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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"If You Want To Get To Heaven, You Got To (Risk) A Little Hell"

Maybe I'm finally getting through to him—or maybe there are other communal forces at work. Whatever the cause, I like the results. Lately, you see, I've waxed poetic from my email pulpit about the diverse and surreal Geology and Topography surrounding—as in, outside of—Capital Reef National Park. These sermons were an attempt to cajole the CEO of National Park Haters Anonymous into showing up despite it's proximity to the "No Go" zone. It appears my pal has taken the hook.

In fact, so pretty a picture did I paint, that the CEO is getting a jump on the rest of our RV Gang and will actually beat us to the recreational punch (some have a few more "responsibilities" than others). It has been a process longer and slower than the proverbial train at a railroad crossing—the one that creeps along at two miles-per-hour only to back up just before the caboose clears your bumper.   I've made it my mission in life to persuade my blogging pal/nemesis to reject false assumptions and generalizations about theme park turnstile hoards sweating nuts to butts on backcountry trails during the off-season. Here's a guy who would go 50 gallons of gas out of his way—through barren lands as devoid of "fruit" as Isaac's dear old wife, Rebekah—in order to keep our National Treasures at bay. But if the good Lord can heal Becky's desiccated womb, then surely he can restore sight to a blind, narrow minded postcard hating, boondocking anti-christ.

For years my pal refused to join us in Utah's Zion country; after all, there was a National Park within spitting distance. And "spit" he did, on the park, as well as our RV friendship and miles and miles of biking opportunities. But we were patient, kept telling him about all the fun we were having riding mountain bikes (his favorite toy) on endless BLM land and backroads that skirted, but was, for the most part, outside the Park. 

It took nothing short of a "Ten Step Plan" to assuage his NPS fear and loathing of what he considered to be fraternizing with the enemy—the veritable bulls-eye for cutesy postcards, crowds, and concessionaires pedaling tawdry souvenirs, not to mention the "Lodge" experience with its fine whine and dine Patagonia attired city slickers disguised as outdoor ruff and tumble types. We crossed our hearts and promised not to take him anywhere near the Poser Promised Land, that if he would just come dink around the edges he would find his sweet spot of solitary 3G boondocking with abundant recreational opportunities right under the enemy's nose. 

A couple of years ago my pal finally capitulated. Now I wouldn't go so far as to say that he is fully converted. No, he's somewhere in Purgatory... a work in progress, as I sensed his unspoken reluctance about the upcoming Capita Reef meet up. I will be the first to agree that Our National Parks are becoming more like Theme Parks. I wish they would be more reminiscent of the wild west's olden days…the epitome of a rugged and somewhat risky outdoor experience where people are three or four rungs down on the food chain ladder. Sadly, most Parks have been compromised by profit motivated concessionaires and an ever-softening customer base…digital zombies who would rather text than converse, and take cell phone snapshots from pullouts to immediately garner "Likes" on Facebook. Why don't megopolites in need of a dose of Walden Pond just go to Disneyland for crying out loud, with its synthetic monsters that charge out of the water...predictably stopping just short of the tour boat.  


Big Bend Country…

Church in Ajo, Arid-zona

Hueco Tanks State Park, north of El Paso, Texas…a pictograph paradise run by Nazi Wardens

What looks like a horrible accident is really a couple of Scamps checking out some handwriting on the wall…or ceiling.

My pal's renegade stomping grounds in New Mexico…Can't tell you the name, tho, I promised him.

Arid-zona adobe and wine...



  1. Sounds like a great rendezvous is coming together for your group of outdoor enthusiasts. Have fun.

  2. The crowds in the National Parks are enough to scare anybody away...but they are National Parks for a reason. Hope you have a grand time. We haven't visited Capital Reef or Zion yet!

    1. You can't imagine what you are missing…or, maybe you can. Early October is best for Cap. Reef, and November is best for Zion country.

  3. I recognize the church in your pal's stomping grounds but will not disclose the location either. I refrain to protect us both.

  4. We are leaving Canada on Sunday and have no plans! You are really convincing me that we should head back to Capital Reefs. Our friends that live there have been posting the most amazing photos of the aspens up in the mountains. Maybe we'll see you there:)

    1. We will be boondocking on Notem road…where and when yet to be determined, but probably first week in October sometime. Come on down and join the gang... we'll do some Slots, Summits and men biking :))

  5. oh oh oh...I just can't wait for Mark photos from the NoTom. Will you make the rough climb to Mt Ellen for the circle view. In my opinion, Mt Ellen is at the center of what I refer to as the Perfect Circle. I so envy you. I would be in Capitol Reef in October if one of my favorite friends wasn't getting married in Vermont and I get to be there. First time to Vermont. The reds won't compare with Capitol Reef, but the friendship is worth it.

  6. Mark, those black & white photos are stunning. Almost a lost art. What camera(s), lenses, filters are you using? Are you touching them up at all in the "darkroom"? I'm not a photographer. You probably couldn't tell, so I didn't to lead you along.:)


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