Sunday, July 17, 2016

Little Hole...canyon, that is

I read a lot of guide books and pore over a lot of maps. There're so many places to see I depend on the weather to help me choose. Drawn to the peace and quiet of the more remote I hope to help keep them that way by not writing about them. 

But I chanced upon the book Wild Utah by Cunningham & Burke (Falcon Publishing, 1998) in which they argue that the way to save places is to tell people about them so they'll go there after which they'll advocate for their preservation. But I gotta ask -- How many of you have taken the time to advocate? Ah well, even a little hope is better than just leaving it to the developers.

I was relieved to find I had the trailhead to myself. C & B's description of this Wilderness Study Area and the fact that it was just up the road from where I was (Moab) made it an easy decision. The trail, which leads to Westwater Canyon of the Colorado River, is well-marked and obviously popular. My vestigial marketeer had me wondering if everyone found it through their book.

This was my first venture into wilderness in several years so I was pleased to feel the ever-increasing sense of safety that accompanies distance from culture. That calm that comes from the falling away of status, appearance or expectations. The instead is sooOOOOo much more diverse, ain't it?  

Top O' the Trail Pouroff

Age means more time on task with the feet and with that blind eye making depth perception more interesting I use a stick when going down. My pace, still the same after all these years, means stopping frequently to "test the air."

There's something about being completely "away" that brings forth a visceral, almost instinctual "Aahhhhhhhh." I strip to my boots and hat to relish the full-body contact. The lack of water and cows in these places often means few, if any, (annoying) insects. 

The trail

Most libraries can print your letters for about ten cents a page. The literature indicates "they" are getting the message -- that the time of resource exploitation is past. If, like me, you enjoy the out of doors sans flies and the reek of cowshit, please take a few minutes to write the land management's supervisor and your legislators to let them know. 

As skeptical as I am I'm encouraged by the recent successes of Western Watersheds Project and Advocates for the West. Like all non-profits, any contribution is helpful.

The trailhead. Only a little bareground. 

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