by Migz Perez.