The Virgin River

The Virgin River in Zion National Park

The Virgin River - © Copyright 2012 by William Beem

I visited Las Vegas last week to gather some information for a new book.  Before I left, I made a list of the shots I wanted to get, locations I needed to visit, and prepared everything in advance. That’s just the way I am.  No spontaneity.

That went out the window when I made a decision on the flight out of Orlando to visit Zion National Park.  It’s been on my list to go back for a while, and it suddenly occurred to me that I could make it happen on this trip. I called my friend Andy, who lives in nearby Henderson, and we took a three hour drive up to Zion and wandered around the scenic route for a few hours.

The rushing water of the Virgin River surrounded us.  Even on the drive there, we encountered this river a few times. It beckoned me. Florida rivers don’t rush.  Things are slow in the South. The Virgin River isn’t that large or deep.  In fact, I could cross it in two jumps in some places. What it lacks in size, it makes up by being a fast & slippery little sucker. I know it’s slippery because I damn near slipped and fell into it a few times working my way across on those rocks.

I crossed the river to get to this vantage point, took my shots for a while, and then decided I found a better way out from my precarious position on the rocks. Unfortunately, I underestimated the ground on the bank. Most of it was fine, but there was a section that had some seepage from somewhere that I hadn’t noticed. Basically, it was red muck.  Slippery red muck.  My foot want in, sank a bit, and then I started sliding very quickly down into the river.

Being from Florida, I’m no stranger to muck and I reacted quickly.  I put my other foot down where the first one landed and repeated the same result.  I said I reacted quickly, not wisely. After running in place like Scooby Doo for a while, I finally figured out some different footing and got the hell out of there. My better path slung red mud all over my shoes & pants and had me climbing up a steep wall for about fifteen feet – all while carrying a tripod & expensive Nikon camera. I returned to the rental car out of breath and somewhat filthy, but I got my river shot.

Please enjoy the photo.  I suffered for my art.

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