Red Canyon, Utah
Here we are on the top of the world. But, as you can see from the photo, there's much more "top of the world" above us.
We're breathless from both the stark and majestic beauty, as well as hiking at this elevation. Down near the visitor's center it is 7700'. Here we don't know, but we're guessing 8500'+. The hike up was huff-and-puff steep. Peering over the edge is scary steep. Way down there (top center in the photo), is the highway where Thistle is parked.
Internet service has been either nonexistent or very weak all along Scenic Byway 12. Without coffee shops we would have been completely out of touch. But way up on this mountain I have five bars. I talk with Brad and send him photographs.
He tells me about his new kitties. Nothing will convince me that cell phones aren't magic, and in this magical place, it would be easy to develop any number of other superstitions. The Nakai flute music we've been listening to as we travel, along with this other-world hoodoo scenery, provides an overall gestalt encapsulating the mystical nature of our experience.
Red Canyon doesn't show up on some of the maps and books we consult. It is small and insignificant compared to its neighbor's Bryce and Zion, but a giant in our eyes. No other hikers on the trail, beautiful views, and hoodoos up close and personal. Perhaps though, if completely honest, the scarcity of people might be the very cold 26 degrees last night? Also, the surrounding campgrounds and roads are ATV friendly, which might not please us later in the season when they're roaring around.
Ancient gnarled bristlecone pines hang onto the mountain, roots in stone. Needled branches are toughing it out in the freezing wind and cold of winter and the searing hot and dry of summer.
Contemplative Mr. Ed.
"This living would include becoming a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind where each dialect is not only heard but understood."
- Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert