Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Through the Black Canyon

The salt flats flow along the highway towards Salt Lake City. I see a sailboat floating on the flats and realize I’ve reached the lake. In town I see an unnerving billboard that says “Thanks for all the laughs, Brian. 1980-2013” At least it wasn’t 1984. I take a route that breaks off from the interstate and follows state routes through Aurora and Antimony. This shows me a green Utah with grasses and cattle among the trees in the valleys of the Fish Lake forest. A house is decorated with old forestry implements; axes and two-man saws. A man moves his horses around a caved in shack with slaps on their rumps.

The road then goes through the Black Canyon and there is no centerline so I come carefully around the blind corners of the river tracing road. The rocks of the canyon are black and purple and grey laced with silver sagebrush and rabbit brush. When I emerge from the canyon the pink and white rocks of the Claron Formation can finally be seen on the edge of the plateau where the weathering of water has pitted and sheared cliffs and hoodoos down through the layers and the ponderosa pine and juniper grow wherever they can get a foothold. This is the landscape of Bryce Canyon and the Paunsaugunt Plateau. 

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