The desert is a region that’s so arid that you can die from dehydration and become a mummy in a fairly short time. There’s simply no water to be found, except for a few rivers, which become major waterways if they contain water year ’round.

It’s interesting that so much (all?) of the stunning landscapes we marvel at in the desert have been made by water. Oceans draining started the process. Rivers running at levels beyond modern imagination cut the canyons. Prehistoric lakes allowed different minerals to settle out, creating a colorful landscape that sometimes boggles the mind.

When one is in the desert, water is never far form one’s mind. Hoping to find some if you don’t have any with you (a foolish–perhaps deadly–choice). Hoping it doesn’t rain if you’re in a slot canyon. Standing next to one of the existing streams (if you can find one) and contemplating what water has done.

We went into Zion park and took the shuttle bus to the end of the line. Then we walked with about a million other people up the trail, getting a tantalizing glimpse of the river now and then. We finally couldn’t stand it any more and went down to the shore. And made some photographs.

Water in the desert: what a treat!

Virgin River 1

Virgin River 1

Virgin River 2

Virgin River 2

Hard to believe that in a land where you could die of thirst in a matter of days you can find such lush, moist surroundings. It’s magic!

Further magic happened that night and the next day. It rained pretty constantly for several hours and the river changed. There was a lot more water in it and it was red as the sand and mud it was carrying.


More to follow.