• Red Canyon, Utah

    Like Yale Forestall, the hero in The Dirt, a novel of mainstream-contemporary fiction, I live on the edge of the Colorado Plateau, which means I’m on the verge of red rock country. While I love the mountains which I’m also perched on the flanks of, a slight favorite is southeast Utah. Once west of Blanding, […]

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  • Gooseberry Mesa

    Cedar Breaks

    Campsite envy is a horrible disease, a pernicious gangrene of the soul. I’m on Gooseberry Mesa, a couple miles from Smithsonian Butte. It’s the backdoor to Zion NP. I drive with a few miles of red dust as my rooster’s tail to find my spot, only to see someone snap up an […]

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  • Abert

    I dropped down a gravel road from the western scarp wall of Hart Mountain, a gigantic fault block mountain that, like a keep with retaining walls 3,600 feet in height, dominates the surrounding terrain of Warner Valley.  The road almost in freefall. These cliffs impose heavy shadows upon the floor of Warner Valley near the […]

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  • My Own National Park

    North Rim Vista

    Amazing how the cosmos cosmoscizes.  I need to let someone know I’ll be out of phone contact for a few more days, but my cell has no service.  Hadn’t seen a two-legger in even more days. Four mountain bikers show up, one of whom has a perfectly splendid and working cell […]

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  • Narrow Canyon

    After a breakfast of cold oats and an orange, I take Highway 95 a few miles to Rec Road 633, which comes in on the north between the Colorado and Dirty Devil rivers. This crimson track traces around the base of a thin rock wall decaying into fins. I travel it for one mile, park […]

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  • Riding the Sturm Out

    I reach camp. The backpackers parked about a mile north have gone. Now, I am truly alone at the end of this road. I gorge on two cans of cold tuna and a huge bag of toffee cashews. As an afterthought, I decide to check the weather.  The forecasts have worsened. Rain all night. Thunder […]

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  • Return

    At day’s end, I hike back toward camp, down the red clay of Hole-in-the-Rock Road. Another storm rolls off the Straight Cliffs which loom in the west, taking up half the sky. Lightning strikes to the south along the flat expanse of rangeland dotted with sage. I climb down to a low spot and watch […]

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  • Getting Away from YOU

    Where would you hide something from the public?

    I’d moved out to the Four Corners so I could savor the solitude, 11 miles from the nearest town (pop. 1,000), five hours from the nearest city. But that wasn’t solitudinous enough. So I drive out to Escalante, hundreds of miles from home. But that’s not […]

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  • The Mountain of the West

    Naatsis’a’an

    I’d only been closer to the supremely isolated Navajo Mountain once, years back when I’d driven toward it along a Native road and then got out and hiked to its base on Navajoland. A Dine’ couple had stopped in their car and asked me if I was lost and whether I needed help. […]

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  • Hole-in-the-Rock

    Navajo Mountain,from the south

    I headed south, up across Boulder Mountain to Escalante. Road trips, for me, are a blend of planning and inspiration, with inspiration taking the lead. Up I drove over the Aquarius Plateau, the highest forested plateau on the continent at 11,000 feet. Snow blanketed its eastern flanks, and at times, […]

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