Monday, April 8, 2013

Meat Bouquette


A friend +JK Branin   and I descended a very short canyon in Cedar City a while back. The longest rappel was maybe 20' and could be bypassed by a down-climb canyon left. after the short rap there are 3 more down climb all less than 10'. While it was not the most exciting canyon it provide a chance to play around with natural anchor skills and try out my new 5.10 canyoneers; those things stick to everything. Any way I'm sure many of you are wondering how we came up with the name. To make a long story short Kyle and I have a writing for the environment course together and he pulled the name from a section of a paper I wrote about the area we found the canyon in.... Yes, I will share the paper.
Enjoy,
THUNDERBIRD GARDENS

The bouquet of wretched, decomposing meat pulls at your senses as you round the corner. Several few feet below the dirt road lay a large, brownish-red body of sludge ridden water. Chunks of waterlogged cardboard cleave to each other in an effort to stay afloat. A gentle summer breeze picks up, moving the mass towards a piece of four-sided plastic. Sharp bits of glass and metal retain some shape with in the plastic cube. Four recognizable letters can be seen below the smashed in screen; S-N-Y-O Sanyo perhaps? The manufacture would not be pleased to hear that there invention has become target practice for the local rednecks.

Broken beer bottles, aluminum cans and bullet hole ridden boxes traverse the hillside beyond the muck. Glass fills the landscape from the hill all across the slurry field and, has become impacted in the now dried up dirt road. A few piece of clay pigeons dot the landscape.

The sea of red and yellow shotgun shells begin to sluggishly bob up and down as the wind shifts across the water. Four by four tire tracks meander toward the edge of the lake disappearing into the water. Forty feet away on the other side of the “mud bog” the tracks reemerge.

Further down the rutted road the Navajo Sandstone stands monumental and triumphant comparable to a Roman sculpture. Thousands of years went into the formation of these pinnacles and spires that embrace the southern Utah landscape. Ice, snow, and landslides are the force behind these geological wonders. Yet in just a few short years mankind has turned them into a trash heap. Brilliant red pillars and spires are scared with soot from countless weekend bonfires.

Charcoaled pallets, shells from a twenty two and nails lay strewn across the once scarlet sand below. They lie there in shame as evidence to the lack of respect some people have for the land. Across from the bonfire area sits a half burnt second hand couch, a few springs have begun to pierce through the depleted fiber. A rectangular, decrepit, chunk of bullet ridden metal lays lifeless below the grand columns of stone. Lizards scurry about and make a break for the underside as the sound of footsteps approaches them. A bluish-green liquid seeps into the ground from the top half of what may have once been a refrigerator. Bits of food stained plastic are shattered across the ground and throughout the surrounding area.

The putrid smell has become apparent, two blackened coyotes lay rotting in the drainage. Burnt vegetation and scrap wood surrounding the creatures could be clues to the existence of Satanists in the area. It is also possible that the animals fell into the hands of some other form of morbid human being. Several weather-beaten bags lie no more than 5 feet away from the nightmare. One might expect the bags to contain liter but, a gust of wind hits a bag and the opening exposés bedding and clothing. Pictures flutter in the wind and rest themselves in the nearby sage and juniper leaving the backside of one visible. A faded name and date adorn the glossy, white background. The words read “friends come and go, but sisters are eternal”. A black and white sorority yard sign lies near the ruble.

Further investigation send shivers down my spine, three bags of personal belongings garnish the weed filled stream bed. A mattress plays peek-a-boo as the wind moves branches on the rickety, old juniper tree. This ditch starts to resemble a murder scene. I imagine finding the body of a sorority sister beneath the murdered coyotes or deep inside the slurry pit. Maybe this is the smell that has plagued the area. My eyes shift to the left and spot a dorm sized refrigerator, what is it with refrigerators? I begin to think that this maybe a good time to call police; the body is probably entombed in the fridge. The door is ajar on the east side; besides a foul stench, it is empty. Food containers lay scattered throughout the surrounding rabbit brush. Turning back to the smooth sandstone wall or as it is referred to in the rock climbing community “Behind the Golf Course” climbing area.

There are two climbing routes here the Pez Pinnacle and ??????. Rockclimbing.com describes this area as “Really soft rock, junky at best. Try not to cut your hands on the broken beer bottles left there by red-necks”. It is reassuring to know that anyone in the world can pick up a rock climbing guidebook and read this about Cedar City.

Vibrant green, orange and yellow paint splatters are found on almost every rock and juniper in the area. They should have added to the climbing route description WATCH OUT FOR PAINTBALLERS!!

 The short scramble to the top of the pinnacle reveals a single reddish hanger bolt, hidden within a smoothed out bowl of sandstone embedded in the pinnacle. Unlike most bolts this one blends into the landscape it would be easily missed if you did not know what you are looking for. This bolt is used as an anchors for climbers to attach there rope. Many climbing areas have bright silver hangers; large chains are often left dangling from these bolts. Imagine the silver chains hanging against a backdrop of red rock. Their appearance is unsightly to many and ruins the wilderness experience by having un-natural items visible, but in a place like Thunderbird Gardens it’s hard to get that experience. It is refreshing to know that at least one group that uses this area care’s enough to leave as little impact as possible.

From atop the spire one can see the sun glimmering over the scarlet peaks, the radiance is almost un-bearable on this unsheltered ledge. Desert Paint Brush sways in the breeze. The brilliant orange can be seen on the sagebrush lizard as it stretches out to bask in the warm, golden sun. Mountain bluebirds frolic from tree to tree and the crows begin to dance to the rhythm of the desert. A single coyote sorrowfully howls in the distance; perhaps to mourn the loss of its slaughtered children.

Originally posted as krookedtrails on July 9, 2012 at 1:20 PM