Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Where the hell is Price


We pulled into Price, Utah and went directly to the liquor store. A craving for martini’s and Pabst blue ribbon needed to be addresses. After buying the gin and vermouth we headed to the grocery store for glasses, olives, toothpicks and beer. 

Once the ice chest was full we were ready to begin our journey. Our destination was Leadville, Colorado but, with 3 days to get there and a trunk full of booze it was obvious that we would get sidetracked. The desert crept up on us as we left the city behind. I stared out the window and watched the never ending sea of sand unfold. I began to wonder why anybody would want to live in such a dreadful place. I thought of the first rancher riding his horse to the top of a sand dune and saying “this is the place” I will build a house over there and raise some children. I’m going to need lots of children so they can carry water to the house.

My day dreaming was interrupted by Sam telling me stories of his childhood and family get togethers out in this waste land. He began talking about the fun he had with his children in Goblin Valley the summer before. “I’ve never been to Goblin Valley” I blurted out. Before I even finished the sentence Sam had spun the truck around and sped off in the opposite direction. “Did you forget something?” I asked “no, we’re going to see the goblins, there only fifty miles out of the way”

We reached Goblin Valley about 5:30 p.m. and the campgrounds were already full. Apparently you need to reserve a spot 6 months in advance. Who plans a trip six months in advance to the middle of nowhere in Utah to see some rocks and sand? I mean come on this is the end of June, the hottest season of the year, who camps out here in this heat? I could not wrap my head around this concept.

The ranger in the shack told us about a couple spots that we would probably enjoy just down the road
outside the park. This meant we saved $16 by camping next to some petroglyphs. Unfortunately these petroglyphs had been graffitied over by idiots and it looked as though someone had taken souvenir pieces, some @$$%^&# used another for target practice.

I thought about how these petroglyphs came to be, were the ancients trying to tell us something or was this just a form of vandalism? I can picture two teenage natives out after curfew smoking peyote and playing around on the goblins, next thing you know they start drawing on the walls and cliffs.  Fifty years later the graffiti is found and some other teenagers add to it. Until one day some archeologist finds it and thinks “this must mean something.” Thousands of dollars and man hours are spent trying to interpret the meaning of the message. It say’s something about a bearded man and his 6 reindeer. The spirits of the teenagers laugh, for only they know what these pictures mean. Is there a difference between these petroglyphs and the spray paint on trains? Yes, the trains are mobile.

“James” yelled Sam “let’s go check out the goblins before it gets dark”   I cannot remember if we snuck in to the park or if they don’t charge for walk ins, either way I know we did not pay. We walk around the goblins, climbed on top of some and slid down others. It was fun but, not really what I expected, the pictures actually make this place look better. I would not suggest going here. You’ve seen one desert formation you have seen them all. There is nothing to see here beside vandalism and rocks, so stay out! it’s a desert! There is no water and hardly any shade there.  I don’t see the appeal, I guess the toll booth is worth visiting it doesn’t really fit in with the landscape but it’s always nice to see something civilized out here in the middle of nowhere. It gives you a sense of security in case the rangers with guns did not.

We headed back to camp and drug out the sleeping bags, throwing them on the soft, bed of sand. We made a martini, and watched a hawk gliding above the cliffs. A few lizards scurried past our tent and we hoped to see the hawk swoop down for dinner, we needed some sort of entertainment. If only there was electricity out here so we could plug in our T.V. I’m sure we could dig up some coal somewhere. This is probably a prime place for a coal plant or a nuclear silo. Nobody would even know about it out here. Besides what is more important?  Human history, art and the geology of the earth or entertainment for the masses in the form of bright lights and television. Who really cares about these desert habitats?  The locals have already shot most of the coyotes and rabbits. What’s left to save? I’m sure the deer will grow larger antlers by a nuclear waste dump.

            We finished our martinis, stuffed our pockets with beer and climbed the plateau. From up top we could see all the way to Colorado and across Utah. We watched the moon slowly creep over the miniature mountains in the distance. The full moon rose in all its grandeur and pronounced its arrival.  I watched the moon beams bounce off the top of the goblins; it looked like a field of mushroom just waiting to be harvested. Across the canyon we heard coyotes howl. Sam tried to pin-point where they were with no luck. It turned out to be a couple people drinking and getting back to their roots. The two of us joined in, I tilted back my head and returned to nature with a long drown out howl. I bet the people below all snug and warm in their travel trailers were not amused.

I wondered why we had not heard any coyotes out here. Had they all been chased off by the tourist? Maybe the park rangers or drunken rednecks used them for target practice.

Why would someone kill these animals I began to wonder? I had talked to several good Christians in the past who had told me coyotes are pest. “They kill deer” I was under the crazy assumption that the coyotes were doing what they were intended to do.  I remember hearing in a church one time the words “though shall not kill” I understand that both humans and animals need to eat. I do not understand the desire to kill for sport. I recall being told that man is the only animal that engages in sport hunting. I cannot verify that it is true but, I have seen dead deer and elk with their antlers removed off the side of the road. I have never seen a coyote dragging antlers home to hang in the den.

 “Were out of beer”  “I still have a couple” I replied as I pulled one out of my cargo pants.
“We need to plan a trip to the Wind Rivers on a full moon” Sam stated.  Great idea, I thought to myself, pristine wilderness, untrammeled by man, except for those damn sheep herders. “I hate mountain maggots” I replied “what” said Sam “Yeah, Wind Rivers sounds great but, let’s go before grazing season”. “done”
We sat for several hours on top of the world watching the star and the moon and planning our next adventure.