Photograph of Paria Canyon by Steve Eginoire.
There is wet panting outside my tent. Paws run through the sand, pounding against the earth like a fluttering heart. I hold my breath; my core tightening and tendons coiling, ready to escape the sleeping bag. And do what? I haven’t thought that far ahead. The animal snaps its mouth shut and sniffs. It sounds like it’s right beside me.
I quietly dig around for my headlamp, then shine the light underneath the fly, searching for paws.
The sound of sand shifting underfoot as it pads away. Gone. It must have been a dog. Perhaps a loose pet from a neighboring campsite. Another stampede of soft feet and the same smacking breath. It’s back and this time it brought friends. Read more…