100 Days of National Parks: Day 25 – Emerald Pools Waterfall, Zion

Emerald Pools Waterfall

Emerald Pools Waterfall
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I took this photo of the waterfall pouring from the Middle Emerald Pools in Zion National Park during my second trip there in 2012, in the midst of my first thunderstorm in the park.  In what became a lasting memory, I walked the trails in the mist and rain, sheltering my camera from the wet as best I could, marveling at the way the entire park seemed to burst into a dozen spectacular waterfalls, all pouring forth from seemingly dry fissures in the sandstone walls.

I’ve grown to love the opportunity to chase these waterfalls in the park, wandering the trails while most visitors retreat to the shelter of the lodge or their tents, wandering down the slick and muddy paths looking at all the life that abounds during these relatively brief downpours.  Toads and frogs climb out of burrows to soak in the newly available moisture. Small mammals rush to fresh pools that have just appeared in the sandstone, drinking what they can while they can get it.  Flowers, dripping with precipitation, appear to gleam despite the grayness blocking direct light.

Storms in Zion and the southwest in general are profoundly magical times, ones I relish the opportunity to play in any time I’m out in the area.  While other people may look at rain as a reason to get inside, I look at as the best chance to get outside, because there’s beauty in the clouds, and life in the water.

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