Friday, February 17, 2012
Part Two Preview: The Third in a Five Part Trilogy
A wise man once said, don't defecate where you masticate. He certainly overdid it with the high falutin wordplay, but his point is well-taken. So if you think I'm going to spend the third part in our series, a preview of Utah, making fun of Mormons you are incorrect. I plan on living through the harsh desert landscape the place presents and I'll take all the friends I can get. Besides, one of the joys of this trip has been the opportunity to learn about different people I am ignorant about. I've only met one Mormon to date and since he was drunk on most of the occasions we enjoyed one anothers' presence I'm guessing he had lapsed a bit.
Enough about my friend's substance abuse problems, let's talk about our next state. Utah is a wonderland of canyons and unique rock formations which illustrate just what God can do when provided with a new Lego set and several million years of erosion. The feast for the eyes should leave them sated, but unfortunately the rest of my body requires water, which the land there lacks in abundance. Cities are few and far between in the area of Utah the ADT passes through so I can't always count on human kindness. I have a couple of ideas about how to work past the problem, so hopefully these plans germinate and flower before I find myself a dry mass of bones mimicking the nearby rock piles.
The first dry spot comes quickly, west of Grand Junction/Fruita, even before setting foot in the Beehive State. The next one hundred miles to Moab will be a lesson in isolation, the kind of open space I have not dealt with previously. Should I forge through a great reward waits on the other side: the famous Arches National Park. I've heard good things. The picture up top is but one example of what I can expect if you think to doubt the word of these unnamed people. Like Donnie Brasco told Lefty Ruggiero: "Just trust me." Or something to that effect.
After Arches the ADT heads directly south. I am considering an alternative plan for this part of Utah, but since I may yet be swayed to stay on the original route, we won't get into where I am going exactly. Either way, the central part will be the most populated and I will gladly name a host of tiny places you have never heard of if you like. Salt Lake, Provo, Orem, or any other remotely city-like spot in Utah will not be no the agenda.
I am hoping also to revisit Bryce Canyon, which is not too far off my intended trajectory. My family went there when I was only ten and made some good memories. I rode a mule which insisted on walking on the side of the path where the 4,000 foot drop was. Pebbles dislodged by the animal's hooves fell down the interminable drop and I began screaming and wailing, begging to be allowed to dismount. My cries didn't stop until hours later when I either learned bravery and became a man or lost my voice.
I guess it would be cool to end up back there and perhaps acquit myself more honorably. At the very least the staying power of my screams has dimmed with age.
Bookending the western section of Utah is yet another waterless and peopleless section, known as the Wah Wah desert. Before I can escape the claws of dehydration and heat (did I mention I am most likely doing this bit in August?) I will cross the Nevada border. Therefore we'll have to save the excitement of more desert monotony for our next episode, entitled Walking Across the Face of the Sun Gives Me Blisters.
A special thanks to Nicole Overholt for accompanying me on many a practice hike so far!