“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” – Edward Abbey
A significant portion of the land area of Utah – over 60% – is public land. These lands support a wide variety of activities from recreational pursuits to natural resource development. I believe it is key to the preservation of our open spaces to allow access in a wide variety of ways in addition to preserving and protecting the resource. How else will we develop in the minds and hearts of present and future voters the love for and respect for these open spaces.
That being said, it was time to get out and do some off road exploring with a new friend from Moab.
Pete and I took off early yesterday to do some off-roading and exploring. It was also a great opportunity to hone my off road driving skills and try out the not so new jeep.
The off roading was a kick! While most of the road was easy dirt there were enough tricky areas to keep the blood flowing.
The Shafer Trail switchbacks (Canyonlands National Park) were both exciting and frightening due to long, unforgiving drop-offs and dizzying views. Named after John Shafer who built the trail in the early 1900’s and later used to haul uranium ore out of the canyon and back toward Moab.
After tackling the switchbacks it was time for some technical work – It was great to have a spotter out ahead on the trail to help direct the safest route. It is much steeper with steps than it looks in the photo and you can just imagine Pete saying “stay right!”.
But he was still able to get this great image of me navigating the technical stuff.
The last challenge for the day was “Pucker Pass” appropriately named by some imaginative jeepers back in the day. And yes, I drove through that small hole – it certainly doesn’t look as small from the other side!
“There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.” – Edward Abbey
Along the way the scenery was amazing with several stops including the point made famous by the 1991 movie “Thelma and Louise” where the final scene was filmed.
Having a guide familiar with the area is definitely a plus as we took a hike off the road to discover an area filled with great petrified wood examples.
Petrified wood is a fossil formed when plant material (in this case trees) is buried by sediment and protected from decay by oxygen and organisms. Groundwater flowing through the sediment replacing the original plant material with silica, calcite, pyrite or another inorganic material completely transitioning it to stone. These “log fossils” were poking out of the ground and laying flat in layers of rock.
The end of another awesome day in Moab – maintaining the goal of “perpetual awe”.
“We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope.”
– Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire