Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The wilderness that remains.

The Reverend and I did a little tour not too long ago.  In so doing we got to see, sense, smell a chunk of the desert southwest waking up from winter and stretching her arms toward spring.

There's nothing particularly special about the place we chose.  It is much the same as all the lands around it.  We picked our route not so much for what it has as what it lacks: official protections.  So much of the land within this region is federally protected -- Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Lake Mead National Recreation Area. 

These protected parks are much needed and heavily used by people recreating in RV's, powerboats, jet skis, houseboats, and many, many helicopters.  There are still rules against riding sans road in those parks, and we have to play by those rules.  

Clearly these parks aren't wilderness anymore.  Parts of them are wild for sure, but not wilderness and definitely not Wilderness.  They have become a managed -- almost catered -- experience and you can feel it in many ways.  Perhaps in every way.  When craving a wilderness experience as I have been recently, the parks simply don't scratch the itch.

As yet there aren't many places nearby that have embraced the silence and lack of impact of bicycles.  Not enough money in it is my guess.  

But the raw desert outside of the parks still inspires, and so we found a way to link a derelict double track with washes and a short stretch of ephemeral creek to create a figure 8 of sorts, and thereby to immerse ourselves into the wilderness that remains.

What we saw was earth, sky, stars, rock.  What we felt was engaged, plus a little wind on our cheeks.  What we smelled was mud, silt, dust, dirt, occasional and welcome greenery.  What we are left with is a sense of relief.  And renewal.

In a word, spring.

Thanks for checkin' in.


  1. Great pics. But anybody who says Grand Canyon Parashant or Lake Mead NRA don't have Wilderness, or are almost "cateredc experiences needsnto get off their bike and walk around a bit. These places have wilderness quality lands that see much less use and are more "wild" than most Colorado Wilderness Areas, for example (primarily because of the solitude) .It's funny what you find when you aren't confined to mechanical advantage and two (or four) wheels.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I suspect that our difference of opinion stems from differing definitions of wilderness. I’m not right and you’re not wrong — we just disagree. And that’s ok.

      I encourage differing opinions. But I like to see people put their name next to them. Dialogue can happen that way - between humans - instead of bickering and mudslinging between anonymous pseudo trolls.

      Also, I *have* spent a lot of time wandering that area afoot, canyoneering, and boating. I don’t walk so well and certainly not very far anymore, leaving me “handicapped” in needing the crutch of a bike. C’est la vie.

  2. Epic Journey And Well Photographed


  3. Very cool! I need a getaway soon myself...renewal seems like a distant memory.

  4. Looks like a great trip! Thanks for sharing!

    Are you willing to share in more detail where this was?