Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Solo Artist

August 6

I started out on the Kokopelli trail as the sun was still lazing about below the horizon.  There would be no accompaniment on this hike; Colin and Mom headed to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison after dropping me at the Westwater trailhead.  I had thirteen miles ahead of me on the Kokopelli, named after the Hopi fertility god.
I was hoping to see some wildlife since. I-70 was miles to the north, but I was not obliged in this request.  Just how alone I was soon became apparent.  When I stopped for a few spoonfuls of peanut butter I realized the only sound had been my shuffling gait.  There were no birds, lizards, or insects and even the wind was silent.  I felt like an actor who has shown up for work and is greeted by an empty set.
With so little going on I fell to reflecting on the landscape of the Southwest.  Local authors Edward Abbey and Craig Childs have written thousands of pages documenting the surroundings and allure of the region and I won't pretend to have their lifetime of understanding and descriptive élan.   I suggest instead a hands-on experiment so you can get a real feel for what I am seeing.
Take an apple pie. Any pie will do, but apple is the patriotic choice and I know you don't hate America.  Smash the pie repeatedly with a hammer, shake vigorously, then toss the remains up in the air.  What you are left with is a mess.  This exercise shows the superiority of the Earth's crust when compared to Crisco.  Honestly I can't remember if there is a point here.  I've been obsessing about baked goods ever since I noticed the crumbling mesas here look like a coffee cake.
The road mercifully distracted me at Agate, another in a long string of ghost towns.  The ground was covered in the rose-colored stone of the same name and I slowed to grab several examples for my family to see.
Soon enough I reached Cisco Landing, a boat launch on the Colorado River.  Here I left Kokopelli and headed on Pump House Road to rendezvous with Colin and Amy.
We met at Cisco, which makes the settlement in "Road Warrior" look like a Sandals resort.  All the businesses (one) had closed down, any cars were rusted hulks, and houses averaged two walls apiece.  Random piles of refuse and debris were strewn in all directions.  My tent would have been the classiest digs in town.
Done for the day we returned for our last night in Fruita.  We enjoyed a trip to Suds Brewing Company for juicy hamburgers and creatively named beers.  Colin and I tried Keeper Kummin Nut Brown, but you might prefer Red Monkey's Butt Amber, WTF Bavarian Lager, Herding Cats Pale Ale, or SOB Lager.  Whatever you think might go best with the pie scattered all over your floor.

16 miles/3008 total miles

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