I’d stayed at Denny’s last night till gone 2am drinking rivers of coffee, a familiar face but not quite a local, I’d gone back to Lions Park fully expecting a good nights sleep, but I had to get up so many times to empty the clog, so when I actually awoke today I was dazed
Lanell had said “Hey you drink plenty of water with that coffee, we’re in a desert you know” I followed local advice and paid for it, mind you I’m sure my skin will be grateful for it down the line.
I packed my bedding up, I am really missing that extra quilt, then rolled to down town Moab, which is basically a main street that has been taken over by adventure seeker shops, stone and rock shops, restaurants, and jewelry shops. It’s not a bad looking place at all, in fact the reason I came back here is that I’d enjoyed the easygoing vibe last time.
That has been high jacked a little at the moment by all the 4 wheelers who are hear in abundance. The lgirl last night told me they come from all over the US for it. Moab also have a gay pride march, which somehow seemed comical to me, it just has to be out of towner’s. All the way out here to have a gay pride march, I don’t think anyone really minds either way, it’s that sort of town and is by all accounts, well in Denny’s anyway, a little lost on the locals,
I’d gone to the same coffee shop as they had good internet connection. I got the plug by the wall today and just as I was settling in the lady I‘d disturbed arrived
“Hey” she sad brightly “It’s my plug buddy”
She turned out to be called Bonnie Baxter a down to earth, direct and funny lady. We laughed at the various naughty signs some locals had put up under the serious noses of the Mormons who by and large hadn’t noticed except unbelievably, in Hurricane.
Apparently there has been outrage there because a man has erected a statue of a big bull with huge genitalia to advertise his shop opposite a school and of course the kids immediately spotted it, it was on fire with scandal. I was laughing as I’d seen the bull but missed his balls. I ’d been preoccupied looking for an Elk that turned out to be an Eagle. There was also the “Tasty Beaver café” and the famous Thunderbird Restaurant “Home of the Ho Made Pies” at Carmel Junction.
She turned out to be a director at the Great Salt Lake Institute and professor of biology at Westminster College there. Don’t you love coffee bars out in the deserts you just never know who you’re plugged in next to. It was a great way to spend the morning. I’d actually written down last night ‘Some stimulating conversation would be good’ and here it was.
She was in Moab with her kids and a few of their friends hiking having some quality time. She studied and I hope I do her justice here, salt resistant microbes and was applying what she has discovered to repairing sun damaged DNA in people. Apparently there are microbes up in the great salt lake that manage to survive in 30% salt water and turn the salt pink in the process. The same organisms exist in Iran and Australia, which I thought quite curios, she put it down to migrating birds.
She told me her and her team had discovered organisms that grow-produce hydrogen. That was a bit of a bombshell. That would be a staggering break through if it could be applied to future energy needs and apparently it is a reality. We sat and chatted for a quite some time and just before she left dropped another interesting morsel for me to chew over all day.
“For life to exist on a planet you need tectonic plates and volcanoes. It’s called carbon recycling. Through these processes carbon is thrown into the air where plants are then able to absorb it and recycle it. I thought about on and off for the rest of the day.
They are looking for life on mars in the salt there but said she would be very surprised if they find it because mars was a dead planet, There is no engine running within mars.
Interesting and thought provoking stuff, I’d been glad of the company.
Then I wrote for a while and got a few more festivals sorted for the summer.
Then off to Arches, arrived there at around 11.30am to find a queue all the way out of the park entrance gates. I didn’t mind. It gave me a little time to get myself prepared. Once in, got my stamp and off we went up the steep climb and there we were in another world. As I said the last time I came through here I absolutely loved this place and I haven’t changed my mind. I knew what I was looking at this time when we came up over the rise. The land sort of leans to the southeast, you can see right across as far as the fragile arch.
It is just amazing to see it. Zion is up there where the God live but his is where they come to play.
I was out for a light wander today but there were a lot of people on the trails and so I of course took off, away to one side when nobody was looking and so you know what happened next. I started climbing; out there on my own steam and in my own thoughts. I took care not to stand on the vegetation which is in fact very delicate and kept mostly to the deer trails which cross crossed the sands. But once up on the rocks and the petrified dunes I was away.
I could feel all day that my normal energy levels were really low. I had to work hard on myself Arches is such a special place and I wanted to make the most of it.
So there I was climbing jumping and I have to say at times crawling across the rocks. Just looking into and across the land, being quiet and finding my own way through the maze of fins (which is what they call these rocks) hiking over the petrified dunes trudging along the sandy trails
At one point I looked up after coming out between two giant red monoliths I came out face to face with a deer, it didn’t run it, just seemed as startled and as curios as I was and just stood looking at me head going side to side, blinking and wondering what I was. I didn’t move a muscle.
Then from behind it came around another 10 one by one peeping around the leader, they all gathered under a juniper tree and seemed to be quite at a loss about what to do about me, I think I was right in their path. I managed to get my camera out really slowly and filming them, it was such a gift.
I did try and open up too, but I think I was just to tired, I did get a glimpse of travelling a dusty road, there was a turning but I carried on. It was the right thing to do and I came to a rough wooden house, with lights on the front. I haven’t tried to analyze it. We’ll see what happens.
I stumbled back onto a trail but ducked off again, found a hidden arch, I was going to turn back as it was a dead end, but saw a log leaning against the red walls it looked a little unnatural, so I pondered it, turned away and then turned back, somebody had put it there, “Come on geezer” I said “You can do it”
So with all the agility I could muster, I just about managed to get on it and slid up the wall and through the arch. I was quite pleased with myself. Then just followed a trail I found. All day I’d seen people on one of the massive fins far away up on top like little ants. I’d wondered how they’d got up there.
The trail I’d found seemed to lead up towards that fin. So I followed it, it got steeper and rougher and steeper, till I was climbing up near vertical rubble and fallen rocks. At a certain point I noticed that all the foot prints seemed to be going the other way. I thought it might just be a dead end. But as you may be gathering by now, once I have a bee in my bonnet I will follow it, It had to lead somewhere.
I have to say here that once or twice I looked back and it was just a long drop backwards, but I kept on. Then onto a sort of ledge with a huge boulder to get over literally by my finger tips and into a cavern with another hidden arch excellent, I was very pleased with myself.
I knew that place I’d seen everyone standing on had to be nearby. I looked around and there was a narrow crack in the rock leading upwards into what seemed the blue sky. It had a thick juniper root running right down it. That had to be the way. So, about half way up a thought crossed my mind what if its just a drop n the other side when I get up, I looked back
“Too late dude” I said I was committed; my stomach I have to admit did flutter, but no going back.
Then to my great relief and shaking I pulled myself up onto the top of Black Arch overlook . I was very pleased with myself. It had obviously been done before many times I realized once I was up there, but I’d done it on instinct, no map, I wasn’t even sure where I was. So much for a nice light hike. I had been right too there were families up there and couples strolling about casually, I emerged puffing and red faced.
“Always the difficult route eh Mick”
From then I promised that I would be a good boy and follow the trail which I happily did enjoying the laughter of a group of young girls singing and messing about all the way back down
On the way back I stopped the car opened the doors let my feet hang out, to get one last look out across the land, It was the golden hour, everywhere ablaze with golden dazzling orange light.
I feel into a seeing. I was in the orange rocks, there was a trail I’d been following it, when it seemed to come to a dead end. I saw myself looking up and around then I saw at a path cut into the rocks It wasn’t obvious at fist, it was going up at about 45% were things going to turn upwards again. It seems so.
There had been little chit-chat all day I’d been left alone again. I sat there and I think I sank very deeply, I missed the warmth and laughter of my girl. Sometimes it’s good to experience longing, isn’t it? I wasn’t sad or depressed, I wasn’t sorry, I was right there, but the genuine love of a beautiful woman is a precious thing. It’s taken some time.
In the daily grind and the blur, people, small things, kindnesses and we ourselves are taken for granted, our own goodness. Some things are hard to forgive, outside and within ourselves, in my case anyway. So now and again a swim in the great ocean or across the deserts, where ever that may be, just yourself and the gods for company, to face yourself, is a healthy thing.
I was also still smarting from the previous days explosion.
I had a plan. I shook the heaviness off went back down into town and took it easy, had a beer. I was feeling much better and at the 10pm the Mormon watershed I went up main street to sit in Denny’s one more time. Talking with Jeff and catching the odd word from the unflappable ‘Oh hell’ Lanell and the enduring stoic cook who nodded to me, cap turned backwards and who’d confessed yesterday, she’d done time for hitting a cop, 4 years apparently. I liked them all very much. Coffee and conversation flowed easily and endlessly
They were a tonic, let me get on with my thing and seemed to feel easy with me being furniture for a few days.
I have enjoyed very much just sitting at the bar watching the animated kitchen, Lanell the lightning bolt and I suspect a great person to have on your side, kept the team spirits up and kept it all flowing, every team needs a Lanell. Jeff is big eyed and close cropped head getting married in 2 weeks to his sweetheart and apparently moving east. Honest and sweet
He told me grinning “what ever you do mick, don’t ever be a waiter” but he made it look so good just doing what he was doing, there was joy in Jeff, it was good to see and to be around him. I’d give him a job, Team Leader for sure
The Chef craggy and tough looking, had a broken hand the result of punching a wall a week ago, tough for sure, but has some deep sensitivity going on with her. If she trusts you you’re a friend for life type
Everyone shouting out exactly what they were doing, what they were serving, what they were cooking, what they needed and what they didn’t need to one another. I loved sitting there listening to their voices. It was a good ship and in the background far away some old classic rock n roll scratching away. Peggy Sue I think, right when the moment registered onto my consciousness
Sometimes being in a country is not just about the different sites and the history, its about, if you get the opportunity, just being in the country with the people who make it tick. That is a real treat, I have been very lucky many times and is one of the reasons I have loved the US, The people seem to just let me be there
“You awright mate” Jeff called from the kitchen in his best British accent and his thumbs up.
“Yeah mate” I said “I couldn’t be better”