San Rafael Swell: Part Two - The Swell
The winding, dusty red dirt road through the swell
If I could sum up southern Utah with one word it might be “access.” While living in Alaska, I learned how much I used to take that for granted. Now, living in Utah, I can go almost anywhere I want to via road or trail. There is little need to strike up an expedition when you can usually get to where you want to go in an Expedition. Within three hours, Seth and I had already left the confusion of Salt Lake City behind and hitched our steel wagon by the Upper Black Box Trailhead. Seth and I both agree that calling it a trail would be generous. We wandered and strayed here and there more than a meandering river at times.
However, the payoff was a grand view down into a steep-walled, black canyon with the San Rafael flowing far below our feet. Heights have a way of dividing people, and Seth and I were no exception. I have a love for high places, and I feel at home near the edge, while Seth feels more at home 25 yards away from it. I do not mean to say that I do not respect high places, but that I enjoy the perspective they give to the viewer. It is similar to gazing at the Milky Way, which I will talk about later.
Set Ewing Looking across the swell towards the snow-capped mountains to the east
On the way back to the Xterra, I couldn’t help but stare at all of the rock around me. Geology and photography cause my gaze to be drawn up and down at a nearly constant rate. I must look very agreeable while hiking, my head bobbing up and down. Maybe one day one of those Dippy Birds will follow me home and call me, “Momma!” Who knows? When Seth and I returned to the SUV, we were both starting to get hungry and in need of three of the four Thoreauvian necessities: food, shelter and fuel.
Seth sending sonorous strains forth from his Irish whistle while watching the sunset Hungrily, Seth quickly sets up his cookstove on an agreeable slab of red sandstone Seth preparing his freeze-dried dinner in the fading sunlight
With the warm, late-afternoon sun descending towards the horizon, we quickly set up camp on a central ridge overlooking the river and surrounded by steep canyon walls and vistas. Seth was content enough to sit in his Crazy Creek camp chair, filling the air with energetic notes from his Irish whistle, while I busied myself with my camera and tripod, hoping to capture the last few rays of Golden Hour sunlight. Again, we find ourselves seemingly at odds, Seth with his stationary position and I with my frantic movements back and forth across the plateau. Rapid reports emanating from my camera along with the jovial notes from Seth’s whistle formed an odd symphony in the rapidly cooling air; the sun had set.
Next week's post: The Night
The sun has set; the frigid desert night rapidly approaches
Keywords: Adventure, Black Box, Camping, Canyon, Colby, Cooking, D800, Desert, Explore, Friends, Geology, Heights, Hiking, Nikon, Photography, Pictures, Red, Rock, Sunset, Thoughts, Trail, Trailhead, Utah, Winter, Wright, Xterra
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