The desert is hot

I am a creature of the indoors. I like electricity, running water and fluffy mattresses with 600 thread count sheets. On the list of things I do not like:  sweating, chafing, being eaten alive by sand fleas and long hard hikes up the sides of cliffs. Clearly,  a trip to hike in the desert in Utah in June was an excellent plan for a vacation. There are serious flaws to being married to a man with a butt smaller than mine, not the least of which is that he is a) morally superior when skipping up the side of a steep slope and b) is not sweating or chafing in unfortunate locations while skipping up the side of a steep slope. In the abstract, the desert southwest is a great idea for a vacation. Beautiful, sweeping vistas and stark landscapes that inspire awe. In reality, you may be awed, but you will also be sweaty.

I present Delicate Arch for your consideration. Delicate Arch is the state symbol for Utah. It’s on their license plates and it’s really really famous. It seemed like a good idea to hike up to see it. I mean, it’s only 1.5 miles to it, so how bad can it be?

The answer is really really bad. It was hot. Sweat was running down my body and into dark places that did not need watering. I frankly do not enjoy rivulets of sweat running down my ass crack, but maybe it’s just me. Also, I am a white girl with red hair. Imagine the Pillsbury Dough boy with long red hair and you have the idea. Guess what? SPF 45 sunscreen does not do much to help really white girls avoid sun burn. I roasted, even through my shirt. As I roasted, I complained to anyone who would listen that I was also dying a slow, miserable death. I now know exactly what a lobster feels like as it is being cooked in the shell in boiling water, except the lobster was not marched to its death uphill first. Troy did not look like he had even broken a sweat. I really hate him sometimes. The worst was listening to people seeing you on the way back down saying “You’re almost there and it is sooooo worth it.” It makes you feel like a loser if you decide fuck it, I’m heading back to the car and air conditioning. So you soldier on. And at the end, you turn the corner and you see this amazing arch sitting way up high on the side of a slick rock cliff.

Delicate Arch, Arches National park

So yes, it is amazing and I suppose it’s worth it to have seen this sight. (Side note: the little white speck to the left of the arch is Troy to give you a sense of scale. I can’t believe I didn’t rush over and throw him off the edge when I had the chance).

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Gringoglyphs

The desert Southwest is full of all kinds of archealogical treasures, but I am personally enthralled by petroglyphs. For those who don’t know what they are, petroglyphs are ancient Indian drawings left behind on canyon walls.  Much smarter people than I can talk about their meanings, but the drawings are powerful even to the untrained eye.  Canyonlands and Capitol Reef both have outstanding examples of petroglyphs that are worth the trip just to see them.

Petroglyph at Capitol Reef

Petroglyph panel on Potash Road

However, some people just can’t leave well enough alone. They feel the need to add their mark to the world by adding to the tapestry on the cliffs. I present to you: Gringoglyphs.  Now, for all time, Bill and Judy and their love are memorialized on a petroglyph panel in a side Gringoglyph. They must be so proud.

Gringoglyphs

Negro Bill Canyon

Yesterday I learned there was good news and bad news about the fate of Negro Bill.  The good news: Bill left his canyon under his own power. The bad news: he did it to avoid being run out for selling moonshine to the local Indians. Still, his canyon is beautiful and there are worse things to have than a beautiful canyon named after you. I will note the locals tell me his name was not always Negro Bill. Apparently, the state of Utah decided it was probably not OK to refer to him by the less acceptable form (hint: rhymes with “chigger”) sometime in the 1990s when the trailhead signs went up.  I suppose calling it Mr. Granstaff Canyon was too much to hope for.

Negro Bill Canyon trailhead just outside Moab UT

Dead Horse Point

We went this morning to Dead Horse Point just outside of Canyonlands National Park. I learned it is called Dead Horse Point because cowboys used to round up wild mustangs, corral them on the natural point and then pick the ones they wanted to take, leaving the rest of the horses to die from lack of water.  This caused me some alarm as I pondered the fate of the namesake of Negro Bill Canyon.

Dead Horse Point