• 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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  • U-rain-ee-um

    I ran out of road. I needed a spot to camp, one that wouldn’t charge cash since I had a grand total of $6.65 in loose change loaded into an old towelette barrel. I turned around, rode an abandoned asphalt highway until it connected back up with I-70. Kept driving west though the treeless Utah […]

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  • Fire

    A few weeks ago, I wrote about the drought affecting the Four Corners region of the U.S. Since then, the drought has only worsened to become, perhaps, the worst since written records were kept in the 18th century. Now, two fires,  the 416 Fire about 13 miles north of Durango, and the Burro fire northeast […]

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  • Part III: Fisher Towers

    The next morning, I muddled my truck through the endless malls of Grand Junction and hopped on 70, setting my course for Ruby and Westwater canyons. I missed exit 225 to Ruby. I was looking for Harley Dome Road, but didn’t see the name on the exit sign. Damn them for not putting the name […]

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  • Part II: Uncompaghre Plateau

    I drove on and up toward the midsized city of Grand Junction, known by West Slope Coloradans as Junction. All the while, all the last few weeks, the mountains, these San Juans, and the Abajo farther west in Utah, slept under snow-maker clouds. I felt relief compared to the last few spring times, when the […]

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