Realities Of A Long Road. 23.03.16

The long and winding road – The Beatles That was what I woke with today quite a surprise. That vein of melancholy would run through the whole day. Again remarkable, that just a song and its metaphors proves so prophetic

Slept well, it was tough to get out of the comfy bed but I had to move out today and it is always a wrench to uproot even if they have only had a few days to sink down. Was also good to shower and shave, it may very well be a few days before I can again.

Got all my stuff together, I have become much more careful since the blanket incident up in Idaho falls. I’ve lost a mobile phone I got in Santa Cruz and a set of really good earphones and other bits and pieces. The Blanket was the last straw.

So all done and double-checked then went down to have my continental breakfast with Sundin Joshie the Nepalese receptionist and manager. Known on his card as “Sunny or Josh’

I said “You’ve gone American”

He laughed “Yes, Possibly”

We’d had a chat last night about the state of Nepal. He’d had to leave because the communists had bombed his house and killed the king. They had promised many things but had ruined his country. It is going down and down he said

He told me a story that obviously deeply saddened him. The British had never conquered all of Nepal, just a few corners; one was Darjeeling where the British grew their tea. When the British were leaving India. They went to the Nepalese government and said would you like the land back. Instead of being magnanimous or grateful and have the country back the government of the time instead asked the British to give them money.

I watched his face, he was deeply saddened by it and I think he said it had been over 20 years since he’d been there.

“Can you believe that people will be so greedy, but it is the way of things there, so very corrupt”

I liked Sundin very much, actually, as soon as I’d walked in. I remembered Nepal and the Nepalese and how much of a relief it was to be there after the craziness of India. I think he was impressed that I was happy with room with a door that wouldn’t lock

We said good morning and both smiled happy to see one another, it is like that with some people isn’t it.

He said “You’ll be leaving today will you”

“Yes I’m afraid so I have to move on Sundin” I said

“Well, it was really nice to talk with you” He said and smiled

“Yes it has been good to meet you too” I said warmly

Genuine manners are gold aren’t they.

I sat and watched the news about the Brussels bombing, saddened and at a loss for what to say. We are all projecting what is inside of us out into the world, dressed in religious political or group beliefs. None of it is really true and yet all of it is reality. Everything is based upon how we feel,

I have always loved the statement by the late great Gil Boyne “Everyone is innocent even the guilty” If you are familiar with the work he did, the implications are very deep and truly enlightening.

There are many people traumatized and sadly bent out of shape by their circumstances, many it seems fall victim to the tides of the times, and to those who sail those stormy violent seas in shining ships promising, vengeance or greatness again. Some prophesizing destruction others making blockbuster movies about it, its all propaganda and we hurt and are speechless, angry vengeful at the end results of these poisonous ideas and twisted ideals, what ever they may be and however they manifest into this beautiful world.

And admittedly there are days like these when wisdoms and truths like Gil Boyne’s are sorely tested.

Zion National Park 23.03.162016-03-23 10.42.44

I noted today all the way across that the National Park flags were all at half mast, when asked why on the way out of Zion, the girl said

“There has been a couple of bombings in Brussels I believe”

I was pulling out of Terrace Brook Lodge Motel feeling happy to have met such a nice guy like Sundin. I was turning Hummingbird around and into the road. A long way off a car was approaching, he’d clearly seen me and I him. He but he accelerated and as he got level honked his horn angrily, I saw an old man, face twisted cussing me, for no reason at all or not one I could work out right then.

Reason left me instantly and I cussed back viciously. It was an unfairness, so I lashed back instantly and viciously. The old man and his wife were now in front of me in their car for about the next 15 miles crawling along as there was the usual traffic jam going into the park and through on highway 9 not that they even cared I supposed later. What was important was how I felt

It took me a few minutes, but I caught myself and worked hard to let go of the anger and injustice I’d felt. It is a terrible feeling. It took me a few minutes to let it go and all of the above had come home to roost. All our actions are based upon how we feel, and I obviously still have plenty of work to do.

Zion National Park 23.03.162016-03-23 10.54.35

Highway 9 goes through the amazing Carmel Tunnel. Building started in 1927 and was finished and opened in 1930 and at the time of its completion was the longest road tunnel in the US a remarkable feat at the time and as we drove onwards today onto the 89 at Mt Camel junction and then particularly highway 12 all the way to Capitol Reef the road in places is just astonishing. What a drive, it was long and winding and in fact quite lonesome.Highway 12 east before bryce 23.03.162016-03-23 12.56.41.jpg

On the other side of the tunnel the formations differed slightly, seemed more domed and softer and the redness of the deeper Zion Canyon faded first into Whites and very pale pastel pinks and then into predominantly Yellows and creams. By the time we got onto 89 the land was opening into huge wide vistas framed by the Mesas a few miles away. Everything looked dry dusty parched and cold.

I had planned to visit Bryce canyon but the nearer we got the more miserable it got which is awful really as the views were still incredible, but all the same just desolate. The nearer we got the colder it seemed, the mesas and hills all dusted with fresh snow.

The last time I’d arrived at Bryce it was closed, this time as I turned onto the road that led directly up to the park, all the sticky signs and attractions and trinket shops seemed to have spread further along the road like a rash, I know I wasn’t going in to see them but by the I got to the entrance. I’d had second thoughts and also I was short of cash, so I needed an ATM.

Highway 12 east after bryce 23.03.162016-03-23 13.41.35

Back at the “village” it was $3 just to draw some cash, No way. I stood still and though and felt and I thought I just don’t want to be here. I was in the mood for being off the path somewhere. Bryce Canyon is just on the far western side the Escalante National Monument on highway 12 to Capitol Reef. There had to be somewhere in all that wilderness for a boy from Blackpool to let off some steam and get out there

Highway 12 east after bryce 23.03.162016-03-23 14.44.31.jpg

On the way along I spied another classic car graveyard in a place called Tropic I think and thought they might have the missing Chrysler E. So we spun around pulled up and walked up to the house. I came around an old storage tank and there laying in the dirt was a great big Alsatian, he was surprised my me and I by him, we connected, he saw my “Oh shit” I saw him sus me and was up and coming right for me snarling and barking. I ran, gathering speed in seconds but he was gaining on me. All in that split second, I’d seen the chain and the collar and wondered how long it was, he was very nearly on me.

Now have you ever seen a deer jump a high fence, they sort of leap and give a buck with their back legs in mid air just to get that extra few inches to clear.

That is exactly what I did, he leapt at me, and I leapt as hard as I could, bucked looking over my shoulder, he went to snap and sink his teeth, I moved my ass just far enough out of the way and the chain whipped him stone still in mid air.

My heart was racing, he landed and continued snarling and barking pulling furiously at the chain and collar, whilst I shook up went up to the house and knocked still shaking a little at the door of the house. Nobody answered, so I walked round the plot anyway but there was no Chrysler E. and on the way out I shouted to him “Shuuuut uuup!!” To which he did for a second and looked really puzzled. That was a close thing I tell you.

Highway 12 east after bryce 23.03.162016-03-23 14.29.39.jpg

We passed a marker for summit 7777 I don’t know now what mountain, it just surprised me and it was getting quite liberal with the snowy powder. But not to worry a slight descent from there and onwards escorted by ever present pastel orange walled mesas off in the distance and in between sage and cedar bush and trees.

Then we came into Cannonville went onto the Visitors center for the Escalante National Monument where a crusty old man wasn’t to much help except to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to stay anywhere in the park overnight without a permit. He really irked me, I cannot begin to tell you the scale of the place, you could loose and army in there. I just thought he’s been out here way too long and dried up. I gratefully got my stamp and a map thanks him for his hike tips. And noted him watching me as I checked it against the contours of the diorama in the reception area. I dusted my sandals of and moved on.

Next a little detour to the Mormon graveyard on the other side of Henryville about two minutes away. It was a very neat and orderly place, not crucifix in sight, I’d honestly not expected that, but as I’ve said I think you can learn a lot about an area and culture from them. There was the grave stone of James Edward Smith made out of rounded rocks rather like a small stone chimney to look at. It said

Born June 15 1851 Died April 3 1908 Husband of Mary Susan Stephans & Elizabeth Jeanette Smithson and Father of 27 children. I think my mouth dropped open. And on his right was Mary Susan and his left was Elizabeth Jeanette both with identical little black marble stones barely visible above the ground. It sure was making a statement

At this point on the 12 it was all dust and dirt, yellows some dirty some bright some dark pastel and some light. I stopped now and again to read the roadside historic or geologic info which is always bite sized but brings things into perspective in very cool ways. It really was cold windswept and dry out there.

And then Escalante and the Petrified Forest. Again went to the visitor’s center. Two lady’s in National park brown but no hats looked like the mesas outside. Still dreamy and far far away,

“Hello” I said breezily “looks like I got lucky today, just me and just the two of you”

It vaguely lifted some dust and they smiled weakly. But as I asked them about which areas were best to hike the dark eyes ones cinders and tinder’s flickered into life which pretty soon spread across the counter and they both chattered giving me directions, assuring me the Petrified forest hike was really beautiful. I’d also asked about another road.

“Oh that’s the old Cedar Wash road, we have no reports about that at all”

They asked me about my car as they said it was a washboard for quite a lot of it

“But you can go on out there and drive as far as you like and do what you like out there, stay as long as you like.. but just don’t get lost”

What a pair of Gals, right up my street. Petrified Forrest Hike Highway 12 23.03.162016-03-23 15.59.01

So Petrified Forest, it was and though fascinating to see the coloured and shattered remains of that ancient 60 million year old Cretaceous forest I was on the look out for something else.

Petrified Forrest Hike Highway 12 23.03.162016-03-23 16.11.34

And then there it was just below a canyon a deserted dried riverbed with pink and cream layered walls, it was screaming out to me come on down. I lit up and in a few minutes was prowling the canyon edges looking for a way down. I of course found one, but a few first choices I had to let be as my foot was better but still not sure of itself and so not solid enough for a serious climb down.

Petrified Forrest Hike Highway 12 23.03.162016-03-23 16.30.59.jpg

But anyway once down, I spent a happy few hours exploring the deserted flash food canyons through the shadows and cold spots around bends into the warm glorious sunshine cold then hot over and over again and again. Petrified Forrest Hike Highway 12 23.03.162016-03-23 16.50.28.jpg

I made it all the way to the end of one, where a waterfall would have been in a different season. I climbed it with the Beatles in my head and decided I would just take a rest in a sunny spot. I laid down in the sand closed my eyes.

Petrified Forrest Hike Highway 12 23.03.162016-03-23 16.44.04

I was looking at a hitching post, the poles that they tie horses too outside saloons in westerns. In the background was open high desert plateau that was all for a few moments, then is just vanished like mist and I was then looking at the yellow lines in the middle of a black tarmacked toad. I came too feeling sleepy but rested and warmed by the sun shielded from the wind down there. I again didn’t try to make anything of it. It seemed obvious.


Really enjoyed the climb and the walk back to Hummingbird, and then took off towards bolder where I thought I’d spend the night.

Petrified Forrest Hike Highway 12 23.03.162016-03-23 18.08.11.jpg

I have to say that the engineers that built this road at this stretch have done a staggering job. It bobbed and weaved and turned. Just amazing at one point, with one slip I could have gone over either side.

Trouble with Bolder was there is nothing there, except a restaurant and that was full. It did have a motel but it just didn’t seem right even though the receptionist said I could work in the guest area. I pulled a card 6 of wands capitol reef 4 swords Bolder. I also remembered what I’d seen the lines in the road and the road had been moving and that is what I’m reaching for, so off we went

2016-03-23 19.15.56.jpg

In that darkness on that winding road came a dark night of the soul moment for me. There had been some sort of melancholy all day to be honest. It was a full moon and was so incredibly bright at times it dazzled me and I genuinely though a huge truck was coming up behind me at certain points. Stunning, I have never seen a moon so bright. High altitude clear air and at one point 9400ft we were far closer than I normally am to it.

Why was I doing this again? Feelings welling up, regrets painful memories. Sorry’s gosh I didn’t did I and why am I doing this again? It surfaced as we left bolder lasted the 39 miles which I did at around 30 mph, because though I was feeling really sad, I didn’t have a death wish.

I was so glad to see the lights of a chevron garage at end of the 12

“Well hello there” I said my eyes aching and again vaguely tearful . I rolled into the first place, well actually the only place in the town of Torrey open. I was hoping for some warmth and though I have come to genuinely and deeply respect the Mormons, for their hardiness, determination, dedication, strength of spirit and community, it has to be said they don’t seem to throw a good party.

I had a salad didn’t get the glass of wine I’d ordered and the chips, well it wasn’t Bermondsey’s finest that is for sure. I think I actually laughed when she served them on a saucer

The sweet waitress said “oh would you like more”

I said “I’m sorry no it’s fine”

So my seeing and the 6 of wands. I was puzzled that that seemed that. It added to my feeling of disappointment. The waitress had said they sometimes stay open a little later nearer to Capitol Breaks, 10 miles away.

I just wanted to be somewhere to write this, perhaps a coffee, not much to ask. So after mulling and milling around the church car park in the dimming lights of Torrey. I though, oh just go, and then a mile or two along the road a great big oasis of light and a great big glowing TeePee that seemed to floating in the darkness. A bright glowing sigh, splashing light right out into the deserts said Capital Reef Resort it they looked like they were wiping the tables still, the parking lot was full of parked cars. I though “maybe”

So I pulled in went to reception asked the girls there Lexi & Jenifer if it would be ok if I came in for an hour, just sit and to do some writing,

We don’t mind” they said looking at one another. “Ask Shane in there”

Shane turned out to be sweet warm and openhearted man. He never batted an eyelid. In fact he made sure I was comfortable in ther

“Were just about to switch the lights off in here but your welcome to sit in reception right here if you like” and Jennifer chirped up

“I’ll make you a coffee too if you like”

It was a six of wands moment and a seeing fulfilled.

Shane went straight off as soon as I was settled and Jennifer too after about an hour, The fridge hummed loud and metallically, so the piped music struggled to be heard far away behind it. But it was warm in there, comfortable brown leather couches, a table top to work on with a wooden carving of 3 running horses , and sheep skin cushions just like home, coffee all evening. What a wonderful bunch. I sat there till just before 2am Lexi would pop up from behind the counter now and again and make a coffee. I couldn’t see here but now and again heard her answer the phone, Excellent. But then no avoiding it Hummingbirds back bench seat, I didn’t mind that, too much nor the darkness but the cold of the Utah winds I did. It was cold.

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