Friday, September 17, 2010


[jeez, what am i supposed do say about all this...]
[...okay...i'm going to take a swing at it..]

This is a slice of Kanab, Utah, as I was pulling out yesterday morning. Pretty little town on the western edge of Zion National Park. Hotels X-PENSIVE.. and quick to fill up. Scary when you're out on the road in wilderness after dark and that little refuge dot on the map has NO VACANCY signs all lit-up and gaudy red neon .

Onward.. heading for northern Arizona border.. and I have spent the last two (three??) days back and forth between Utah and Az.

The landscape keeps changing steadily as you go east (or west, err).. in this case it got drier and more sandy ever since leaving Yosemite.  Hills get more striated and more "mesa" flat-topped. Vegetation changes constantly with elevation and moisture availability. New Rider of the Purple Sage... now I AM one:

I rode for a couple of hours, and though not wildly hot, it was exceedingly dry. Nice ride though; bike running smoothly and Mp3 blasting Merle Haggard or U2 or Richard Thompson or anything else into my now-shredded ear-balls.
Stopped in a roadside "Land Use Bureau Information Site". Some skinny hiker with a Winnebego was peppering the gray-haired lady with non-stop questions until I a-hemed and he finally skulked off with many pamphlets of area trails. I made a point of not being a Dick and as such approached her slowly, quietly, politely...asked her where a dusty saddlebum should look for Cool Sites. She mentioned a "short hike" just off the road a couple of miles down, to view something called "hoo-doos" or "mushrooms". Besides that, she strongly advised, (since I was not prepared for any serious off-roading, with my lack of proper foot-gear and all).. to make sure I saw Monument Valley a couple of hours farther down the road. I'd been seriously considering this even before I left NY.. so that sealed it.
Meanwhile I did pull off at the trailhead that she spoke of, to see the Hoo-doos. I really wasn't prepared to be hoofing through serious desert conditions... motorcycle road-racing boots... black cut-off t-shirt.. black jeans.. black baseball hat.. But hell, I needed to see SOMETHING off the road on this trip, and the gal assured me that it was only about a 3/4 of a mile walk.. easy to do".

If you're properly dressed, well-hydrated, and in some sort of decent physical shape. I took my little water bottle with me, (I watch Man vs Wild so I know these things), but it only had about a pint in it. I walked about 50 yards before wondering if this wasnlt a mistake... but I was determined and how bad could it really be, after all?
Bloody HOT... especially when I'd been used to 80 mph's worth of breeze. Now all was still and airless... the sun was crackling hot and relentless. My stupid armored boots slogged through loose sand and crumbling strata and within a short time I was panting. I keep forgetting the altitude in these places.. and at 5000 feet you're breathing heavily. The only "trail" there was amounted to previous footsteps...often hard to see. Basically I just followed the dry "wash".
Eventually I did reach the first set of hoo-doos. No one else was around and I took a few pictures...made half an attempt to push onward, over a chalk-dry hill to see the next set, (as suggested), but soon gave up. I was 3/4 of a mile off the road, almost out of water, and wheezing and puffing in my beer-gut suit. It's like swimming in the ocean; if you get overwhelmed there's no calling TIME OUT. I turned back, feeling I'd done my best.
Besides this little lizard creature, the only other life-form I saw was a tiny kangaroo mouse (long bouncy legs), no bigger than my thumb, curled up under a little overhanginthe sand. He looked dead, but I gave him a little poke and his eyes widened slightly and his little paw moved a bit. Almost dead.. so I poured a little splash of water on him.. he moved a tiny bit more; so I filled up the plastic cap from my store-bought water and left it full, right at his mouth. A pathetic act.. at a pathetic moment. Ah well..I walked away, back to the bike.
Back on the Road.
Down past Lake Powell, a manmade lake caused by the damming of Glen Canyon River. The lake is extremely blue.. and there were a zillion boats being trailered into it, some quite large. Talk about pathetic... that lake looked neither long nor deep. I suppose when you live in a bone-dry land any mud-puddle is like the Atlantic.


No comments:

Post a Comment