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Friday, October 25, 2013

Exploring Our Ordinary Backyard...Who's Converting Who?








At first glance, our camp might appear desolate to an "untrained" eye. So every day I'm in a rush to ride or hike off toward "The Pretties" of Arche's hoo doos and slick rock, you know...Postcards.


You must know by now that I'm boondocked with the Antichrist of "scenery" and all things "mainstream." My daddy was a preacher man and I am my daddy's son; this was supposed to be a mission of conversion, a last ditch attempt to salvage one lost soul from hell's fire and brimstone. He sits in the back pew, looking, listening—going along for the "ride," but not accepting, not believing...a genuine "Doubting Thomas," heart hardened as the red stone upon which we ride.

I babble on about the glory of Arches, that it is a veritable Disneyland of recreational opportunity...its streets all swept and washed and lined with eye-candy stores with anthropomorphized statuettes of Mad Hatters and Flintstones-like characters. 

On a low energy day the Unconverted One took us on a hike to the desolate mountains that surround our desolate camp...pointing out the subtle joy and beauty to be found on wind swept barren ridge lines of scrub brush and parched soil. He spoke in parables...instructed us to view The Pretties as mere shapes on the horizon. We even break bread on the mountain...a real "loaves and fishes" moment.

His point is well taken; I do have a tendency for drama and explosions that rocks one back on their heels. There are roses to be found outside gardens...wild things to wonder and wander over...just on a smaller stage. And so now I'm left to wonder, who's converting who?  










A close inspection reveals our boondock camp as two tiny specks at the far left.







This is a 9.5 on a scale of 10 out here in the Mountain Bike Mecca of the world. I know that it can be ridden clean by a few young gonzo dare devils on full suspension mountain bikes because I've seen it with my own eyes. At 62.98 years of age and riding a "hard tail," discretion is often the better part of valor. So The Boonster and I tried to ride a 7.5 instead.  




And this is what I have to show for it, a compound fracture of the derailleur. For this bravado I got to push-n-carry the 29'er home and a 200 dollar repair bill from a bike shop in Moab. I suppose it could have been worse...



Early one morning we were awakened by headlight pulling into our camp. I thought, "God, they've found us...here come the ATV'ers." We could see a dozen or so dark figures running around setting up camp, laying out tarps and unpacking big bags of gear. But as the sun rose the marauders turned out to be Hot Air Balloon'ers, and we had a colorful start to the day.


A couple of crew guys hung on the basket as it left the ground, before releasing their grip at the last moment and dropping back to earth. A show for the tourists I suppose.





28 comments:

  1. hmmm... conversions...

    I'm gonna poke the badger a bit here... You're BOTH wrong.

    Listen... Boonie eschews "standard" beauty and seeks to filter it out leaving only the austere and tortured... ridiculing postcard beauty.

    Mark and Bobbie seek out the spectacular and stunning of the high up and lonesome... or the wide stretches of Far Country in the soul searing beauty of postcard desert vistas...

    and ~I~ submit... that in focusing on getting TO those filtered goals... goals that tend to exclude, the actual best is passed right on by.

    It's not JUST what you can see with your eyes, or feel under your feet. It's what reaches inside and touches your soul. It's the ever day little moments as you travel between the austere and the spectacular. It's that feeling when you first step outside and feel the heat of a cup of coffee in your hand as the chill of the sunrise touches your face...

    it's the cool of a beer. That first swallow with the sweat still running through the grit on your face when you got done loading a trailer of hay...

    ... it's the scent of the wind in your nostrils as your bike thunders down that ribbon of highway...

    ... it's the rumble of a summer storm across the valley...

    It's So many things that if you start naming them, categorizing them and boxing them up... you LOSE most of them because there aren't enough boxes, labels and categories...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me,these moments are not dependent on your health, wealth, state of living circumstances. The little moments are all around us and with an open seeking heart available to anyone who cares to look. I feel totally blessed when in nature and seek that often. For each of us the ah ha's may be different but the seeking, opening your heart and soul to the possibilities and taking advantage of present opportunities are similar. Seeking in the moment is everything.

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    2. again with the sermon.

      Delete
    3. CowBoy Brian,
      "The cool of a beer" needs a "separate box" to keep it cold...other than that, I mostly agree with your "poke." A guy is allowed to have his favorites, you know...

      Delete
  2. Hey Mark, you speak of gardens, and the top of that big hill just above the sheepherder's stove in your photo is called the Garden. :) I love the Morrison, and the caprock above it is the Cedar Mountain Formation. The dino beds are found at the contact between the two.

    I like to sleep in my open-mesh tent, and one morning that same balloon came drifitng about 30 feet above me. I lay there in my sleeping bag listening to its dragon sounds, and the people in it leaned over the basket edge and yelled at me to get up. Pretty funny. That's one of their launch sites, so they're out there a lot. Did you guys notice the tiny arch way up high above Mill Canyon on the skyline to your right as you're leaving and almost to the wash?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those balloons can sneak up on you :) until they need a little more lift.
      BTW, Chinle, I remember you offering to buy Boonie and I a beer once we got to Moab.Where in the heck are you? Pull out is Monday Morning... just say'in :)

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  3. I'm wondering about a different conversion...How's your new solar install working out?

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    Replies
    1. Sondra,
      Like a charm! Thanks for asking...I not a 'lectrician nor da 'lectrition's son, but I kin get the wiring done till da 'lectrician come! :))
      Solarized in Sun Country...

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  4. anthropomorphized? Had to dictionary that one. Your landscape pictures looks like Mars taken by the land rover. The openeous, lack of water and vegetation is a significant contrast to Ouray. Variety and the yen and yang of life can be seen in these photo's.
    John Q

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learned that word in an intro to Anthropology class as a freshman in college. Never forgot it. I got a few more I haven't used yet, just waiting for the right occasion.
      Yes, the west is diverse, and possibly the four corner states are the most diverse. I thank God for them...they make wonderful neighbors.

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  5. Nooooooooooo - do not go to the dark side of the Antichrist. We need to have postcard views, of places we can plan to visit. Your photos and text are a delight and a joy. Goooooooooo - go towards the light of beauty in all of its forms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Allison,
      I got one foot in heaven and one foot in hell...and the "Devil" is whispering in my ear, "Hey, little boy, what some candy?" Sumbody save mehhh.

      Delete
  6. I think you're both right. And so am I.

    I SO want to go up in a hot air balloon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are "right" when it feels right.
      Bobbie and I got married in a hot air balloon :)

      Delete
  7. Converting is bad since it is about appreciating only a part. Expanding your universe to appreciate all the parts of it is good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OFM...you are right, of course...I like your philosophy, always having too much fun :)

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  8. THE GREAT AMERICAN WEST AS WE LOVE AND CHERISH IT. Great posting and thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures.

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    Replies
    1. P and B,
      GRACIOUS! My thoughts appreciate the appreciation :)

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  9. I love it all....am in wonder as I wander wherever I am!

    How neat to wake up to find the hot air balloon! Cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the easy way out...just love everything :))

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  10. A private boondocking spot with good Verizon and ample, solitary hiking is always a lovely thing. Postcards and crowds can be had while daytripping from such sites. So where was this spot again? ;-)

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    Replies
    1. John,
      I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you. But I could show you, and we could ride together!

      Delete
  11. Better a fractured derailleur than a fractured derriere. Still not the early birthday present you were hoping for, I am sure. Sorry. As for the conversion, well, if you start waxing philosophical about women in skirts riding bicycles with wicker baskets on front, then it's time for an intervention. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, you can spell derriere!
      Seriously tho it did become my birthday present. That Bobbie is an opportunist...and made some lemonade out of my lemons.
      As for waxing philosophical about women riding bicycles with wicker baskets...I prefer them in sundresses over skirts...and barefoot. Well now, this completes my fantasy.

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  12. I think Barney said it well - expanding your universe. Cool to see the balloon launch.

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    Replies
    1. Teri,
      OFM is quite the thinker, but he's also quite the doer...as are you!!!

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  13. I agree with Gaelyn, you're both right, there's beauty in all things great and small. You're not being converted, Mark, you're expanding your point of view and opening your mind to new experiences. Besides, I still like "postcards" and it's okay to be blown away by the dramatic, just don't forget to appreciate the little things too.

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