Zion Wildlife

The other post was getting a bit long so I’m breaking it up.  Zion National Park is an oasis of life in an otherwise semi-arid region.  One feature that makes this park so remarkable and helped create it is the amount of water here.  Everywhere clean spring water drips from walls and flake off bits of stone piece by piece and streams rush through and carve out the canyons.  Water is so central to Zion that nowhere in the park to they sell bottled water, if you want water they have fresh spring water on tap at all the drinking fountains to refill your bottles.

With all the water around there’s an explosion wildlife of all shapes and sizes from mountain lions to eagles to deer and mice.  Here’s just a few pictures of what we managed to see in our short time hiking in the park.

There is no private cars allowed on the roads up the main canyons the traffic was getting way too bad and with only a few hundred parking spaces for a few thousand cars per day the situation just wasn’t working out.  To solve the problems they implemented a pretty good bus system through the park to take you through all of the sites and trail heads.  It works very well and we never had to wait, the bus drivers are all very informative and sometimes funny,  one of them pointed out the doe and her two fawns to us and slowed down enough for me to snap a picture through the window.  He says he loves his job because he gets to watch the babies grow up throughout the year.

A marsh in the middle of the desert?

Seemingly innocent these little hell spawn squirrels have no fear of humans and are EVERYWHERE.  You have to watch where you are walking so you don’t accidentally step on one.   Just to remind everyone that these cute and cuddly balls of fur are still vicious wild animals all of the busses in the park had a giant billboard on the side of some poor guys mangled and stitched up hand.  I should have gotten a picture of the signs but I didn’t think of it till after we’d left.  The guy had tried to feed a squirrel and before he could react it had bit him multiple times and tore open a huge wound that required a lot of stitches.

You don’t have to tell me how mean squirrels can be, the ones that liked to get into our woodpile were vicious and incredibly strong for how small they are.

In several places along the walkways are these very cool hanging gardens covered in maidenhair ferns and columbine flowers.  We’d seen pictures of them at Natural Bridges National Monument but didn’t get to see any in person until now.  Wow.

I’ve never seen these solid yellow columbines before, or so many in one place all in bloom before.   Up in the mountains and in gardens back home and in Colorado you’d be lucky to find a small patch with a dozen flowers,  here in Zion entire walls of a canyon were in bloom with them.  Impressive.  They should be the state flower of Utah not Colorado 😉

No idea what these are.

Red and yellow Columbines.

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