May, 2019. My wife and I are headed north on US191 in southeastern Utah toward Moab and Salt Lake City. The two-lane highway leads us over the high plains desert plateau and through gorgeous scenery of red rock, pinyon pines, junipers, purple sage, and blackbrush. Being late spring, the weather is already very sunny, hot and dry. Water is almost non-existent while dry washes only hint at flash floods from rainfalls which rarely happen. In fact, most showers evaporate before ever reaching the ground. Although the land is beautiful, a sensation of ambivalent hostility is hard to avoid.
a rain shower morphs
After several hours of traveling under the blazing sun, we are blessed to finally find cooling ‘shade’ under growing storm clouds. We stop at a roadside park for a little rest and a cold drink. Then, with renewed enthusiasm, we continue our journey through the endless natural beauty unfolding before us. Mile after mile, we seldom see any evidence of human habitation or other vehicles on the highway which fosters a somewhat disconcerting sense of remoteness and loneliness. As evening draws near we finally arrive at civilization. Later, as we setup at an RV park for the night, I find myself being very thankful for the fresh water, air-conditioning, and food we always just take for granted.
Note: Bobbie’s photos that day capture well both the beauty and the harshness of the Colorado desert plateau which the old mid-1800s Santa Fe Trail pioneers had to cross in wagon trains as they plodded their way westward. They were a hardy, tough, self-reliant, and self-sufficient people. Could we do the same today?