I spent a season in the Utah desert, 55 years too late. Edward Abbey spent a season in a little trailer in Arches, near Balanced Rock, when that was considered truly wilderness, the middle-of-nowhere kind. Last season Arches had to turn cars away for the first time in history. Moab is now full of latte drinkers on mountain bikes, and they’ve darn near destroyed the place (just trying to make Abbey proud here). I truly do want everyone to get to experience the wilderness like I do, just not all at the same time.
Taking my old trusty 1992 Nissan pickup truck on the desert backroads (over 380,000 miles at that time) I was able to find plenty of solitude. Maybe because it was summer, and you’d have to be half-mad to be out where I was, I found plenty of it. I was stationed at Bullfrog, on the shores of the ever-shrinking Lake Powell. May she finally die and become a river again. I’d often bivvy on the desert floor, waking to footprints of coyotes that passed over me in the night. I knew then I was truly living.
On days off I’d take forays into the nearby national parks. I’d sit in the shade during the heat of the day like a lizard, and come out at night to shoot the stars. I posted plenty of it a couple of years back, but these are the fragments found on the hard drive as I’m determined to clean it all off by summertime. Nothing but new on my horizon…
So beautiful! I’ve been there and I love, love this barren, rocky, red earth landscape. The photos, but also the way you write about your travels, it takes me back. Thank you.
Thanks for saying so, I’m hoping to share as much of the written word as photographs in the coming months.
Turning away cars? Amazing. I love Arches, I think it is a really cool park. But there is so much in the area if people will spread out. I liked Capitol Reef the best and it was empty.
Yeah, I drove that 50 mile backcountry road in Capital Reef, trip of a lifetime, Temple of the Sun was amazing.
I grew up near here (well, in Wyoming, within driving distance) and some of my best childhood memories are of Dad and Mom taking us camping in these areas in the 90s. Your photos are beautiful. I loved this area so much I took my husband there a few years ago, and he was blown away by the beauty as well. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for recounting your memories, it really is a beautiful place and I’m glad you could share it…
wow I would love to visit this desert you photograph! These images are stunning. I hope there are some benefits to the increase in visit, if not for the land, then the people who lived off it.
The best part about increase is visitation is that more people end up loving the park and wanting to protect it. The wilderness definitely needs its advocates.
yes it does 🙂
I drove through that country last summer while reading “All The Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West” by David Gessner. An excellent book that opens up both Stegner and Abbey, showing how they’r both alike and different, but through it all champions of wilderness.
What a great read in such fine country
Reblogged this on Arkansas Stories by Terry Engel and commented:
This is a nice piece on Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, and the desert. Nomad Russ has a great blog as well.
I liked your piece so much I reblogged it. Hope that’s okay.
Absolutely, I appreciate you passing it along!
Utah is a special place and your images are fabulous, Russ. Terrific post.
Appreciate it Jane, as always
Amazing shots! 🙂
Loved the Milky Way shot. Makes it look like the rising sun was illuminating the stars…smile.
There’s actually a hidden full moon behind that rock spire.
Great shots Russ, and wonderful post.
Your words were poetry…your images art.
Wow, thanks Mrs P!
Gorgeous Russ. I have never been to Moeb but of course have heard about it. Yes crowds can really ruin a place. When I’m in nature I like to have the whole place to myself but it is hard unless you really get off the beaten path. When I went hiking in Bolivia last year it was only me, my dad and our guide to the entire park!
It’s wonderful just to know that there are still places like that left on this earth.
Yes it is Russ. It is great that the world is becomes smaller yet all the same sad to loose its solitude and beauty.
So glad you revisited those days, Russ. Beautiful.
Good to hear from you Laurel, thanks!
Beautiful! The night shots are my faves.