Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I wake up this morning and grab the map and stare at it trying to decide where I’ll go today. Then I remember that I’m “home” for the next month just where I am in Bryce Canyon. I get ready, brushing my teeth and eating some breakfast and then I grab the map again and start to study it seeing what order I should stop at things on a path across southern Utah before I catch myself again and put the map back under the bed. It feels strange to just stop wandering; the way your arms want to keep rising when you put down a heavy load you’ve been carrying for a while. I’ll have to learn to stay still again in the coming weeks.

My cousin’s girlfriend K and her father are passing through Bryce on their way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and I meet up with them for a hike around Navajo Loop in the morning. I like to hike the loop backwards and start out descending a massive series of switchbacks carved into the rock between two fins. The trail turns faster and faster as the space between the fins tapers towards the bottom where the trail disappears into a dark corridor in the rock. I always imagine that the hikers with their packs trudging up the switchbacks out of the dark are involuntary parts of some earth moving operation, mining for silver, carrying bags of mud up the slope to be sifted like at Serra Pelada.

We hike through the loop and it’s fun to have someone to talk to while I hike but I’m not used to trying to talk while I’m out of breath from climbing and it makes me feel extra exhausted. We say our goodbyes back at the parking lot and they head off to the bigger canyon.
The sky is blue with little puffy clouds but each little cloud brings a 10 minute rainstorm as it passes. I decide this will be good practice for staying put and spend the hours around lunch sitting on the tailgate of my car under the cover of the trunk door reading. During a break in the rain I go down to the store in town to get some meat and vegetables to cook for dinner and discover a free source of wifi that I can use to post some entries on this blog.

After dinner I lie in my bed as the water that the pine needles accumulated from the day’s storms falls from the trees in big drops onto my roof. My neighbor has a fire burning made from illegally collected juniper branches that would be a shame except it smells so nice and sweet.

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