Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 Road Trip, Dio Cetiri, Utah

Part Three, The Beehive State

June 8.  The morning in Baker, Nevada proved to be much less windy and much less lonely than the evening before.  Pairs of birds sang from a nearby ditch, another pair from the picnic pagodas, and even more from their hunting grounds in the fields.  Suka and Harvey found a tiny horny toad to play with and Suka demonstrated the 'soft jaw' capabilities of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers by picking the little guy up and carrying him around for a while, then spitting him out without a scratch or a squish.  Harvey surely wouldn't have been so gentle.  

Just across the state line, Utah was just more desolate desert.  To really make a point of how harsh desert life can be, a dead cow lay in the sand near the road, not a drop of water in sight, picked completely clean by vultures except for it's skin and grassy stomach matter.  The unfortunate cow, despite being just a shell of it's former shelf, still lay in the position it died in, upright with it's head leaned gently against it's foot.  Maggots had been left to finish up whatever they could, and i'm sure eventually some lone coyote will lope by and drag away the hide or a bone.  It was sad to see, but also I feel very lucky to have had a little window into the 'circle of life'.  So often we find a dead animal or a bone, but rarely do we get to see first hand what happens during the process of decay, especially when scavengers like vultures are involved.  It was a real 'National Geographic moment'!

We stopped in St. George for $2 showers at the rec center, then lathered up with sunscreen and drove on.  We reached Zion National Park at 3.  We weren't sure if our parks card had expired or not since 'June' is a relatively vague expiration date, but the gate man didn't seem to care, or he just didn't notice.  The road through the park didn't open until 4, so we spent the hour walking around in the scorching sun looking at lizards and cacti, and slowly dieing of heat exhaustion.

The drive through the red cliffs and canyons was worth the wait.  The road was narrow and dangerously curved around everything it possibly could, but Shaun and I couldn't keep from cranking our heads sideways to try to get a good look at the rock walls towering above us.  It was amazing and beautiful, but there was absolutely no place to stop along the road, so it was impossibly to get any good pictures.  

We drove through Jacob Lake and spent a gorgeous evening camping in the Kaibob National Forest, with a warm breeze swirling the delicate honey smell of fresh flowers all around us.

And of course... the photos!

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