Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the Skyline yestereve, Drie, Amy, Ryan and I went on a lark away from the cares of the valley. There were quite a few bucks holding forth on the ridges as we crawled along in the 4-Runner.
Things are going well this summer; very nice, but way too quickly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Drie, Jesse and I took a long drive to and from Fillmore today, heading on out there to pick up a few things to tote around for Drie's mom.
Glad we had air conditioning on this trip!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another quest was undertaken yesterday, with fish both landed and broken off, views both terrible and majestic, strange phenomenon and blessed happenstance, all during one complete circuit in the midst of a summer's day.

Along with the undeniably good we experienced, we were startled on our way by an act of cultural and spiritual terrorism perpetrated upon Torrey, Utah. The old LDS building, erected in 1928 to replace the even older log meetinghouse (still standing and acting as a Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Hall), had been architecturally bedeviled by the church over the years until it was finally set on a course of demolition sometime this week.
The stones had been hand-worked and placed, made from stone native to the area. Babies were blessed there, marriages performed, consciences piqued and assuaged, wars worried over, loved ones mourned and celebrated, and, well, God worshipped. But no more. It was knocked down by rude machinery, without regard to the hallowed place, sentiments, or material.
The world keeps turning, and as I heave a sigh, I can only hope that we'll be all right. Humans can be so unfeeling, at times.

Ah, but all is not lost on the vast sea of human endeavor. Ryan and I took a chance detour onto the high desert in the midst of high summer, and insodoing, we met good people doing great things. At the Mesa Farm Market in Cainesville (Caineville on the map and to modren folk), Randy Ramsley, his wife, and a crew of darned fine people do thier thing. They bake bread in an outdoor oven, brew Chiapan coffee, raise goats, organic vegetables, divine herbs, and a generally positive ruckus in and amongst the good people of Wayne County, Utah. This is the view from their kitchen window. O, Lord...

We talked on subjects ranging from paleoantropology to Carl Jung and the impression of the good thinker/worker on the collective and all manner of metaphysics. Randy graciously (and, quite probably, patiently) related his experiences (nosey tourists we were, afterall!) in finding and acquiring the land he works and of the lessons learned so far in a life entered into thoughtfully and deliberately, and of difficulties with working with the seasons whims and the necessities of caring for the earth that cares for us. He spoke of wisdom in action and static knowledge, and seems to know a thing or two about the way things work or, in many cases, fail to work out.
We had a wonderful time with them.

These wild burros called us off of the beaten path again, and into the San Rafael Swell. Mayhaps of the same blood as those who accompanied dear old Everett Ruess. They run the desert now with the antelope and desert sheep, the jackrabbits and coyotes. Onward toward home we went, as he thunder rumbled through the redrock. The rain poured, and nourishing was their effect on the seeds planted in our hearts throughout the live-long day.
On to wisdom in action, and to visions carried to fruition.
Ah, sweet, blissful work.

But there is a difference between knowing the path and walking it.
It might be a little while, yet. I'm a man infirm, in many ways.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The last of the snow this 24th, with a drift on the cut side of the shoe keeping the skyline closed, I have it on very good authority.
It's a pretty good water year, as snow years go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Black Cañon, just over the Skyline from we lucky SpringTowne types, holds in her orbit more beauty that one place ought to keep to herself. I'm happy that she shares with some, nevertheless.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's raining again here in SpringTowne.
July showers here are usually a product of the Monsoon, when low pressure and the jet stream combine to bring tropical moisture up from the Pacific west of Mexico up to our high desert plateaus and valleys.
We usually rejoice at this; the sheer change from blistering white heat and dry to the cool moisture and dusky illumination of cumulonimbus curtains.
But right now, things aren't so happy. We tried to purchase a house much more sufficient to our family's needs over the weekend in a deal that should have been fairly easy to figure out and close, but we weren't able to swing it this time. The situation turned emotional and, by the way were felt it, unreasonably one-sided. We probably could have snatched the deal from the flames, but the situation felt so sour to our sensibilities that, after close consideration to our feelings and spiritual moorings, we decided to let the thing go.
Presently, along with other setbacks and situations, we, and more particularly I, am depressed to the point of physical consequences. This is despite numerous mental and physical exercises with the purpose of redirection and reconciliation to the reality and benefits of our circumstance. It's a frustrating predicament, and rather irrational in its effects.
My reality overall is that of a somewhat overextended father of eight who teaches both in a difficult alternative setting with an emotionally abusive administrator and over the impersonal medium of the internet.
At this point, though, I'm just trying to figure out why this house thing has been so difficult in its execution and aftermath.
Oh yeah. Gas and the economy are making it increasingly improbable that I'm going to be able to spend much time (if any) this summer and fall in my spiritual sanctuary of Yellowstone. I don't fully know what that's such a big deal to me, but it seems that way.
Anyhoo, Things well get better, and this experience will fade to it's appropriate place in memory.
But meanwhile, it's raining outside, and I've got lots of work to do; I've got something bigger to build from all this dross and ephemera!

Friday, July 11, 2008

On a trip up north with Diedre on Wednesday, we spent much of the day running around town getting the things we can't easily get down in SpringTowne. As we drove and foraged, we talked about our life and ways.
The days was hot and somewhat sticky, and the 'Runner afforded not much but a stiff breeze and shade to its occupants. I often wonder what my goal is in riding around in my old steed, an '86 Toyota, and at those times, I usually formulate a slightly different philosophy.
Yesterday, I ran across a thin volume of journal entries and photos by a long-gone desert man named Jack Watson. He worked the country out west of Delta, Utah, running sheep and cattle up and down the mountains and desert in that area. Some of the places are familiar to me, and most of the emotions he expressed are, too.
The photos of him, his visitors and family often include now horses and ancient vehicles with their owners outside of his buildings and homes. Those animals and autos were extensions of their arms and legs, enabling them to do more and go further than otherwise possible. The faces in the photos beam with pride or some sort of self-affirming knowledge, and though whatever they were thinking at the time is forever lost to the viewer, the wisdom of those people is still available to us through their writing, their stories, and to the extent that we attempt to live a good life, in our own minds and hearts.
My old 4Runner is my horse and tool; she takes me far and wide and enables me to see much more of the world than I'd be able to otherwise. But as I speed down and contemplate the possibility of not being able to go to Yellowstone or Notch Peak as often, or even not at all, I feel different emotions. I relish the opportunity to know my own land and family better, but I still fear the change that might wrest me from my long-standing moorings.
Jack's kin still returns to the places he knew from time to time, though they aren't able to or don't want to live as he did. I hope to continue to do so, too. All told, I'm glad to have the old 'Runner with no air conditioning, no payments and that gives reasonable mileage, enabling me to head out from time to time from where I live. I'll keep ruminating about why I do all this and how much good it does, for sure, but I'll also try to refrain from taking myself so seriously that I forget to just enjoy life.
That's the really hard part, at times. That refraining.

Monday, July 7, 2008

California Wildfires

With governmental support breaking down in the face of finite resources and increasing need, locals are stepping up and holding their own.

NY Times Article Link

Saturday, July 5, 2008

That's the moon, Regulus, Mars and Saturn all in a little row this evening.
Regulus is only 77 and a half light years away, and, well, the moon is even closer.
I need to figure out better ways to photograph the sky, by the way.

Took a ride and long walk out along the Horseshoes this morning, and here's the report.

Here's a little half-arsed video I produced yesterday on the spur of the moment for a Spring City sponsored contest.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Miya's first "Independence" Day. She handled it like the eighth of eight; with a calm, reserved interest. Plenty scarier things go on around her daily, lots of noisier action as well.
Grand news from the family on this day, too. Ryan David, my youngest brother, his good wife, Jenna, and their son, Sumner James had a wee lass by the name of Sara Jane come into their lives this very morning.
Miya has a new cousin for her first fourth!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


The day began here, anew. As we made our way toward Torrey, we fell silent. We arrived at the shop and ordered, went outside and watched the mountain that we had been on for most of the morning and afternoon. As the clouds and showers drifted over an by, and as the sun played on slopes, trees and crags, we saw.
We reflected upon the singular things that had happened; the cars, people and phenomenons that we had seen more than once at times more than twice, the mercy that had been shown us, the water that we had drunk and that we had waded into, the people who had waved at us or smiled, we thought about our laziness and immovability.
We still saw the beauty, but we were moved to think.
We almost didn't go into the Reef, but on a jolt of spontaneity, we decided to turn the rig around and head the other way after leaving the shop and heading for home and hearth.
After all, it would only be forty minutes more.
As the truck moved with us in it, we saw the black sky and yellow sun with deep orange cliffs and soil, moistened by an early summer shower. We saw the junipers washed of dust, green from the spring's new growth. We smelled the water on cedars and sandstone, combining with wet sage to create an aroma that only a desert rat who has crawled on hands and knees, drunken with the essence of splendor can summon from memory, and at that, only with a tear in his eye.
We stopped at an industrial tourist turnout, a place that we might normally scorn as sullied and less than pristine, there was a trail with concrete weirdly dyed to match the stone steps it supported, rising from the bed of the Fremont River to the spires and hoodoos above. We spun and gesticulated at each new wonder as we walked the trail alone, with rain still sprinkling into the wind that drove it into our backs and flanks, discussing the possibilities and endless horizons that this place represented in our hearts. The sun hid and returned from behind the clouds, and we strove to store this hope away against our imminent return to the land of artifice, the yet beautiful place where our families live and we work to feed and clothe them.
There really is no explaining how it happened or how it was felt, but the river flowed through our hearts and minds and the stone radiated spirit into our beings. Driving home from that place after not much more than an hour (a little less than an eternity)and into the panoramic suffusion of beauty that would cavalcade before us until we found ourselves asleep and in dreams next to our wives, we met each sight, place and human as if we'd never seen anything quite as exquisite in our already intoxicatingly beautiful experiences. It didn't take much effort, either.


It was well past noon, and for some reason, we didn't eat but for a couple of sodas and junk food. Who knows why, perhaps because things were getting pretty as the monsoon clouds darkened up and began to rain here and there.
We stopped at the Escalante river trailhead for a few minutes and thought about future adventures, dreaming up hikes to the Colorado and such, then headed up the mountain toward Boulder. Though the light was changing and the temperature mediating from the relative heat of the late morning, we still didn't really stop to think.
Up the road further on, Ryan abruptly turned onto a road that lead to a fork; left for Deep Creek and that country, and right toward a place called Scout Lake. "I haven't been there since I was seventeen, but it was great then. We can fish it for an hour or so and head down into Torrey for refreshment" he said. That was fine with me.
The road was obviously not a place many trucks came on anymore, so that buoyed our spirits. For some reason, we like places where nobody else bothers to go.
After some maneuvering and low gear crawling, we go to Scout Lake. A crazy beautiful place, the trees came right down to the shore in most places, and we again realized that we hadn't brought float tubes that might have made things easier.
Ah, well.
I rigged up and casted from the edge of some boulders at the west end of the lake, and Ryan decided to go in.
Yeah, go right in.
Realizing that he couldn't cast to the places that most likely held the fish we hoped were still there, he waded into the water past his knees, past his hips and indeed, a little past his waist. Gasps and groans were heard, but he was shakily perched at the edge of what he hoped would be successful fishing.
I casted a few more times, and after catching on a tree once or twice, I retired to a rock to slap mosquitoes and examine the copious mayflies buzzing about.
Something began to click; Ryan, as he giddily froze his gonads off and casted for bites but no landings, and me, as I just enjoyed the sit and scenery.
This was beautiful, and the day had been just what we had made it.
Our decisions had shaped the day, and whether or not the fish were landed, reeled or snagged, this was just where we wanted to be. We hadn't brought the tubes or even our many pairs of waders reposing safely at home, but the day was still coaxing us onward to beauty, and hopefully, its perception on our stubborn parts.
The ride down the mountain to the main highway included spotty reception of a program called The World, a program carried by public radio stations. The stories we heard spoke of human trafficking in Mexico followed by an account of free weddings at car shows by Elvis-impersonating clerics in Sweden. None of this made sense in a world as beautiful as this, in a place where we are all soft and full of blood and bones and the occasional curse word or love ballad. None of it made sense, but things were beginning to come to a head as the Henries came into sunlight while we were swathed in shadows from approaching rain.
We took awed photos and spoke of going into Capitol reef for a few minutes, after we had a drink and a bite...


Down the hill to the shore, Ryan casted a few times jut short of where the fish were jumping. "I'm afraid you just about need a float tube to fish this water" he remarked again, repeating the frustrating realization we came to when we drove up. Back then, we had intended to fish on small water up high, but now that this had not come true, we were wishing we had been better prepared- sort of.
The on-again off-again philosophy of both kinds of pole; fly and cast, only one kind, no pole at all, shore and creek vs. pond and lake using tubes and all manner of fishing belief in between has been filtering in and out of both Ryan and my mannerisms for years. This trip was no exception.
Now we were headed back to the truck, on to new turns and decisions on where to go or not. But as I loped along, my laces loose from the rough terrain above, I felt unnaturally light. I pawed at my vest pockets, at my pants pockets, looked at my hands to see if I had lapsed too far into weariness to not notice a GPS unit in any of the customary locations. It was gone.
I waved Ryan on to the truck and mumbled something about the machine being gone as I headed backwards in my tracks, wondering if I would have to decide whether or not to purchase one of the infernal things anew.
I hoped that it had just fallen out of my pocket as I shuffled down the hill, preferably low on the hill. I knew it couldn't be too far off, but it was a messy old slope, and I didn't know exactly the angle I'd taken down from the fence. It was possible that it was gonnity-gone gone.
Then another thought came into my head, a memory of how I had gotten across the fence and the banter we had exchanged as we crossed it. "Yeah, better mark this corner with the GPS, for the next time we're in exactly this same place" echoed mockingly in my mind, jangling all my notions of God, justice and humor into one complete whole. I headed up the hill toward the fence, scanning right and left for signs of the cedar posts.
Yeah. It was there. Right on the ground directly under the wire, the GPS unit was resting on its face.
With relief, embarrassment and a healthy but resigned chuckle, I grabbed the little machine and again limped down the slope. It took me another ten minutes to get back to the truck, but I got there, checking the trailhead map once more for the position of the ponds we had looked for, relative to the terrain we had covered. I had no idea then, and still have no idea where else to look.
I reported the hijinx and success to Ryan, and he, too, laughed a sort of resigned laugh. He understood the meaning of the whole situation, and the lesson to be learned right now. That's if the lesson is heeded, and all the facets are understood. Aye, there's the rub.
Turning onto the road toward Escalante after a brief moment of indecision as to which way to go, our hopes were girded, but we had no idea what that hope would lead to...


We ascended a ridge to the south and descended into a draw with a tiny creek winding to the east again. By the time we decided things weren't going any better on the search for fishable water, we had gone another half a mile or more back and forth.
Ryan issued his opinion, "Get us back to Posey using the most direct course you can." He wasn't happy about the course of events that had lead us here, and that made two of us, really.
Oh. By the way, I very rarely lose my sense of direction, but I was about to find out that I had done just that.
As I took out my GPS to check my reckonings, I was horrified to see that the direction in my mind was in complete opposition to the arrow on the machine. Seeing as I hadn't been too happy with the compass readings earlier in the day, I recalibrated and found the first result to agree with the second.
Wrestling with my senses, recent bad readings and eventual vindication of the GPS, and my own pride in my mountaineering skills, I looked at my friend as he kicked around impatiently, wrestling with his frustration at not finding the pond.
I was way turned around, and would have headed off into the wilderness for a ways before figuring it out, had I not this danged electronica in my hand.
After looking around at the sky, treesigns and in my mind going through the route we had followed in getting where we were, I decided to follow the little machine's advice.
The way straight back to Posey from where we ended up was even worse, though considerably shorter than the way we had come. Deadfall was everywhere, and the ridges were mostly north-facing and heavily wooded.
After scratching my legs up more than I have in years and near twisting my ankle, even in loggers, we eventually came to the steep slope just west of Posey, with the lake twinkling at the bottom. Halfway down the incline was a barbed wire fence, four feet high and fairly tight. Ryan sighted a junction with cedar posts a wee bit easier to scale than stretched wire.
Our spirits were a little bit higher, and since the end of this misadventure was in sight, we spoke jauntily, if with too much hubris, "Yeah, better mark this corner with the GPS, for the next time we're in exactly this same spot, having gone to the same place, following the same crazy course" and much chatter to the same point.
Ryan made it over the wire and stretcher posts with only three rips in his pants and a couple of white-knuckle moments, but as I was reconnoitering the situation and looking for a better way out, he noticed a place just past the posts where I might get under the wire with only small indignity and less ripping.
"Ah. This is much more my speed" I said as crouched down, undid my backpack's waistbelt, and rolled through. "We'd better remember this place for the next time we're here." Ha, ha, ha...


We breakfasted at the Sunglow Cafe in Bicknell, long a stop on the trail to the Aquarius Plateau. I was still involved in things other than the moment, half glancing at the menu while my mind raced on the subjects of where to best go to find the pond to motorcycle-lust brought on by the three parked outside the cafe. The sun really did glow just outside, and the Thousand Lakes and Boulder Mountain basked in that effulgence just outside, but in hindsight, I hadn't given them yet a second glance. The mountain would have her figurative pound of flesh for that lack of reverence, though.
We made a few choices amongst many less so in our decision to head across the Parker and Awapa toward Posey. The road skirts the Aquarius to the west of the mountain and rewards even the most casual observer with beauty inexpressible.
When we arrived at Posey, we moseyed back and forth figuring out our approach. We decided to start from the established picnic area, thinking that the trailhead would lead us to our destination, or at least toward it for a ways.
After three quarters of a mile in a direction away from where the GPS unit identified as the likely place for the fishery and straight up an incline, we struck off through the bush. The area had been burned in recent history, and much of the dead wood had become deadfall, obstructing our movement in almost any direction over hill or through dale.
After hiking for a half mile or so, I stopped to reaffirm our general direction. My dumb GPS had been jumping to and fro for much of the hike. I recalibrated the electronic compass and checked the direction, and it still varied by at least thirty degrees. Walking only a little further, I stopped again, much to the annoyance of my companion Ryan. "This stupid compass is a full one hundred eighty degrees turned around. North is reading south and vice versa." I thought that even if the poles weren't reversing in rapid succession, the GPS should be able to figure things out from the satellite's triangulations. I wasn't sure what to think. He stated that his machine had to be moving to work, but I explained that mine shouldn't need to move in order to show a course assuming that the compass was working.
I don't usually follow the danged machine so closely, choosing to use it to mark special spots on the map or to aid in navigation, rather than enable it. I began to follow the machine only a little less rigidly. I tentatively scanned the terrain for indicators of water and shed, and after another half mile, we found the spot that we were looking for.
In theory.
The ponds were a bog with a fifteen square yard area covered over by lily pads and another completely dry. We weren't sure what to do or think, since this was obviously not the area described by our float tube wielding angler friend. The map and GPS said yes, but our disappointed eyes and spirits said no way.
Ryan lead the way off to the west to look for the real spot that had to be close by...


As for yesterday, the beginning came at around five thirty. Ryan and I had planned as early as last week to drive down to the far end of the Boulder mountain for an adventure of sorts. A friend had mentioned to him a little-known pond above Posey Lake, mentioning a plenty of large fish long neglected by anglers so numerous at the highly accessible Posey.
I might have been forewarned by the way things began.
In the spirit of disclosure and perhaps, entertainment, rather than complaint, here's an account.
My percolator mysteriously clogged and made a mess, and after that was taken care of, I tromped around in the noodle looking for soap to no avail. Before I was done with my thangs, the short time before Ryan came to pick me up had passed. By the point I was dressed and out the door, having forgotten to eat any breakfast, I was late by at least ten minutes.
Harried somewhat by my slow start, I watched the ranges on either side of our home valley slide by. We spoke of small things, of my frustration with my job as a school teacher for an alternative high school and trepidation at the fast-approaching school year. Not a good way to start the day ahead, and I sensed it. But that didn't stop me from blathering on, I'll have you know.
Other subjects came up and were enjoyed far more, but we were focused on the imminent possibility of a good hike and fishing along the same lines.
As Salina approached, my stomach jumped at the possibilty of something solid, albeit purchased from the Maverik station where we traditionally purchased petrol on trips south. Here is where the second miracle of mindfulness began...
The Maverik was full of large trucks and fueling boats, so we waited for a few minutes. As it became apparent that things weren't moving at our speed, we headed for the neighboring station for provisions. Inside after fueling for four cents a gallon more than the other, we were greeted by a much smaller selection. I'm not sure how this place stays in business but by higher price per gallon, because I seldom see anyone here during our visits to the always busy Maverik. This should have been my first clue and guide, but I bought food anyway.
Old Dominion peanuts and a package of string cheese in hand, we cruised away from the store. As we chatted and opened the packages, I popped a handful of nuts into my ready mouth. Augh. They were stale, tres stale in fact. I smelled the bag, and the odor, too, indicated rancid oils and other unkindly-aged hydrocarbons. The date stated '10 July 08', but the proof was here in the mouth-putting. I must have been too far away from Virgina to casually feast on these peanuts.
Bent but undefeated, I gripped the cheese for opening. Looking more closely, I noticed a discoloration at one end. Above the discoloration was a torn triangle of wrapper. The cheese was opened and at one end, dried. That was the end of that battle, and as I threw the peanuts and cheese out the window of the auto, I reflected briefly upon the lessons that I could learn from this. I had been hasty and unobservant, and though I this was only a continuation of symptoms from my 'hasty and unobservant' condition, the indications of my disease would continue for a while today...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A very mixed bag today, from stale peanuts and unfound lakes to some of the most effulgent beauty, sensations and rememeberies in months.
Ah, contrasts, perseverance, and previously overlooked godsends.