Salt lake city is a gleaming place. But I didn’t find too much to occupy me ,maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. The Mormons up on the hill were friendly and all said Hi. Everybody looked pretty, men in the fine tuxedos the girls in long black dresses and shinny silver tops, nice. Lots of them getting married and having their photos taken outside the locked doors of the salt temple, but I’d very nearly slipped a gear
Last night I dreamt that Sharon and I (my Hypnotherapy Teacher) were holed up in an old house out in the desert. Some giant ants as big as the house were on the way up the tarmacked road threatening us . (John her partner and the founder of the School) were coming to get us in an American WWII Sherman tank, trouble was the tank was very slow and the ants were getting close.
I woke up today really aching. Ooh my knees. I didn’t wait to get my trousers on. Got out and stretched in the cold morning air there in the lot of Liberty Park, quite a sight. Todays song is “I am the lord of the dance – A full choir” so I am expecting good things and I feel good right now
Across the road at the Beans & Brew, hot water with a lock on the door, I was like a little bird in there splashing about, singing away, yes sir
“And I’ll lead you all in the dance said he, so dance dace where ever you may be for I am the lord o the dance said he”
You know the rest, it’s quite infectious round and round and around.
Sat for a little while just watching people come and go. Now you tell me, blue trainers white socks half way up the calves, black short shorts, black baggy top T shirt not a good look is it? Arrestable in fact. I very nearly asked the two cops getting their morning shot to have a wordWe sped easily and painlessly out of the city onto the I-15 south the roads were quiet, it was just before 9am and I presumed everybody was at. The freeway too nice and easy, warm sunshine the world was glittering and I was glad of the warmth. We did super good time, humming bird held it at around 80mph comfortably all the way there.
I am not sure what time we arrived at Zion at the Kolob Canyons entrance.
I’d stopped once at a services, still deeply tired, just went to sleep again sat up, untill a little girl with a computer game bleeped and beeped and bipped. I thought at first it was something in the car till I saw here stood engrossed by my window… bloody kids eh.
The drive was wonderful time flew the I-15 runs down a valley beautiful mountains all the way down there, stress free and quiet.
It was noticeably quiet in the car in fact, there was nobody around, no hands buzzing no ringing, nothing. I did say good morning, but nobody answered. So I just let it be. It’s a funny thing when it happens, I always wonder they’ll come back. I should know better by now
At the visitors center I had to wait until two small children were officially sworn in, hands raised to being Junior Park Rangers. It was a sweet thing to witness, the elder of the two little kids, a little girl, her hands shaking with excitement as a real genuine park ranger swore them in with all the solemnity they could handle, an excellent moment.
Got my stamp and the map of the park and we were off. Right in and up to the Lee Pass trailhead. I was chomping at the bit now
Now before I go off in the deep end about how stunning Zion is.. I will just say Stunning it is. Over the next week I am going to be out there just about every day. So I will drip feed impressions as it could get repetitive
But after the freeway drive, a few minutes later we were confronted by a vast glowing pink orange wall so massive that for a few seconds its simply hard to believe what you are looking at
There is no denying the blink factor then the jaw drop and then silence. I fought the urge to get out of the car immediately. Wait for it wait for it
Then a 2 oranges and 2 apples and a peanut butter tortilla wrap in the bag. Gulped down as much water as I possibly could and literally exploded out into the wilderness
A sign in the visitors centre had said ‘many people don’t make it as the Kolob arch’ which is a 13 mile there and back walk. I took it as a direct challenge. It must have been around 3pm when I set off, I made the whole route and back at the car by around 8.30pm in the darkness. I did not stop
As I took off down the trail two middle aged men on horses were in front of me both of them had knives and loaded hip pistols, one an old western classic the other guy a modern trigger fingered Automatic thing. I had sniggered as one couldn’t get back on his horse. Plonkers
I wanted to asked them why they were carrying guns in a National Park, but I’m a foreigner and so who am I to judge. I was so intense as I hit the trail, I kept up with them. I had to laugh later, that I was trying to get past them. So much so that they stopped let me through. Perhaps I am being a little mean as I think they just wanted to have a picture as cowboys out in the wild, what ever floats your bat I suppose. I apologized later. Sorry.
I was let loose now. Shirt off and rocket fueled. I walked with my whole body, felt my energy and life force, legs, knees shoulders pushing forward. Light footed Skipping down the stream banks and jumping one move up the other, long strides, my boots covered in red dust again, loving it. I stopped only for split seconds to take a photo here and there.
All the way along weary faces and wobbly legs returning back up the trail, just about everybody I passed was red faced with exertion, I powered on, on fire with it, a powerful release of pent up energy of these last few weeks, just wanting to get out here.
Then I suddenly realized Cynthia was with me dancing and flowing all around me along the trail. I heard her say joyfully
“Come on come on”
It really made me smile and knowing she was there. It wasn’t Mercury. There is a different feel. So I turned it up even more we flowed along together.
People we past looked startled as we appeared and then were gone. Enjoying my physicality, nothing and nobody in the way just Cynthia and I like the wind.
I plucked sage and rubbed them on my bare skin, the air was warm and scented with heady intoxicating juniper too. In some spots so strong and still I could feel its presence. We burst into them stirring it up and taking clinging seductive threads with us like the fingers of a tender gentle lover pulling us back. I have missed the juniper. The only one out there to keep its modesty, still clothed in green, everything else skinny and bare bones,
The cottonwoods too, their gnarled and rugged trunks and branches not a sign of green on them, I had missed them too, they all felt like old friends. The cottonwoods have such character, they are drinkers and always thirsty.
It was just so beautiful, the whole place is bathed in orange and yellows, the magnificent cliffs and mesas near by with all their geological wonders displayed to see if you had time. I will slow and I will look, but for now, there was no stopping me.
I did stop and ask a couple if it was the right trail for the Kolob Arch I thought maybe I had run right past it. They answered in polite correct English, now I was taken aback
“Are you from the UK” I asked
They said they were on holiday for a week, the guy said slightly unhappily that they had to go back on Wednesday. I would have been too
I said well “At least you made it here today”
The lady pipped up all cheery and British “And what better day for it eh”
“Exactly” I replied just as cheery. I think he was a little grumpy, told me it was still quite a distance to go.
“That’s ok’ I said “See you” and we were gone
The deeper I went along the trail, the more I opened, my hands at one point I thought were going to burst..
“We were waiting for you in the car park” Cynthia said “ You made excellent time”
I was just laughing, powering across frozen ripples of ancient water washed sand. Incredible to comprehend, when framed by the colossal red orange cliffs above, the riverbed was under millennia of fossilized layers of mud and sand dunes hundreds of feet high.
My knuckles and fingers were the colour of the sand my veins the colour of the sage.
The trail turned right and begin to creep and cozy in closer to the cliffs now the streams flowing there was creamy and milky white, a group horses with riders came out of the bushes I wizzzed past them too
Then to my great delight we came to a sign that said Kolob Arch 0.5 miles and an arrow pointing back the way I had come said “Lee Pass 6 miles”
I was feeling it a little by that time, but dug deep, only half a mile, but it proved to be the toughed half mile, I forced my way up a canyon. I’d checked my phone and it was getting on for 5.30.
It was a joy to leap and climb and push like liquid further and further in over huge boulders and fallen trunks on my toes breathing deeply and deply focused.
It had started to nag me though that it was going to be just as long to get back and it would probably be in the darkness. Hm…
So finally, reluctantly I stopped stood for a moment and just looked back Grinning from ear to ear. Then I turned back, passed campers hanging hammocks from trees. I noted it for future
I am not sure how long it took to get back, I’m sure a little longer than it took to get in. Then I heard my dad loud and clear
“Go on Micky boy, Micky Macky”. He would have loved this so it was no surprise that he popped in.
“Hey Dad, you getting this” I said
I genuinely belly rocked laughing with him.
It began to get twilight and things begin to look a little different. Have you ever noticed it? Colours deepen, the naked cottonwoods now began to look very ghostly white like bleached bones, at times strange and unnerving. The sheer cliffs above me turned blood red now in the Golden hour light, juniper deepened her green and it came to me, that this was the perfect time to walk back as It was nice and cool.
I was beginning to tire a little with about 2.5 miles to go maybe an hour
I’d asked how far now and that it was I was told and it was dead on accurate. Trust your first reply.
It was the one I call Grandfather, the old one. He had come along to spur me on. I kid you not I felt his arm around my shoulder on the right hand side. He is always on my right. It comforted me very deeply that he was right there. He whizzed me along that last mile was really quite tough all up hill but I could feel him there His long tunic his long beard his lean powerful arms and it was almost lifting me of the ground, Lifting my spirits making me laugh. As we got really near I felt him disengage,
I said “No, all the way to the car park ….Please”
He came in close again his arm around my shoulders guiding me. Right up the flight of stairs that led onto the tarmac.
For a brief second I was bewildered. Where was the car?
Then I remembered it was 100 yards up the road.
“Stay with me right to the car please Grandfather” I said. He did.
I was very cotton mouthed when we got back. I lifted the water bottle up and poured feeling its coolness flood inside my body. Made a few wraps in the pitch darkness, good food, out there on the hood of hummingbird
I didn’t want to drive all the way down to St George it was 32 miles away I just wanted to have a nice beer, a treat and enjoy some writing. So back on the dazzling I-15 I chose to turn off at junction 27 for Hurricane, I thought it sounded appropriate for my energy today, but no.
Hurricane what a dull town, at that time of the day anyway, I ended up in McDonalds after searching up and down the main street for what seemed an age
I’d asked in a gas station where I cold get a ‘nice’ beer from the girl went beetroot red.
When she’d recovered she said as if it were cool
“Oh we do have a bar it’s called the Elk Bar, you’ll see it lit up there on the road side”
So off I went, happy boy. But, no Elk Bar. So in another garage same beetroot response to the beer question.
Then “It’s not the Elk bar it’s the Eagle bar
‘”Oh ok, where is it?”
Back where I’d come from, again
“You ‘ll see it” she said. But I didn’t. No sign. Literally.
One last try. A restaurant. “Oh it’s up by the bridge”
“Is I any good” I asked. “Oh I have no idea” Same beetroot blush.
Then it clicked… Utah, Mormons. Right !
So finally I found it and it was closed Argh!!
So back down the main street again. To find every single place in town closed at 10pm
“Hurricane ? After the hurricane you mean. Talk about an overblown name and most certainly not living up to it
I have to say bless Ronnie Mcdonald right then. The only place open in Hurricane, It’s an outrage in my book. Though the staff I think were stone deaf, kept leaving the damned bleeper on and on and on when the microwave or what ever was finished, it drove me nuts.
You can’t beat the Brits for this, a good long walk to where ever and then you are guaranteed of a nice pint, in a decent place, till a decent hour if you want it, in any nearby town. What a liberty, an outrage and it’s just not civilized.
After I’d recharged phone and lap top bought some blue moons from the garage and sat in the car to do this on a dark road somewhere outside the bright lights of Hurricane. The man on the counter said if you had taken one more minute I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been able to serve you. It was exactly 12am
He was putting my beers in a plastic bag and said “They make us do that” which puzzled me
I’d said “Well it seems the gods are looking after me doesn’t it “
I don’t think he knew what to say, beetroot expression again
I should have quoted Benjamin Franklin ‘Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy’ but maybe I’ll save it till another day, I may be here for a while