Zion’s Curiosity

Zion's Curiosity

The world around us is full of wonders, some small, and some large. Some of them are blatantly obvious and others much harder to discern. For those with a keen sense of curiosity, finding them is a challenge in and of itself, and richly rewarding. But what happens when those wonders are curious about you?

This is exactly what happened to me in Zion National Park, Utah. I was chasing a sunset on a winter day. It was cold, I was tired, and my usual curiosity was nowhere to be found. I simply wanted to hike the last mile to a point where I thought the photograph might be made as quickly as possible; I reasoned that I would come back to this area a different day, since it was quite beautiful and didn’t deserve to be bypassed. As I rounded a bend on the mountain trail, I glanced ahead.

There, curiosity had found me in the form a bighorn sheep. She was already on the trail, and she knew I was coming. She wasn’t afraid, really, but she was timid all the same. She held her ground, and I stayed well back. We looked at each other for a bit, and we each relaxed, just a bit. It was an amazing moment as we held each other’s gaze, each with questions on our minds, each wondering about the other, each deciding the other was OK after all. We parted ways, each richer for the experience, and each having found a friend in the other.

It goes without saying that wildlife, especially in the backcountry, always deserves the utmost respect. Be careful, and do not approach. Do not act in an aggressive or threatening manner, and most of all, be aware that we are in their world.

Does curiosity have the better of you?

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