Only seven days remain here in Moab; more than two-thirds of my time passed lickety-split. A mostly lonesome passage from human interaction to enthrallment with ancient, wonderfully complex rock.
Every day in Arches Park, I would come eventually to a high place where, instead of red sandstone shaped by physics or God into forms that demand attention, I would cast a wistful eye to the La Sal Mountains some thirty miles to the southeast. At thirteen thousand feet, their peaks stand some eight thousand feet higher than me, rosy in the morning sun, with blue scarves of snow flying in the wind. See one of those views from Arches above.
When I arrived on June 7, I bought a trail map and asked how the trails might be faring. With some three times normal snowfall last winter and melting fast—not so well, I was told. So I waited until today to go. I drove high among these alluring peaks, and then took to a trail.
Driving upward through pygmy forest of juniper and piñon pine. On up come the scrub oak jungles, the Manzanita, sumac and dogbane.
Quaking aspen, tall, straight slim trees with bark as white as the birches of International Falls, The foliage responds to the slightest movement of air.
I climb into a springtime of flowers—larkspur with thick stem and deep blue petals; blue flax with pale sky-blue petals veined in violate, state flower of Utah.
Climbing higher, red fir and lodgepole pine forest, subtle fragrance of sun-warmed, oozing resin. I climb to nine thousand feet and see timberline at about eleven thousand, the peaks two thousand feet above that.